2015-16 Round 9
Raven 250 - Turtle Creek Park Raceway - Menomonee Falls, WI
January 7, 2016
Round 9 of 16
WHAT: Raven 250
WHERE: Menomonee Falls, WI
WHEN: Thursday, January 7, 2016 7pm
U.S. TELEVISION SCHEDULE: IndySlotCar Channel on YouTube
2014 CHAMPION: Mike Lack
2014 POLESITTER: Dean Strom
TRACK LAYOUT: Natural Terrain Road Course
RACE LENGTH: 250 laps
TRACK RECORDS: (Club Cars): Qualifying – TBD; Race – TBD
EVENT RECORDS: Margin of Victory – Closest – 2007 – Dan Margetta – ½ lap; Largest – 2009 – Walczak – 13 laps
RACE ROUND: 9 of 16 in the 2015-2016 IndySlotCar Series
(Milwaukee, WI) -- On a cold night in Rapids,Defending Husarsbilt Cup champion Mike Lack turned up the heat on his championship challengers Thursday night at the Raven 250 at the Rapids Oval. With the win at the new oval, Lack took his second win of the season and extended his points lead to 33 from ten before the event as hometown favorite Ev Kamikawa was caught out on the tricky trapezoid, crashing early and ending the night sixth. Meanwhile a resurgent Mike Fitzlaff continues to climb the steps of the podium to second, with Matt Hayek back in a final in third. Lack's teammate, hoping to get back in the Husarsbilt Cup hunt crashed out in fourth place.
The night was challenging for all the drivers as they faced a new oval they had driven before and only seen on video. The adapted track built over the top of more than a few annoyed businesses in the town of Rapids. Rapidians are used to having IndySlotCar take over the streets of their town for a classic street course that has been changing routes for as long as the race as existed. This year mayor and racing czar of the town, Ev Kamikawa, constructed a modified oval that used some of the streets and then built bridges over some of the building to come up withe trapezoid shaped oval.
Qualifying proved to be too much for more than a few drivers, including Mike Kristof who nearly parked it during his four lap effort, winding up eighth but joined at the back by his Target Fitz Ganassi Racing teammate Mike Fizlaff at the back. Dean Strom used a smooth and steady approach to run four clean quick laps and land his third pole position of the year, the most by any driver this season.
The heats were grouped fastest to slowest and this anticipated a battle of points leaders to make the final, however early on it became obvious the speed and shape of the track were going to challenge even the best pilots, as in quick succession veteran Dan Margetta, pole sitter Dean Strom and hometown hero Ev Kamikawa all crashed out allowing Mike Lack to advance to the final and wait. The second heat race turned out to be a much more courteous affair as the drivers knew three of the four of them knew they would be advancing to the Raven 250. Mike Fitzlaff quickly advanced forward from his seventh starting position with Lack's Lack-Wiedemann Motorsports teammate challenging for the lead early on. Matt Hayek struggled in the inside lane while Target Fitz Ganassi's second driver Mike Kristof stayed in the mix until the midway point, once he moved to the inside lane it became obvious he would not be moving on and a late crash-out guaranteed that the front three had nothing to worry about with Fitzlaff scoring the championship point for the heat win.
The Raven 250 at Rapids final sorted out into a bit of a parade as Mike Lack started to take control over his teammate, but Wiedemann pushed too hard to try and keep pace and found himself crashing out right at the midway point finishing fourth. A sloppy pitstop by Lack-Wiedemann Motorsports allowed Mike Fitzlaff and Matt Hayek to briefly believe they were going to have a shot at challenging the leader, but Lack stayed smooth and eventually opened an insurmountable lead and Fitzlaff eventually found himself well clear of Hayek. With Kristof lasing almost his entire heat, he would place fifth, Kamikawa disappointing the paying fans in the stands in sixth, with Hayek's Out Of The Box Racing teammate Strom winding up seventh and Bargetta Racing's Margetta, who was scolded by league officials following pre-race practice for attempting to tamper with the league supplied tires, bringing up the rear.
RAVEN 250 HISTORY (16 events, 2000 - Present)
Date Race Winner Event Name
2/17/2000 John Shea Milwaukee Bucks Challenge – Raven Raceway**
3/1/2001 Chad Sorce Milwaukee Bucks Challenge
1/31/2002 Phil Cianciola Palermo’s Pizza Challenge*
1/2/2003 Larry Rotter Saz’s 250
10/2/2003 Larry Rotter Saz’s 250
1/6/2005 Phil Cianciola Saz’s 250
1/5/2006 Dan Margetta Saz’s 250
1/4/2007 Dan Margetta Quizno’s Grand Prix
1/3/2008 Mark Walczak Quizno’s 250
1/8/2009 Mark Walczak Raven 250
2/4/2010 Mike Fitzlaff Raven 250
1/6/2011 Dan Margetta Raven 250
1/5/2012 Mark Walczak Raven 250
1/3/2013 Mark Walczak Raven 250
1/2/2014 Dean Strom Raven 250
1/8/2015 Mike Lack Raven 250 at Rapids – Temporary oval at Rapids International
Most Wins – 4-Mark Walczak; 3-Dan Margetta; 2-Phil Cianciola, Larry Rotter
*-Dave Austin bottle/nose incident
**-All races held at Rave Raceway through 2014
§ Mike Lack opened a 26 point lead in his Husarsbilt Cup championship defense with a win at the Christmas Classic
§ Mike Lack became just the second driver this season to win a second race with the victory at Shrine
§ Ev Kamikawa has made three podiums in a row
With her third final four appearance at the Christmas Classic Amy Butler has equaled her career high total for a season.
Mike Lack’s heat win at the Shrine Desert Road Course pulls him into a tie with Mike Fitzlaff with 55 heat wins good for seventh on the all-time list.
This was also his 74th appearance in a final, moving him ahead of Jim Iverson alone into eighth all-time.
Amy Butler’s heat win moves her equal to John Baas’ career total of 13 heat wins, good for 19th all-time.
Mike Fitzlaff became the eighth driver in IndySlotCar history to turn 30,000 laps in competition.
Mike Lack moved ahead of Dave Austin on the all-time laps list to 12th with 25,773
Amy Butler passed Chad Sorce on the laps list for 18th with 18,327
Dan Margetta’s next start will be his 300th of his career, continuing to extend his series record.
John Wiedemann equaled Dave Austin in all-time starts with 118, good for a tie for 14th.
Mike Lack’s 110th career start at the Christmas Classic moves him even with Jim Iverson, 17th all-time.