2013-14 Round 16
HO Indy 500 - South Shore Superspeedway, St. Francis, WI
April 5, 2014
Round 16 of 16
Weather: 49 - Partly cloudy
Wiedemann Wins! Lack Locks Oval Title; Fitzlaff Finishes Out Of the Money
St. Francis, WI -- John Wiedemann drove to his first HO Indy 500 win Saturday afternoon at South Shore Super Speedway, in the 2013-14 Indy Slot Car Series finale.
“Aside from the championship, this is why we do this,” said Weidemann upon drinking the traditional winner’s milk. Wiedeman bested his JMM Racing teammate, and new series champion, Mike Lack. Lack made a furious charge in the closing laps to take second away from series rookie of the year, Cory Galbraith. Dean Strom, also making his first Indy 500, finished fourth, 36 laps off the lead pace.
Safey improvements at the venerable speed plant helped the race be contested at full distance for the first time since 2010. And it marked the first time that all the starters completed the event since 2006.
The afternoon got off to an auspicious start as timing and scoring bugaboos kept drivers guessing throughout the qualifying session. Mike Lack captured the pole with a four-lap time of 9.244 seconds. But the focus quickly turned to the race for the eighth and final qualifying position. Defending HO Indy 500 winner Mike Fitzlaff, coming off of foot surgery just weeks ago; one of the hottest drivers on the circuit, Dungeons & Dragon Racing's Mike Kristof and four-time HO Indy 500 champion Ev Kamikawa all took turns on the bubble. And after timing and scoring reviewed tapes, and Kristof was ordered to re-qualify his backup car, both he and Kamikawa were ruled to be in the field, leaving Fitzlaff out.
Cory Galbraith and Wiedemann captured heat wins with Lack and Strom each running second in their respective prelims, setting the grid for the iconic event.
After the green flag dropped Galbraith set the pace, leaving many pit side observers in awe as the rookie made things look easy. By the first pit stop, however, Wiedemann took over the top spot and relegated the first-year racer to the runner-up position. Meanwhile Lack and Strom raced each other wheel-to-wheel in the upper lanes, clocking identical times lap after lap. John Wiedemann and Galbraith used the bottom lanes to their fullest advantage, opening a sizeable advantage at the mid-race break. Just past the half-way point, Wiedemann’s JMM racing crew performed a flawless pit stop, giving the veteran campaigner the margin he would need to cruise to the historic win.
“This race can often times be lost on pit road,” said Wiedemann. “But my guys not only didn’t lose the race, they helped me win it with every flawless stop.” The perfect pit stops continued for JMM Racing on Lack’s end of pit road as he too took advantage of quick work by his team to reel in Galbraith for the runner-up spot. With twenty laps to go the champ roared past the rookie, but it was too late to mount any challenge for Wiedemann.
With his runner-up finish, Lack captured the oval portion of the championship chase, to go along with his road course and overall crowns.
Penske HO driver Kamikawa was awarded fifth in the final run down which was a tough pill for the four-time HO Indy 500 winner to swallow. Two-time HO Indy 500 champion Matt Hayek placed sixth in the final run down. His teammate, Kristof, finished seventh with Cha-Ching Motorsports driver Dan Margetta coming up broke in eighth. Fitzlaff was credited with ninth.
The series heads next the champion’s banquet, where for the first time in six years, a driver other than Mark Walczak will leave with the Husarsbilt Cup. The gala evening at the Paragon Ballroom will feature cocktails; dinner; awards; and the champion’s video. In addition, another worthy driver will be inducted into the IndySlotCar Series Hall of Fame. A limited number of fan tickets have been set aside and can be ordered through the league website, beginning at 9:00 (CT), Monday, April 14.
That magician of the asphalt and bar top, Dean Strom leads the way at Carburetion Night for the 2014 HO Indy 500 Thursday with a fast practice qualifying time of 10.231, followed by John Wiedemann's 10.338, Matt Hayek at 10; 4-time HO Indy 500 winner, Ev Kamikawa-10.601 and hometown favorite Dan Margetta comes in at 10.888. Strom sets fast lap with a 2.169. All but Margetta's time are below last year's pole winning time set by Mike Lack.
WHAT: HO Indy 500
WHERE: St. Francis, WI
WHEN: Saturday, April 5, 2014 11am
U.S. TELEVISION SCHEDULE: MBC Slotcar Network, YouTube
2013 CHAMPION: Mike Fitzlaff
2013 POLESITTER: Mike Lack
TRACK LAYOUT: Superspeedway
RACE LENGTH: 1000 laps
TRACK RECORDS: Qualifying – 2013 (all club car era) – Mike Lack – 10.810
Lap – 2013 (all club car era) – Dan Margetta – 2.183
Race – 2008 – Mark Walczak – 40:51.711
Margin of Victory – Closest – 2007 – Jim Iverson – 2 laps;
Largest – 2008 – Mark Walczak – 53 laps
RACE ROUND: 16 of 16 in the 2013-2014 IndySlotCar Series
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.
DECKERTRING HISTORY (20 events, 1994 - Present)
Date Race Winner Track
5/19/1994 Phil Cianciola Edgewood “The Edge” Superspeedway
5/18/1995 John Shea
5/18/1996 Dave Austin
4/26/1997 Ev Kamikawa
4/18/1998 Jim Kaehny
4/17/1999 Phil Marich
4/15/2000 Phil Cianciola
4/21/2001 Jim Kaehny
4/12/2002 Ev Kamikawa
4/13/2003 Larry Rotter
4/17/2004 Chris Spehert
4/9/2005 Dan Margetta
4/18/2006 Ev Kamikawa South Shore Superspeedway
4/14/2007 Jim Iverson
4/12/2008 Mark Walczak
4/18/2009 Chris Spehert
4/10/2010 Matt Hayek
4/9/2011 Matt Hayek
4/14/2012 Ev Kamikawa
4/13/2013 Mike Fitzlaff
Most Wins – 4-Ev Kamikawa; 2-Matt Hayek, Chris Spehert, Jim Kaehny, Phil Cianciola
With the Husarsbilt Cup championship already in his pocket, can Mike Lack cap it off with his first win at the most prestigious race on the circuit? Every champion has won the 500 at least once.
--Ev Kamikawa has won two of the last three races.
--Dungeons & Dragon Racing has had at least one driver in each of the last four races.
--John Wiedemann holds off Dan Margetta by 21 points in the championship chase.
--Matt Hayek now only trails Dan Margetta by two points for third.
--While Ev Kamikawa is now just 10 points behind Hayek.
--Kamikawa trails Lack by just 10 points in the Oval Course points race.
--Kamikawa’s win at March Madness moves him into a three way tie for second in all-time victories with 36, evening Dan Margetta and series founder Phil Cianciola.
--Mike Lack moves into 9th in all-time Finals appearances with 55 pulling ahead of Dave Austin.
--If Dean Strom starts at the HO Indy 500 it will mark his 100th race.