2013-14 Round 7
Duane Sweeney Memorial Grand Prix - Road Course at Badger Raceway, Muskego, WI
December 5, 2013
Round 7 of 16
Strom Wins One For Sweeney
Dean Strom had the hometown fans dancing in the streets and stretching the 5th quarter celebration into the wee hours Thursday night at Badger Raceway, laying claim to the annual IndySlotCar Series Duane Sweeney Memorial Grand Prix. The win came in dominating fashion as Strom opened up a 53 lap advantage shortly after the mid-way pit stops, allowing him to coast to the checkers. At the stripe, the advantage was an event record 38 lap margin of victory. “I’ve been wanting to win at our team’s home track for years,” stated the joyous victor. “Every time we come here we have a really good car, but the driver usually screws something up.” Strom led for much of the opening circuits of the 20 minute final.
The contest quickly turned into a two horse race as Dan Margetta, still in search of his first series championship, threw his potent ride off course just 91 circuits into the event, ending his night. The Midas sponsored JMM Racing ride of championship point leader Mike Lack developed a suspension problems earlier on. The Badger Raceway winner earlier in the 2013-14 IndySlotCar season took his car behind the wall for an extended stay. The crew repaired the faulty pick up shoe spring and returned their driver to the chase, but not before he was over 50 laps to the rear. Last week’s winner, Mike Fitzlaff charged past Strom prior to the mid-race break, and switch to the potent blue lane. All systems were go for Fitzlaff as he prepared to make it two wins in a row and turn his nightmarish season around. It was not to be however, as Fitzlaff drew the dreaded “Death Card” during his pit stop, ending his night with the disappointment that has become all too familiar for the veteran racer. Ironically, it was Fitzlaff who cut the cards and placed the “Death Card” at the top of the deck. That sent Strom to the lead with Lack the only other driver left on the track. But after his extended stay in the pits, Lack was 53 laps behind the hometown hero. The celebrating began early as Strom poked around the circuit, patiently waiting for the clock to strike zero and the checkered flag to wave.
“I had the privilege to know Duane Sweeney,” said Strom. “He was a good starter and an even better man. To win this race held in his honor is a thrill for me.” Lack limped his ride to second with his teammate Fitzlaff completing the final rung on the podium. Dan Margetta, the series all-time laps leader, was fourth.
While Strom’s victory margin was impressive, his transfer spot to the main event was shrouded in controversy. The second of three heats featured Strom and former series champion Ev Kamikawa. The pair were in a dogged battle for much of the distance. Scoring led Kamikawa to believe that he had a lap lead in the closing stages, so he slowed and went into cruise mode. Strom charged by and was declared the leader. Kamikawa turned up the wick and the duo went wheel-to-wheel over the final seconds in a hard fought battle. They got to the end of the long back straight when scoring called time. After video replay, Strom was declared to be in the lead when time expired, although Kamikawa strongly disagreed. Kamikawa’s argument of camera angles and turn diameters and ‘does the race stop on the s of stop or the p of stop’ fell on deaf ears as Strom was declared the winner and advanced to the final. Kamikawa finished fifth on the night, Matt Hayek ran to sixth, IndySlotCar Hall of Famer Larry Rotter quietly returned for a seventh place finish, following up his win at the end of last season at Turtle Creek. John Wiedemann and Mike Kristof crashed out early to finish eighth and ninth respectively.
Lack's second place increased his point advantage over his JMM Racing teammate John Wiedemann to 46 points as the IndySlotCar heads to the midpoint of the 2013-14 season and the Christmas Classic at The Shrine Desert Road Course.
WHAT: Duane Sweeney Memorial Grand Prix
WHERE: Road Course at Badger Raceway, Muskego, WI
WHEN: Thursday, December 5, 2013 7pm
TELEVISION SCHEDULE: MBC Slotcar Network, YouTube
2012 CHAMPION: Mark Walczak
2012 POLESITTER: Dean Strom
TRACK LAYOUT: Natural Terrain Road Course
RACE LENGTH: 20 minutes
TRACK RECORDS: Qualifying – 2010 – Mark Walczak – 3.977 (open class)
Race – 2009 – Mark Walczak – 248 laps (open class)
Fast Lap – 2006 – Mark Walczak – 3.961 (open class)
Margin of Victory – Smallest: 2009 – Mark Walczak – 1 lap; Largest: 2010 – Mark Walczak - 12 laps
RACE ROUND: 7 of 16 in the 2013-2014 IndySlotCar Series
Muskego, WI – Mark Walczak captured his third win of the 2012 IndySlotCar season as he coasted to victory in the Rupena's Fine Food presents the Duane Sweeney Memorial Grand PRix. Track owner and hometown favorite Dean Strom sped to the pole in qualifying in the "Open Class" event where the series participants field their own chassis, allowed to be modified by gearing and tire selection.
