2014-15 Round 7
Christmas Classic - The Shrine Desert Road Course - Wauwatosa, WI
Round 7 of 15
December 18, 2014
Wiedemann Wins Winter Wonder
See the complete box score here
(Wauwatosa, WI) -- John Wiedemann held off his teammate to take the Christmas Classic at the Shrine Desert Road Course Thursday night in Wauwatosa. It was "JW's" first win of the season and helps move him to third in the standings behind his Lack-Wiedemann Motorsports teammate Mike Lack and Penske HO driver Ev Kamikawa.
Sometimes a driver gets a qualifying car and sometimes it's a "race" car. Wiedemann picked a "race" car tonight as qualifying didn't go that well for him. Mike Kristoff, at his home track, set the top qualifying speed with a run of 4.588 seconds and scored his eighth career pole. Behind Kristoff was Burgetta Racing driver Dan Margetta and Penske HO's Ev Kamikawa, the series point leader coming into tonights event. Behind all of them was Wiedemann, at the tail of the field and just over three tenths of a second off the leaders pace.
The night would feature tight races with multiple drivers on the lead lap together and multiple lead changes. Heat racing was especially tight. The first heat race included the top four qualifiers. Target Fitz-Ganassi's Mike Fitzlaff made his presence known leading the opening half of heat race one with teammate Kristoff on his bumper and Kamikawa right behind. Margetta, who exclaimed in practice that he had the "winning car" struggled six laps off the lead pace. The second half proved to be the same for the leaders, but a different story for Margetta. Clearly the fastest car on the track, he was able to close the distance between himself and the lead pack when, with 19 second left in the race, disaster struck. Margetta's rocket ship of a racecar flew off the track and his night was done, there would be no win for the "winning car". Fitzlaff took the victory. Kristoff finished second with Kamikawa two straightaways behind, a distance that would prove to be crucial. The second heat race was a Lack-Wiedemann Motorsports show with Wiedemann and Lack leading from start to finish. Matt Hayek made a charge in the second half to hope for a transfer to the final, but all that effort was for nothing when he wrecked and was ignored by marshalls who were attending to Amy Butler's car that had flown off the track. Hayek missed the transfer by just over a lap.
With Fitzlaff and Wiedemann getting wins and Lack scoring the most laps of non-winners only one transfer spot remained. That spot went to Kristoff with his finish just two straightaways ahead of points leader Kamikawa. Kamikawa was relegated to fifth and would lose the points lead.
The final continued the tight racing theme as Lack, Fitzlaff and Wiedemann paced the opening half without more than lap between the top three. Kristoff fell back a bit and then, with a couple minutes left in the opening half, mysteriously spun and flew off the track leaving the rest field to battle for positions on the podium.
Pitstops proved to be crucial. Lack, the leader at the break, hit pit road first and with the crew having issues remained there for twenty long seconds. Fitzlaff was next in and out with an blazing fast 8 second stop and Wiedemann followed with a ten second pit for service. Lack's pit struggles and a change of lanes proved beneficial to Wiedemann as he sped to the lead three laps ahead second place. For the rest of the race, which Wiedemann said was "the longest seven minutes of his life", Wiedemann and Lack battled with neither the leader able to get away nor the chaser to gain any ground. When time expired and the checkers waved, Wiedemann took the event win for the second time in three years and extended the Lack Wiedemann Motorsports streak of Christmas Classic victories to three. Lack finished second with Fitzlaff taking third after battling handling issues at the end of the race.
Wiedemann's ninth career win moved him into third place in the point standings twenty-two points behind Kamikawa. Mike Lack's second place run allowed him to reclaim the top position in the standings, ten points ahead of Kamikawa. Dean Strom missed the race filming a road-trip movie to Florida and dropped to fourth in the standings with Kristoff just eighteen points behind in fifth,
Next on the schedule is round eight of the 2014-2015 IndySlotCar schedule on January 8th. A new event at a newly built track – the Oval at Rapids Raceway. The home of the Too Clean Laundry Grand Prix, which will be round 9, now has an oval track for the IndySlotCar league to take a spin around (see what I did there?). With none of the series drivers, except for Kamikawa, able to cycle around the track yet, favorites are hard to pick. Will it be oval track master Matt Hayek or track owner Kamikawa or a surprise winner? Stay tuned.
WHAT: Shrine Christmas Classic
WHERE: Wauwatosa, WI
WHEN: Thursday, December 18, 2014 7pm
U.S. TELEVISION SCHEDULE: MBC Slotcar Network, YouTube
2013 CHAMPION: Mike Lack
2013 POLESITTER: Mike Fitzlaff
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: 7 of 15 in the 2014-2015 IndySlotCar Series
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.
SHRINE CHRISTMAS CLASSIC HISTORY (19 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*
12/19/2013 Mike Lack Christmas Classic Shrine Desert Road Course
*-Vista Rio Rancho Raceway renamed to original name
Most Wins – 4-Phil Cianciola; 2-Jim Kaehny, Dan Margetta, Mark Walczak
The series stays in its historic home town of Wauwatosa for another of the founding races of the series. Mike Lack and Ev Kamikawa find themselves tied for the Husarsbilt Cup championship.
--Ev Kamikawa has made the final in the last five races in a row.
--Mike Lack has made the final in five of the first six races.
--Dean Strom pulled equal with Mike Kristof for pole positions at 13th all-time with seven.
--Strom also moved into a tie with Dave Austin for Heat Wins with 27, 12th place all-time and 13th for Finals appearances with 38.
--Dean Strom and John Wiedemann moved into 15th and 16th place respectively for all-time laps turned, both passing Chad Sorce.