2016-17 Round 15
Larry Rotter Memorial Grand Prix - Turtle Creek Park Raceway - Menomonee Falls, WI
March 30, 2017
Round 15 of 16
Strom Wins Rotter Memorial; Husarsbilt Cup Championship Essentially Tied
Menomonee Falls, WI -- On a night when all eyes were on the championship contenders, Dean Strom managed to distract everyone from that drama while his MaD Motorsports #16 ran away with the show at the Larry Rotter Memorial Grand Prix at Turtle Creek Park Thursday. The Husarsbilt Cup championship was a four way fight coming into the race, but heading to the HO Indy 500 it appears that it's been whittled down to the two main contenders, as Dan Margetta and John Wiedemann finished second and third respectively, at the Rotter Memorial, while Mike Lack and Matt Hayek both crashed out early.
The night was looking promising for Lack to move back into the thick of the battle taking the pole position by one-one thousandth of a second over Strom. Dan Margetta easily cruised through the first heat race while Amy Butler scored an impressive lap total and once again had to wait and watch to see if she scored the "transfer position".
The second heat had the best race of the night as Bill Black led his Spehert Autosport teammate, Pete Dorn and Mike Kristof, formerly of Target Fitz Ganassi Racing early on and eventually build what seemed like an insurmountable ten-lap lead. But, as the second half of the ten-minute heat wound down, Black started to lose the handling and Kristof kept passing him, as the clock ticked under a minute, they were on the same lap. A crash coming off the bridge by Black allowed Kristof to take the lead with about 30 seconds left, allowing the #9 car to advance to his third final of the season.
Three of the top four in the Husarbilt Cup points were placed in heat number three, as a random draw determined the heat groupings, so that meant John Wiedemann and his JAM Racing teammate Mike Lack along with the MaD Motorsports teammates of Matt Hayek and Dean Strom. While Strom is not in contention for the championship, a win would certainly make a shortened schedule successful. Early on Strom and Lack battled for the lead while Hayek crashed out with 46 laps to finish eleventh on the night and potentially ending his hopes of a championship. Meanwhile, Lack took a decisive lead over Strom and his teammate, but with about two minutes left, he found himself crashing out at the same corner Hayek did and finished sixth with 129 laps, edging Black out for the night. That left Strom and Wiedemann, with "JW" only focused on scoring enough laps to bump his other teammate out of the transfer position in order to keep pace with Margetta. With just a couple laps to spare Wiedemann met his goal and for the third race in a row that she has entered, Butler finished fifth, it's also the second race in a row where a JAM Racing teammate bumped her out of the final.
Dean Strom took the early lead the in the 20 minute Larry Rotter Memorial Grand Prix and never looked back. The real battle was for second place and whether the points lead Wiedemann brought into the race was going to grow or shrink before the HO Indy 500. While JW and Margetta would trade back and forth early on, eventually Margetta would hold on to that second step of the podium while Wiedemann tried furiously late to make up the distance. Mike Kristof would finish a distant fourth.
That leaves the biggest, longest, most important race of the season, the championship deciding HO Indy 500. Not only is it a one-thousand lap test, but the double points for finishing position and points for every qualifying position, will make for a very dramatic day at South Shore Superspeedway, Saturday, April 8th.
Larry Rotter Memorial Grand Prix Fast Facts
Race date: Thursday, Mar 30
Track: Turtle Creek Park Raceway, 2.8-mile, 9-turn natural terrain circuit, Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin
Race distance: 20 minutes
Entry List: Larry Rotter Memorial Grand Prix
IndySlotCar Website: indyslotcar.com
2016 race winner: Mike Fitzlaff (No. 10 Fitz Ganassi Racing Dallara-Chevrolet)
2016 Chick-fil-A Brookfield P1 Award winner: John Wiedemann (No. 14 JAM Racing Dallara-Honda)
Qualifying record: Larry Rotter, 3.023 seconds, 2005
Race record: Larry Rotter, 300 laps, 2005; Mark Walczak, 300 laps, 2006, Mark Walczak, 300 laps, 2010
YouTube Broadcast: IndySlotCar Channel
At-track schedule (all times local):
6:30 – Driver introductions
7:00 – IndySlotCar Series Practice
7:20 – Qualifying for the Chick-fil-A Brookfield P1 Award (Three groups of qualifying)
7:40 – Heat races
8:30 – Larry Rotter Memorial Grand Prix
· Dan Margetta’s win at the Lucky Bob’s March Madness closes the Husarsbilt Cup points standings down to a nine-point margin behind John Wiedemann.
· Wiedemann’s JAM Racing teammate, Mike Lack finished second at Lucky Bob’s bringing him to within 31 points and Matt Hayek’s third place inched him to within 33 points.
· The top four in points account for 13 of the 14 race victories this season, Wiedemann and Margetta with four each, Hayek with three and Mike Lack with two, Ev Kamikawa has the only non-top four win.
· Mike Fitzlaff’s is the defending race winner and is the last Fitz Ganassi team win.
Lucky Bob’s March Madness PRE-EVENT QUOTES:
Dan Margetta No. 3 Penske HO Racing: Whew! I needed that! Now, does anybody have a car for me for this open class race?
John Wiedemann No. 19 JAM Racing: I thought we were here to race cars, no to play “Old Maid!”
Mike Lack No. 1 JAM Racing: There are no team orders, just “watch out Margetta!”
LARRY ROTTER MEMORIAL GRAND PRIX HISTORY (14 events, 2003 - Present)
Date Race Winner Event Name
3/16/2003 Larry Rotter March Madness
3/25/2004 Larry Rotter March Madness
3/3/2005 Larry Rotter Milwaukee Bucks March Madness
3/30/2006 Mark Walczak Milwaukee Bucks March Madness
3/29/2007 Amy Butler M&J March Madness
3/27/2008 Mike Fitzlaff M&J March Madness
10/23/2008 Mark Walczak Milwaukee Sporting Goods Halloween Havoc
4/1/2009 Mark Walczak March Madness
3/31/2010 Dan Margetta March Madness
3/29/2011 Mark Walczak March Madness
3/28/2013 Larry Rotter March Madness
3/27/2014 Ev Kamikawa March Madness
4/2/2015 John Wiedemann Larry Rotter Memorial Grand Prix
3/31/2016 Mike Fitzlaff Larry Rotter Memorial Grand Prix
Most Wins – 4-Larry Rotter, Mark Walczak ; 2- Mike Fitzlaff