2013-14 Round 8
Shrine Christmas Classic - Shrine Desert Road Course, Wauwatosa, WI
December 19, 2013
Round 8 of 16
Lack's On The Nice List
Wauwatosa, WI -- Mike Lack must be on the "nice" list because he got just what he asked for for the Christmas Classic this year, the winner's trophy. Lack took home his fourth win extending his Husarsbilt Cup championship lead to 66 points at the halfway point of the 2013-14 season. Dan Margetta ran to second place, in his fifth final of the season holding off another streaking driver, Mike Fitzlaff, who, after missing the first 5 finals of the year has now made three in a row.
The night started with some short nights for Ev Kamikawa who continues his streak of bad luck at the Shrine Desert Road Course, crashing out for the third straight time at the track finishing eighth, Dean Strom wasn't able to follow up his win at Badger Raceway, also crashing out early for a seventh place finish. The opening heat race saw JMM Racing teammates Mike Fitzlaff and Mike Lack see saw back and forth eventually getting clear of the third Mike in the heat, Kristof, the hometown favorite struggled in the blue lane, an embarrassing prospect for a home track driver, he would go on to an average sixth place finish and Fitzlaff held off Lack for the heat win and both drivers advanced to the final. The second heat showed the continuing resurgence of Cha-Ching Motorsport's Dan Margetta as he easily outdistanced Dungeons & Dragon Racing's Matt Hayek who stayed ahead of JMM's John Wiedemann to advance to the final. Wiedemann finishing fifth and losing ground in the championship to his teammate Lack.
The final started out fast with Fitzlaff, Margetta and Lack dueling for the lead, eventually Lack seemed to take control grabbing a couple lap lead approaching half way but the JMM Racing team stumbled in the pits costing Lack 30 seconds on the midpoint stop, while Margetta got out in 20 to take a two lap lead which he maintained until about three-quarters of the distance when the handling seemed to go away on the return of the "Christmas car" a car last run some 18 years ago at the original Shrine track, but like that run, this seasonal sled would also finish second. Meanwhile Mike Fitzlaff was plagued with power problems in the blue lane, but a major charge toward the end of the race almost allowed him to overtake Margetta for second. Matt Hayek mostly stayed out of trouble finishing fourth.
The season now gets into the meat of the schedule, returning to action in two weeks, January 2nd at Raven Raceway to open the second half of the season at the technical track in Brookfield.
WHAT: Shrine Christmas Classic
WHERE: Wauwatosa, WI
WHEN: Thursday, December 19, 2013 7pm
U.S. TELEVISION SCHEDULE: MBC Slotcar Network, YouTube
2012 CHAMPION: John Wiedemann
2012 POLESITTER: Mark Walczak
TRACK LAYOUT: Natural Terrain Road Course
RACE LENGTH: 20 minutes
TRACK RECORDS: Qualifying – Feb 2013 – Mark Walczak – 4.421
Race – 2013 – Mark Walczak – 230 laps
Margin of Victory – Closest – 2010 – Walczak – inches; Largest – 2011 – Walczak – 16 laps
RACE ROUND: 8 of 16 in the 2013-2014 IndySlotCar Series
Wauwatosa, WI - John Wiedemann took his first win of the 2012-13 season winning the Shorewest Christmas Classic over his KVHO teammate Mike Fitzlaff, RJ Foyt's Matt Hayek third and Dean Strom fourth. Points leader Mark Walczak finished fifth losing 19 points of his 31 point lead on the championship. The IndySlotCar Series reached the midway point with the running of the Shorewest Christmas Classic at the track returning to its historic name, The Shrine Desert Road Course, formerly known as Vista Rio Rancho Raceway.
Defending champion of the race, Walczak set the pace in qualifying and captured the pole over Wiedemann and Fitzlaff. In heat race action Fitzlaff won heat one over Dan Margetta, who struggled early with handling issues. German driver Johannes Schlict finished third in only his second career race and Mike Kristof crashed out ending an event top five finishing streak. Wiedemann took the win in the second heat after a tight battle with Hayek. Drama continued in the third heat with Chris Spehert leading early and Ev Kamikawa crashing out after 46 laps. Strom grabbed the lead away from Spehert and held off a hard charging Walczak for the win. Walczak struggled in the first half of the heat race and dug too deep of a hole to climb out of in the second half and ended up five laps short of the "transfer to the feature" spot which was secured by Hayek.
