2008-09 Round 12
OutPost Natural Foods Grand Prix - Runaway Bay Raceway
Round 12 of 16
February 24, 2009
The Outpost Natural Foods Grand Prix
WHAT: The Outpost Natural Foods Grand Prix
WHERE: Waukesha, Wisconsin, Raceway at Runaway Bay
WHEN: Thursday, February 19, 2009, 7pm
U.S. TELEVISION SCHEDULE: YouTube
2008 CHAMPION: John Shea
2008 POLESITTER: Dan Margetta
TRACK LAYOUT: Road course
RACE LENGTH: 20 Minutes
TRACK RECORDS: Qualifying 2006, Ev Kamikawa, 64.320
Race 2006, John Shea, 208 Laps
Fast Lap 2006, Mike Fitzlaff, 5.000
RACE ROUND: 12 of 16 in the 2008-2009 HO Champ Car World Series
When you skip your Anniversary to run a race, you sure better win it...and John Shea did just that, mastering a difficult outside lane to win the Outpost Natural Foods Grand Prix at the Raceway at Runaway Bay. With the victory, Shea becomes the fourth different winner in as many races in the current HO Champ Car World Series.
Shea built up a lead early on and then held steady in the upper groove to best hometown favorite Mike Fitzlaff by seven laps at the checkered flag, wheeling his unsponsored, no-name team, banana yellow machine into victory lane for the first time this season. RJ Foyt Racing's Fitzlaff turned in his best effort of the season on the home turf, besting PKVHO's Jim Iverson and Hindsight's Dan Margetta in his heat race before racing to a solid second place finish. Point leader, Mark Walczak was once again ultra-fast as he stormed to a heat race win, but handling issues late in the race left him with a third place result.
Larry Rotter's winless streak continued as the best "El Gato" could muster up was a fourth place finish after making the final via the heat race transfer spot. While the official count is set at 26 races, a wild rumor ran rampant throughout the paddock area that Rotter's last win came 25 years ago instead of 25 races and much reminiscing from 1982 dominated the evening: such historic events as the Milwaukee Brewers in the World Series, Lynn Dickey quarterbacking the Green Bay Packers, Rick Mears winning the Champ Car World Series championship, Gordon Johncock winning the Indianapolis 500 and "99 Luft Balloons" dominating the music charts. It was also realized that HO Champ Car only began 15 years ago.
Dean Strom just missed continuing his streak of final four appearances as he fell just a lap short of the transfer spot and had to settle with a fifth place finish. Dan Margetta won the pole position but struggled in the outer groove in the heat race en route to a disappointing sixth place finish. Following along with the disappointment theme, Jim Iverson drove the outside lane like he imbibed too much in the Jamaican rum as he struggled to a seventh place finish. Amy Butler made a popular return to the circuit and finished eighth after qualifying one-handed while enjoying the Jamaican beverages with her feet hanging out of the car. Andy Spehert got caught in the four-car heat and the numerous stoppages left him with a ninth place finish, just ahead of Mike Kristof, who finished last for the third time in the last four races. Kristof's performance brought up the retirement talk again although the fiery racer was heard loudly complaining to team owner Jerry Hindsight that he was continuously receiving second hand equipment.
The Outpost Natural Foods Grand Prix History
Year Race Winner
2007 John Shea
2008 John Shea
2009 Mike Lack
The race this year has been moved from its usual early season date. Mark Walczak collected his sixth win of the year at Rapids International, and extended his lead over Larry Rotter to 111 points. The earliest Walczak could clinch the title, if Rotter were to have issues, would be the next race at the Deckertring. Walczak would need to leave with a lead of 179 points. The battle for 3rd place is a three person battle between Mike Fitzlaff, Dan Margetta, and Ev Kamikawa. The three are separated by 30 points.
The win by Walczak was the 15th of his career, good for a tie with John Shea for 8th all time
Rookie Mike Lack moved into 20th all time, with his 3rd career heat win
Mark Walczak moved into 9th all time with his 38th career finals appearance
-Mike Lack moved into a tie for 22nd with his 4th career finals appearance
Mike Lack has now moved into 26th all time on the laps completed list
John Shea moved into 13th all time on the career starts list with 87 starts
John Shea has won the only two events held at Runaway Bay
Dan Margetta has made the finals of the last 6 events
Ev Kamikawa has made the finals in the last 4 events he entered
Mark Walczak has made the finals in 9 of the 11 events this year, collecting 6 wins