1998-99 Round 7

Rapids Grand Prix - Rapids Raceway, Milwaukee, WI


Round 7 of 16


December 3, 1998

1998 Rapids Grand Prix


-First win in over three years-

Milwaukee, WI (Dec. 3rd, 1998) - While everyone at the Rapids Raceway street course here Thursday night was watching another epic battle in the closing stages between Jim Kaehny and Ev Kamikawa, they may have missed the guy in third place, Dan Margetta. Not to worry, because Margetta was about to get their attention big-time. The pilot of the Miller Lite car pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the series by working from third to first in the final few laps of the Rapids Grand Prix-Presented by Goodyear, gathering his second career win and the first since March of 1995 when he won the then "March Madness" race at H.O. Road America.

After qualifying second-fast on the night, Margetta worked his way into the Final Four, where his Reynard/Ford developed understeer in the first part of the race. But a mid-race pit stop seemed to help the problem and Margetta was able to close the gap, then save his tires for a brilliant push at the end of the race. Leader Kaehny developed a blistered tire, as did Kamikawa, and both began to slip and slide as they jockeyed for the win in the final six laps. While those two fought each other, Margetta was able to use his saved equipment and slip past on the final lap for about a 20-car-length victory.

Afterward he said, "They say winners never quit, quitters never win, and those that'don't win and aren't smart enough to quit are idiots. I was almost an idiot out there tonight. It's been way too long. l was just trying to do some clean laps and then Jim and Ev started racing each other and all of the sudden there I was. Trust me, l '11 win again before 2001...it's not going to be another three years."                                                                                  

That battle between Kaehny, who won his third pole position of the season at the race, and Kamikawa went to Kaehny in second place, passed on the final lap, falling short by just about 20 car lengths. Kaehny was surprised as anyone. "I don't know where Dan came from. My tires were blistering and there was nothing I could do to hold him off," he explained. Still, the second place finish stretched Kaehny's points lead to seven over Kamikawa, who finished third on his home course. Said Kamikawa, "I had a few problems in the corkscrew and Dan came from out of nowhere. He drove a brilliant race there at the end."

John Baas finished 19 laps off the pace in fourth, after advancing in a heat race that saw the top three finishers all on the same lap. Baas took the transfer position by only about 10 car lengths over Phil Cianciola who finished fifth, the first Final Four missed this season by the defending series champion. Margetta took the win in that heat race, his first heat victory of the year as well.

Phil Marich qualified fifth and fell to sixth in the race, followed by rookie Larry Rotter in seventh. Rotter scored enough points to push him into the lead for rookie of the year honors, one point better than Mike Prelozni who failed to grid but picked up a couple of points for ninth and another point for winning the Consi race.

Tom Spehert rounded out the field in eighth, having boost problems with the Harley-Davidson Reynard-Ford. Neither Tony Perkins nor Chad Sorce were able to make the field at the long street course. Perkins finished 10th and Sorce 11th.

Margetta's victory pushed him into sixth in the PPPG Cup standings. The Final Four appearance by Kamikawa was his sixth in a row this season. The single-season record is nine straight, held by Dave Austin, whose MCI team did not enter the Rapids Grand Prix amid rumors the team may actually lose its sponsorship and disband.

The series visits Sanibel Island next, when the Christmas Classic race is held at Sanibel Speedway on December 17th. It's a race Kaehny has won for the past two years in a row. No driver in the series has ever been able to win the same race three years in a row.


Presented by Goodyear

0    WHAT: The 2nd annual Rapids Grand Prix

0    WHERE: Rapids Raceway   Milwaukee, WI

0    WHEN: Thursday, Dec. 3rd 6:30 p.m.



0    TRACK LAYOUT: Temporary street course

RACE LENGTH: 20-min. Final Four

0    RACE RECORDS: Qualifying- 121 laps  Ev Kamikawa 1996

Race-       295 laps  Dave Austin     1996

RACE #: 7 of 16

0    NEXT EVENT: The PARMA Christmas Classic

Thursday, Dec. 17th

Sanibel Speedway  Wauwatosa, WI


The last time this race was held it was back in the spring of 1996, and it was quite a race for Dave Austin, who won everything except the pole position. Included in Austin's take was his first PPPG Cup, clinched here with a victory in the race. The race itself was plagued with crashes, as only three drivers were able to finish.




Year  Race Winner


Pole Winner





Things to watch for this year...

The "Rapids" track has been redone since the drivers of the series last visited here in 1996. The straights are longer, the turns more sweeping and the elevation changes are greater as well. Speed becomes more important, as does track knowledge since this is all new, except for owner Kamikawa who could have an edge there. Watch the cars from the Frugal Homebrewer team as well. They're quick, and at a place where that's an advantage.




SlotCART Racing Series

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