The first half of the feature race was one of the tightest in terms of competition that has been seen throughout this season. Each driver took a turn at the front with Hayek and Wiedemann battling for the lead late in the opening half only to be passed by Fitzlaff as the halfway break was reached. Starting the second half, Fitzlaff lead the field followed by Wiedemann, and then Hayek and Strom barely a lap behind. After mandatory pitstops for all drivers, Wiedemann went to the front and was able to put a couple of laps distance between himself and second place Fitzlaff. As time ran out, the battle heated up and pressure on the leaders intensified. Wiedemann got caught up in a couple of incidents and the faster car driven by Fitzlaff raced back to the lead. Over the final few laps the lead was exchanged numerous times and a final spin by Fitzlaff gave Wiedemann the cushion needed to cruise to the win. Hayek finished third and Strom rounded out the field only eight laps back in the tightest finish of the season.
The victory was the first for Wiedemann this season and cracked a twenty-seven race winless streak dating back two seasons ago when he won at Franklinland in 2011. Walczak continues to lead in the Husarsbilt Cup championship standings, but Wiedemann's win cut the lead to twelve points with half the season to go. Fitzlaff strengthened his hold on third place while Kamikawa maintains fourth but is now facing a challenge by Strom who is only five points behind in fifth.
SHRINE CHRISTMAS CLASSIC HISTORY (18 events, 1993 - Present)
Date Race Winner Event Name Track
12/16/1993 Phil Cianciola Shrine Christmas Classic Shrine Desert Road Course
12/15/1994 Dave Austin Tomy Christmas Classic Shrine Desert Road Course
12/14/1995 Phil Cianciola Tomy Christmas Classic Shrine Desert Road Course
12/12/1996 Jim Kaehny Tomy Christmas Classic Sanibel Speedway
12/18/1997 Jim Kaehny Tomy Christmas Classic Sanibel Speedway
12/17/1998 Dan Margetta Parma Christmas Classic Sanibel Speedway
12/16/1999 Phil Marich Championship Racing Magazine 400 Sanibel Speedway
12/13/2001 Chad Sorce Christmas Classic Sanibel Speedway
12/12/2002 Phil Cianciola Piggly Wiggly 400 Sanibel Speedway
12/19/2003 Dan Margetta Piggly Wiggly 400 Sanibel Speedway
12/16/2004 Phil Cianciola Piggly Wiggly 400 Sanibel Speedway
12/15/2005 Jim Iverson Chipotle Christmas Classic Vista Rio Rancho Raceway
12/14/2006 John Shea Christmas Classic Vista Rio Rancho Raceway
12/13/2007 Ev Kamikawa Christmas Classic Vista Rio Rancho Raceway
12/18/2008 Larry Rotter Christmas Classic Vista Rio Rancho Raceway
12/16/2010 Mark Walczak Christmas Classic Vista Rio Rancho Raceway
12/15/2011 Mark Walczak Christmas Classic Vista Rio Rancho Raceway
12/6/2012 John Wiedemann Christmas Classic Shrine Desert Road Course
Most Wins – 4-Phil Cianciola; 2-Jim Kaehny, Dan Margetta, Mark Walczak
Dean Strom won at his home track at Badger Raceway edging out Husarsbilt Cup points leader Mike Lack, who extended his championship lead when John Wiedemann crashed out early.
--Dan Margetta has made the final in the last 4 races and 5 of the first 7 races.
--Mike Fitzlaff has made the finals in the last 2 races after missing the first 5.
--Dean Strom’s win at Badger was the 5th of his career placing him 14th on the win list.
--Mike Lack’s pole position was his 9th and moves him to 11th all time.
--Dan Margetta’s appearance in the DSM GP was his 150th and the race also put him over 60,000 career laps, both extending his all-time series lead.
--Mike Fitzlaff moved into the top 10 ahead of Dave Austin in laps all-time after the DSM GP, now with 25,818