2012-13 Round 16

HO Indy 500 - South Shore Superspeedway

Round 16 of 16

April 13, 2013

HO Indy 500 2013

Weather: 40 - Light snow

Fitzlaff Dominates For First 500 Win, Five In A Row For Champion Walczak

St. Francis, WI – Ignoring a string of disappointments and heartache, Mike Fitzlaff dominated the HO Indy 500 and, in his eighth attempt, finally got to taste the milk in victory lane. The finale to the 20th season of the IndySlotCar Series also determined the champion and Mark Walczak walked away with his fifth championship in a row.

Fitzlaff started his IndySlotCar Series career in 2005 and has been a contender in the HO Indy 500 in every year but one. In seven previous HO Indy 500's Fitzlaff has qualified on the pole, second twice and third twice. Many times a front-runner in the prestigious race, something has befallen the speedster who has had a string of five DNFs coming into this year's HO Indy 500 race including a floor shot in the 2011 event on the opening lap and being dealt the "death card" in last year race with a 30 lap lead heading into the second half of the race. This year would prove to be a different and much more satisfying story for the KVHO driver.

When qualifying had finished, Mike Lack was on the pole, traveling the four laps around the speedway in 10.818 seconds. Lack was followed by his KVHO teammates Fitzlaff and John Wiedemann on the grid. Championship contender Walczak lined up fourth.

Championship drama ratcheted up a notch in the opening heat race when Walczak crashed out of the race in turn four and relegating himself to a seventh place finish. The result gave Wiedemann, who entered the event 18 points behind point leader Walczak, a shot to take the championship if he could win the HO Indy 500. Back to the heat race, Fitzlaff pulled away from racers Matt Hayek and Dan Margetta to take the win. Hayek finished second to gain a spot in the final.

The second heat race was a tight one with Lack leading and then giving way to Wiedemann at the halfway point. Then, after lurking right behind the leaders, RJ Foyt's driver Mike Kristof made his move and took over the lead from Wiedemann. With time running out, Kristof spun in turn four, allowing Wiedemann to close in. Choosing not to settle for second Wiedemann went for the lead and battled side by side with Kristof in the closing laps. Wiedemann grabbed the win with Kristof finishing second, and both drivers moved on to the final, Kristof's first ever '500' final in 12 tries.

The championship drama faded early when Wiedemann, who needed to win the race, spun backwards on the front straight, recovered and then crashed out of the race in turn two after completing only four laps. Wiedemann finished in fourth and the championship belonged to Walczak. The incident left the soon to be former RJ Foyt drivers, two time HO Indy 500 champion Hayek and first time contender Kristof, to chase down Fitzlaff who led from the drop of the green. Fitzlaff used the inside lane to his advantage and sped away from the field and held a twenty lap advantage prior to the first round of pitstops. All three drivers pitted cleanly and the action continued with Fitzlaff leading followed by Kristof and Hayek. Just a few laps after the opening pit sequence, tragedy again would befall a driver when Kristof crashed out of the race while maintaining second. The battle was on now between a two time winner and a driver who had experienced tragedy in five previous 500's. Dominating the race over his competitors and his past, Fitzlaff continued to place laps between himself and Hayek until a mistake ended the race. This time it was Hayek who had misfortune when he crashed out. Pushing the car to the edge to keep up with the leader, Hayek lost control in the turn and found the floor. Fitzlaff crossed the finish line on lap 552 with the win after leading every lap of the race successfully crushing the competition and his HO Indy 500 demons.

The 20th season of the HO IndySlotCar Series ended with a new HO Indy 500 Champion a five time Series Champion and great competition with seven drivers finding victory lane. Mark Walczak retained the championship by eleven points over Wiedemann and also captured the Road Course Championship. With his HO Indy 500 win, Mike Fitzlaff started out the season and closed the season in circle track victory lanes, winning the Oval Championship along the way.

Season 21 begins on September 5th, 2013 when the IndySlotCar Series returns to racing at the Mini Milwaukee Mile for the Troken Cup 500.

THE HO INDY 500 HISTORY (19 events, 1994 - Present)

Year Race Winner

1994 Phil Cianciola

1995 John Shea

1996 Dave Austin

1997 Ev Kamikawa

1998 Jim Kaehny

1999 Phil Marich

2000 Phil Cianciola (2nd)

2001 Jim Kaehny (2nd)

2002 Ev Kamikawa (2nd)

2003 Larry Rotter

2004 Chris Spehert

2005 Dan Margetta

2006 Ev Kamikawa (3rd)

2007 Jim Iverson

2008 Mark Walczak

2009 Chris Spehert (2nd)

2010 Matt Hayek

2011 Matt Hayek (2nd)

2012 Ev Kamikawa (4th)