2014-15 Round 9
Too Clean Laundry Grand Prix - Rapids International - Milwaukee, WI
January 22, 2015
Round 9 of 15
Lack Sweeps The Streets Of Rapids
Milwaukee, WI - Mike Lack left the little town of Rapids and after two weeks of racing and the defending Husarsbilt Cup champion took all the hardware with him. Scoring his second series victory in a row, Lack increased his lead in the point standings and is threatening to run away with this year's championship after winning the Too Clean Laundry Grand Prix at Rapids International.
With the track configured back to a street course from the last event on the Rapids Oval the changed layout gave drivers fits in practice and qualifying. Mike Lack proved to have the setup dialed in as he streaked to the pole position for the third time this season.
A random draw shuffled up the seven competing drivers into two heat races. All the excitement happened in the first five seconds of heat race one. With just one turn left for the Out Of The Box Racing driver to complete the opening lap, Matt Hayek lost control and flew out of the park, ending his night. Lack-Wiedemann Racing's John Wiedemann cruised to the finish with the win and captured his seventh finals appearance of the season. Mike Kristof safely finished his race in second and waited through the second heat to see if his lap count would hold up.
The second heat was hotly contested with super fast Dean Strom, champion pole-sitter Lack, hometown hero Ev Kamikawa and master strategist Dan Margetta racing the early portion side by side. Strom and Lack slowly pulled away while Margetta maintained a finals ensuring pace. Kamikawa disappointed the home town crowd as he lost all control of his ride and dropped out of contention. Strom was able to hold off Lack for the win setting up a rematch to contest the final. Margetta outpaced Kristof for the last transfer ticket to the final and made it through an extra technical inspection after being accused again of tampering with his tires.
The opening half of the final lived up to its billing as Strom and Lack battled for the lead in the first nine minutes. With the halfway break approaching, an accident on the infield portion of the course threw the first wrench into Strom picking up the second win of the season. When the accident site was cleared, it was discovered that Strom lost the shoe on his car and had to make the repairs once the field was back under green conditions. Even with a quick fix by Strom, Lack pounced on the advantage and pulled away with a six lap lead. Strom was able to hold on to second place, a lap ahead of Wiedemann, but had his work cut out to try and catch the champ.
Pit-stops to start out the second ten minute half were relatively quick and none of the drivers were able to gain much advantage. Following the pit-stop segment, a track stoppage to clean up a spun racer changed the outcome of the race dramatically. Restarting in the middle of the back straight with his vision totally blocked by the Rapids skyline, Strom hammered the throttle too much and was unable to slow for the turn that approached too rapidly. Strom's car arced off the track and his chase for the win came up empty. With a double digit lap lead over second place, Lack set his pace on cruise control and scored a league leading third win of the season. Wiedemann and Margetta, who also struggled with pickup shoe issues, took the next two spots on the podium, dropping Strom to fourth.
The victory and pole win scored Mike Lack $23,000 IndySlotCar bucks and allowed him to increase his point lead by 22 to 57 points over second place Kamikawa. Wiedemann remains in third but has closed the gap on Kamikawa over the last three races to five points in the closest battle in the standings.
Up next on the schedule is round ten, the Deckertring Grand Prix in Waukesha on February 5th. Margetta is the defending champion of the race but, like last year, the buzz around the paddock is that Amy Butler, Margetta's Burgetta Racing teammate is scheduled to make her series return at the event.
WHAT: Too Clean Laundry Grand Prix
WHERE: Milwaukee, WI
WHEN: Thursday, January 22, 2015 7pm
U.S. TELEVISION SCHEDULE: GT Channel, YouTube
2014 CHAMPION: John Wiedemann
2014 POLESITTER: Ev Kamikawa
TRACK LAYOUT: Temporary Street Course
RACE LENGTH: 20 minutes
TRACK RECORDS (New layout): Qualifying –
EVENT RECORDS: Margin of Victory – Closest – 2007 – Kamikawa – 2 track sections; Largest – 1996 – Dave Austin – 100 laps
RACE ROUND: 9 of 15 in the 2014-2015 IndySlotCar Series
Rapids – John Wiedemann came from behind to spoil Ev Kamikawa's chance to win the 49 thousand IndySlotCar bucks Pole-to-Win prize and take the Too Clean Laundry Grand Prix victory at Rapids International. Wiedemann's win, his second checkered flag of the IndySlotCar Series season, cut down Mike Lack's Walczakian sized championship lead by 15 points down to 66, with Lack finishing third on the night ahead of Dan Margetta.
Home town racer Kamikawa kicked off the night by grabbing the pole position away from defending race winner and last season's top qualifier Wiedemann in the last session of qualifying. Kamikawa's lap of 4.781 seconds bested Wiedemann by just 63 thousandths of a second and just missed the track record by four thousandths. The track was quick tonight, a little slick, and even called dangerous and scary by a number of drivers.
