2014-15 Round 4
Duane Sweeney Memorial Grand Prix - Road Course at Badger Raceway - Muskego, WI
Round 4 of 15
October 30, 2014
Kamikawa Scores First Win of Season
(Muskego, WI) -- Indy Slot Car rolled into Badger Raceway, Thursday night, for the annual running of the Duane Sweeney Memorial Grand Prix and Ev Kamikawa strolled out with his first win of the 2014-15 campaign. Penske HO’s Kamikawa qualified second, but pushed ahead late in the 20-minute final before seeing the checkered flag ahead of Dan Margetta, John Wiedemann and Dean Strom. The event was run under open-class rules—meaning teams prepare their own cars to take on the ultra-fast Badger road course. “The last couple of years haven’t been kind to me here at Badger,” said Kamikawa. “It was good to put those poor runs behind our team and show what we’re capable of in these open class races.” Local favorite, and defending race winner, Strom led the early going before the handling went away on his Out of the Box Racing Dallara-Honda. Strom gave way to Kamikawa and later to Margetta, who was making just his second start of the season and first final. After switching lanes for the second half, Kamikawa inched ahead and pulled Margetta with him. Meanwhile Lack-Wiedemann Motorsports driver John Wiedemann recovered from a slow start and drove to the third spot. That’s how they would stay the rest of the way in front of the standing-room only crowd.
Mike Fitzlaff would be scored fifth in the final run down with championship point leader Mike Lack sixth. The Sweeney Memorial Grand Prix marked the first final that he failed to qualify for. Lack was scored just ahead of Burgetta Racing’s Amy Butler, by virtue of a stronger qualifying run. Mike Kristof and his Target-Fitz Ganassi brought up the dull end of the grid. Strom was the evening’s fast qualifier and won the first heat race while Margetta captured the second heat. Mike Lack saw his championship point lead shrink to seven over Kamikawa. The win was Kamikawa’s 38th all-time series triumph, cementing him securely in the number two spot on the most watched statistical category.
The Indy Slot Car drivers travel next to South Shore Superspeedway for the annual Turkey Trot, an event that features the popular series de-slot rules.
WHAT: Duane Sweeney Memorial Grand Prix
WHERE: Road Course at Badger Raceway, Muskego, WI
WHEN: Thursday, October 30, 2014 7pm
TELEVISION SCHEDULE: MBC Slotcar Network, YouTube
2013 CHAMPION: Dean Strom
2013 POLESITTER: Mike Lack
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: 2013 – Dean Strom - 38 laps
RACE ROUND: 4 of 15 in the 2014-2015 IndySlotCar Series
Muskego, WI – 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.
ROAD COURSE AT BADGER RACEWAY/BAYSIDE INTERNATIONAL HISTORY (11 events, 2004 - Present)
Date Race 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
12/5/2013 Dean Strom 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
--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 over 10 years.
--Matt Hayek won the Slots A’ Fun 400 at Stardust Speedway to claim his second win of the season, both of his starts this season.
--Both members of both Bargetta Racing and Spehert Autosport were in the field at the Slots A’ Fun 400.
--Two of the first three races have been won from the pole.
--Mike Lack has made the final in all three races this season, including a win, a second and a third.
--John Wiedemann has also tried to keep pace with his teammate making the finals in all three races.
--Matt Hayek’s fifth career win at Stardust moves him into 15th overall, in all-time wins.
--Hayek also scored the pole at the Slots A’ Fun 400, his sixth of his career moving into a tie with Chad Sorce for 14th all-time.
--Ev Kamikawa’s heat win at Stardust moves him into a tie with Phil Cianciola for second all-time in Heat Wins, for second all-time, behind only Dan Margetta with 107.
--Matt Hayek moved into a tie with his former teammate Mike Kristof of Finals appearances with 21, 17th overall.
--Dean Strom’s 103rd start at Stardust moves him ahead of Tony Perkins for 15th all-time.
--Strom had one of his rare DNF’s at the Slots A’ Fun 400, giving him 11 for his career, equaling former teammate Jim Iverson for 21st on the all-time list.