The opening heat race featured the series’ first European participant, Johannes Schucht from Germany. Schucht's rookie run in the series couldn't have come on a faster, more challenging track. The high-speed chicanes and tricky turns challenged the German driver as he raced against championship contenders Ev Kamikawa and John Wiedemann. The track took its toll on the rookie as he crashed out on his 16th lap, a finish that bettered many other first time participants in the IndySlotCar Series. Kamikawa pulled away to the win in the first heat race. Pole sitter Strom held off Matt Hayek to take the victory in the second heat race, and Walczak outraced Mike Kristof to the checkers in the third heat. Mike Fitzlaff continued to struggle, crashing out of his heat race and finishing ninth in the event. Riding a two race winning streak, Dan Margetta was plagued by equipment failure throughout the event and finished seventh overall. Wiedemann captured the transfer to race in the feature.
Walczak took the early lead in the feature race and paced the first half of the race. With Strom and Wiedemann racing side by side for second place and Kamikawa struggling with handling issues, Walczak led at the break by six laps over Strom and seven over Wiedemann. A long pitstop at the beginning of the second half of the feature race by Walczak allowed the field to close in on the leader. While Strom and Wiedemann continued to fight each other for the second spot, they made up laps on Walczak. But battling hard for position also took its toll on the drivers as each had off track excursions that erased gains made. At the end of the race, Walczak cruised to the checkers with a three lap advantage over teammate Strom and Wiedemann finished another two laps back in third.
With the victory, Walczak extended his lead in the Husarsbilt Cup championship standings to 31 points over Wiedemann. Fitzlaff remains third in the points, 51 behind leader Walczak, and Kamikawa continues to climb the standings only four points behind Fitzlaff.
ROAD COURSE AT BADGER RACEWAY/BAYSIDE INTERNATIONAL HISTORY (10 events, 2004 - Present)
Date Winner Event Name Track
1/22/2004 Larry Rotter Duane Sweeney Memorial 500 Edgewood Superspeedway
12/2/2004 Jim Iverson Duane Sweeney Memorial 500 Bayside International
12/1/2005 Jim Iverson Duane Sweeney Memorial Grand Prix Bayside International
11/30/2006 Jim Iverson Duane Sweeney Memorial Grand Prix Bayside International
11/29/2007 Mark Walczak Duane Sweeney Memorial Grand Prix Bayside International
12/4/2008 Ev Kamikawa Sweeney Stomp Road Course at Badger Raceway*
12/3/2009 Mark Walczak Duane Sweeney Memorial Grand Prix Badger Raceway
12/2/2010 Mark Walczak Duane Sweeney Memorial Grand Prix Badger Raceway
12/1/2011 Mike Lack Duane Sweeney Memorial Grand Prix Badger Raceway
11/29/2012 Mark Walczak Duane Sweeney Memorial Grand Prix Badger Raceway
* - Track was built as Bayside International and moved to become The Road Course at Badger Raceway before December 2008.
Most Wins – Mark Walczak-4; Jim Iverson-3; Larry Rotter, Ev Kamikawa, Mike Lack -1
--It was just a week before the January 2004 race at Edgewood Superspeedway that the sport lost a true gentleman and local racing icon, Duane Sweeney died at his home in New Berlin on Jan. 15, having once flagged a series race it only seemed appropriate to dedicate a race in his honor and so it has been for almost 10 years.
--Mike Fitzlaff wins the Turkey Trot, hoping to turn around what has been a disappointing season up to Round 6
--After missing round 3, Dan Margetta has made the final in each of the past 3 races
--John Wiedemann has eaten into Mike Lack’s seemingly insurmountable lead each of the past two races
--Mike Fitzlaff’s win at the Turkey Trot moved him into 11th on the all-time win list with 10
--Mike Lack tied John Wiedemann for 11th in time in poles, with 8
--John Wiedemann moved ahead of Tom Spehert for 12th in all-time heat wins with 26
--Mike Lack moved into the top 10 in Final appearances, tying John Shea with 47
Read more about Duane Sweeney here: http://www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com/images/news/show/36252-former-indianapolis-500-ch../