The opening heat race featured the top two in qualifying facing off along with the inaugural race for rookie Corey Galbraith facing off against series commissioner Mike Kristof. Penske HO driver Kamikawa set the pace throughout the race to the checkers to take the win and advance to his 119th final race, moving him into second place all-time in the series. JMM Racing's Wiedemann paced himself behind the race leader and held off the hard charging rookie to transfer to the feature. Galbraith, driving for Penske HO, finished third followed by D&D Racing's Kristof.
While it probably wasn't a very exciting heat race from Cha-Ching Motorsports Dan Margetta's perspective, heat number two produced a good amount of drama. Margetta ran off and left the field in his rear view mirror in winning the race. Behind Margetta was a great battle for the final transfer spot to the feature. D&D Racing's Matt Hayek held down the second spot for most of the race while series point leader Lack and Dean Strom struggled to keep up. A late caution changed all that. Holding a two lap lead over Lack, everything went downhill quickly for Hayek. As Hayek struggled to get his car back to race speed, Lack quickly made up those two laps and moved ahead in the running order. JMM Racing's Lack held on to the transfer spot with Hayek and Strom finishing just a lap behind.
The Too Clean Laundry Grand Prix featured track owner Kamikawa against the top three drivers in the point standings. As the early laps of the race sorted out, Kamikawa took the lead ahead of Wiedemann, Lack and Margetta. The field paced themselves throughout the opening half and Kamikawa built up a six lap cushion over Wiedemann by the halfway break.
Kamikawa's pitstop in the second half was the first bit of misfortune that the driver faced all event long. A penalty after a somewhat slow stop dictated that Kamikawa run the next ten laps with the opposite driving hand. The penalty, along with a routine pitstop by Wiedemann, ended up with Kamikawa giving back a couple laps to second place. Wiedemann picked up the pace with time running out just as the handling started to go away for leader Kamikawa. With only a minute to go, Wiedemann shot past Kamikawa to grab the lead. More handling issues plagued Kamikawa and allowed Wiedemann to coast to the victory and reclaim the Too Clean Laundry Grand Prix trophy.
Lack retains his point lead in the standings by 66 over teammate Wiedemann. Margetta holds down third place in the standings, just 27 points behind Wiedemann and 25 points ahead of Strom. Hayek rounds out the top five and is now only five points out of fourth.
TOO CLEAN LAUNDRY GRAND PRIX HISTORY (15 events, 1995 - Present)
Date Race Winner Event Name Track
4/13/1995 Dave Austin Rapids Grand Prix Rapids Raceway
4/11/1996 Dave Austin Rapids Grand Prix
12/3/1998 Dan Margetta Rapids Grand Prix Rapids Raceway Version 2
12/2/1999 Ev Kamikawa Rapids Grand Prix
12/7/2000 John Shea Rapids Grand Prix Rapids Raceway Version 3
11/29/2001 Phil Cianciola Rapids Grand Prix Rapids Raceway Version 4
2/1/2007 Ev Kamikawa WiJobs.com Grand Prix Rapids Raceway Version 5
1/31/2008 Mark Walczak Rapids Grand Prix Rapids International
2/5/2009 Mark Walczak Lia Sophia Grand Prix
9/17/2009 Mike Lack Lia Sophia Grand Prix
9/30/2010 Mark Walczak Lia Sophia Grand Prix
3/15/2012 Mark Walczak Too Clean Laundry Grand Prix Rapids International Ver. 2
9/20/2012 Mark Walczak Lia Sophia Grand Prix
1/17/2013 John Wiedemann Too Clean Laundry Grand Prix
1/16/2014 John Widemann Too Clean Laundry Grand Prix
Most Wins – 5-Mark Walczak; 2-John Wiedemann, Ev Kamikawa, Dave Austin
--Mike Lack scored his second win of the season at the new Rapids Oval expanding his Husarsbilt Cup points leads.
--Mike Lack has made the final in the last four races in a row including his win at the Raven 250.
--Mike Fitzlaff has been climbing the podium the past two races with a third at the Christmas Classic and second at the Rapids two weeks ago and made three of the past four finals.
--Dean Strom won his third pole position of the season at the Raven 250, the most of any driver this season.
--Mike Lack’s win at the Raven 250 was the 15th of his career, equaling John Shea’s total, they are now tied for ninth all-time.
--Dean Strom’s pole at the Rapids Oval moved him into a tie with Mike Kristof, the eighth of his career, 13th all-time.
--Matt Hayek’s appearance in the Raven 250 final was his 22nd, equaling Mike Kristof, the two are tied for 17th.
--Mike Kristof’s start at the Rapids Oval was the 200th of his career, only four other drivers have appeared in more races.
--John Wiedemann surpassed Tony Perkins for career starts at the Raven 250, his 103rd makes him 16th in series history.
--Matt Hayek become just the 18th driver to make triple digit starts in the series.