2016-17 Round 9
Raven 250 - Raven Raceway - Milwaukee, WI
January 5, 2017
Round 9 of 16
Wiedemann Scores His Fourth Win of the Season
See the complete box score here.
Milwaukee, WI - The ups and downs of a season can be striking and John Wiedemann has been post boy for that, following up his DNF-seventh place finish at the last round with a solid win at the Raven 250 Thursday night at Raven Raceway. In fact, over the past five races The JAM Racing driver has gone from a win to last place to a win to a DNF-seventh place to the win last night. Meanwhile, Dan Margetta has been consistent throughout that stretch making the final four in all five of those races, including second at Raven, yet somehow sees "JW" filling his mirrors in the race for the Husarsbilt Cup now just nine points ahead.
The evening started with Dean Strom laying down a 4.5322 second fast lap in qualifying a full tenth of a second faster than the next best qualifier, Ev Kamikawa. Kamikawa would take his Penske-HO Dallara-Chevrolet into the first heat race and struggle to keep up with the two Target Fitz Ganassi teammates of Mike Fitzlaff and Mike Kristof. Kristof led early while Kamikawa and Fitzlaff struggled with handling issues but the slogging pace of the #9 Target car allowed "Fitz" to overtake him and seemed to be cruising for the win, but a severe cold that had hit him before he climbed in the car caused his concentration to fade and the #2 Penske HO moved to the point and on to the final, while the Target boys would finish on the same lap and Kristof's higher qualifying position would place him eighth ahead of Fitzlaff's ninth.
The second heat turned out to be a great warm-up act for the final, as the purely random assignment of heats, placed the top three in points together, with Dan Margetta and John Wiedemann battling it out the entire 10 minutes eventually, like the final, JW held off the second Penske HO car. Matt Hayek struggled to keep pace and pushed his #15 MaD Motorsports past the handling capabilities and wound up fifth on the night while hometown hero Pete Dorn ran a solid 107 laps just one behind Hayek winding up seventh on the night.
Dean Strom looked to be cruising to the final four in the first half of the third heat when the transmission suddenly failed and attempts to fix the car in the pits were unsuccessful and the team pushed the car behind the wall for a last place finish, while Bill Black took over the lead and kept defending Husarsbilt Cup champion Mike Lack behind him for the remainder of the session. It was Black's second final of the season, while Lack, after setting a series record of 14 finals last season, missed his fifth final of the 16-17 season.
In the 250 lap feature the side-by-side battle of the second heat resumed between Wiedemann and Margetta for most of the first half of the race, but eventually Margetta's Penske HO Dallara-Chevy could not get through the corkscrew without slowing significantly, he would finish one step above his teammate as Kamikawa never threatened for the lead, likewise for Black's Spehert Autospot #25. Wiedemann would finish 6 laps up and score his fourth win of the season, equalling his career high from last season, with seven more races left on the schedule, it seems likely he will set a new mark and have a continuing battle for the championship.
The IndySlotCar Series moves to a brand new track next, the Black Track in two weeks. The high banked oval is the first new track to be added to the schedule since 2011 when Stardust Speedway was built.
Raven 250 Fast Facts
Race date: Thursday, Jan 5
Track: 2.5 mile Natural Terrain Road Course in Milwaukee, WI
Race distance: 250 laps
IndySlotCar Website: indyslotcar.com
2015 race winner: Mike Lack (No. 1 JAM Racing Dallara-Honda)
2015 Chick-fil-A Brookfield P1 Award winner: Ev Kamikawa (No. 3 Penske HO Racing Dallara-Chevrolet)
One-lap qualifying record: Mark Walczak, 4.000 seconds, 2011
Race record: Mark Walczak, 21 minutes 14.362 seconds, 2013
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 (group qualifying/ fastest single lap)
7:40 – Heat races
8:15 – Raven 250
· The event returns to the first track Larry Rotter built. Raven Raceway
· While the Raven 250 was held for the past two seasons at other tracks, including last year at the other Rotter-built track, Turtle Creek Park Raceway and in 2015 at a one-off Rapids Oval, Mike Lack won both.
· The last driver to win at the Raven Raceway was Dean Strom in 2014 when all three other Final Four competitors DNFed, including Rotter who crashed out one lap before pit stops, when he would have gotten the “death card” which instead went to Dan Margetta and finally, Mike Lack just before the finish.
· Dan Margetta is coming off his third win of the season and leads the Husarsbilt Cup points at halfway.
Raven 250 PRE-EVENT QUOTES:
Amy Butler No. 63 JAM Racing: I’m so excited to be going back to Laaaaaaaary’s Raven Raceway.
Matt Hayek No. 15 MaD Motorsports: What did I miss?
Dean Strom No. 16 MaD Motorsports: Shouldn’t I be the one bringing the “Nose Trophy”? I won on this track last!
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 Bowl 250
1/8/2015 Mike Lack Raven 250 at Rapids – Temporary oval at Rapids International
1/7/2016 Mike Lack Raven 250 – Turtle Creek Park Raceway
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