2015-16 Round 10
Too Clean Laundry Grand Prix - Rapids International - Milwaukee, WI
January 21, 2016
Round 10 of 16
Lack Makes It Three In A Row!
See the complete box score here
Milwaukee, WI – It was all Mike Lack Thursday night at the Too Clean Grand Prix through the streets of Rapids as the two-time defending series champion scored his third straight victory and is beginning to look like he will have his third straight championship this season as well. It was a night of heartbreak for his closest challenger and frustration for much of the rest of the field.
The champ set a new track record in qualifying running ahead of a very fast Matt Hayek of MaD Motorsports by just .08 seconds, both drivers were more than a tenth of a second below the previous track record. The two would be paired up in the first heat race along with hometown favorite Ev Kamikawa from Penske HO Racing. Early on it looked like Hayek might have something for Lack, but the handling on the #15 car quickly went away and eventually would finish last on the night, while JAM Racing's lead driver held off Kamikawa for the checkers of the heat and a spot in the final.
Dan Margetta was resurgent in the streets of Rapids as he kept JAM's John Wiedemann in his rear view mirrors en route to a win in the second heat, but Wiedemann would score just enough laps to edge out Kamikawa for the transfer spot to the final. Dean Strom and Mike Fitzlaff battle for third in the heat, with Strom's MaD Motorsports holding off the #10 Fitz Ganassi machine, finishing sixth and seventh, respectively.
The final heat was the most entertaining of the night as Target Fitz Ganassi's Mike Kristof raced off to an early lead, but would watch that advantage disappear to Bill Black as they reached halfway, the #9 Target car was again able to open up a lead that he would squander late in the heat with several spins, allowing Black to get his Spehert Autosport Dallara-Honda out front denying Kristof his first appearance in a final this season. Black's Spehert Autosport teammates, rookie Pete Dorn and Tom Spehert would wind up ninth and tenth overall.
Lack might have been challenged in the 20 minute final by his JAM Racing teammate John Wiedemann, but an engine failure during his pit-stop ended that chance just past half way and allowing Lack's Husarsbilt Cup points lead to balloon to 57 points with six races left. With "JW" out at half way, Black had the opportunity to move ahead of Penske HO's Margetta and finish second, for his best finish of his nine race career.
WHAT: Too Clean Laundry Grand Prix
WHERE: Milwaukee, WI
WHEN: Thursday, January 21, 2016 7pm
U.S. TELEVISION SCHEDULE: IndySlotCar Channel on YouTube
2015 CHAMPION: Mike Lack
2015 POLESITTER: Mike Lack
TRACK LAYOUT: Temporary Street Course
RACE LENGTH: 20 minutes
TRACK RECORDS: Qualifying – 5.702 – Mike Lack – 2015; Race – 169 laps – Mike Lack – 2015
EVENT RECORDS: Margin of Victory – Closest – 2007 – Ev Kamikawa – 2 track sections; Largest – 1996 – Dave Austin – 100 laps
RACE ROUND: 10 of 16 in the 2015-2016 IndySlotCar Series
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.
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 Version 6
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 Version 7
9/20/2012 Mark Walczak Lia Sophia Grand Prix
1/17/2013 John Wiedemann Too Clean Laundry Grand Prix
1/16/2014 John Wiedemann Too Clean Laundry Grand Prix
1/22/2015 Mike Lack Too Clean Laundry Grand Prix Rapids International Version 8
Most Wins – 5-Mark Walczak; 2-Mike Lack, John Wiedemann, Ev Kamikawa, Dave Austin
§ Mike Lack is riding a two race winning streak and extended his Husarsbilt Cup championship points lead to 45 after his win at the Raven 250.
§ Mike Lack has won two races in a row and three this season.
§ Mike Fitzlaff has made the final in two of the past three races, Lack is the only other driver to do that.
§ Positions five through nine of points standing are separated by 11 points, with Ev Kamikawa and Mike Fitzlaff tied for fifth at 229, Mike Kristof seventh with 226, Tom Spehert in eighth at 222 and Amy Butler ninth with 218.
§ Pete Dorn leads the Rookie Of The Year battle over Bill Black by 11 points.
§ Matt Hayek moves into a tie with Chad Sorce for 17th for all-time Heat Wins with 15.
§ John Wiedemann takes over 14th place in the all-time starts list with 119 races, Mike Lack moves to 17th in starts with 111.