2017-18 Round 15
Larry Rotter Memorial Grand Prix - Turtle Creek Park Raceway - Menomonee Falls, WI
March 29, 2018
Round 15 of 16
Drive For Five Secured
See the complete box score
(Menomonee Falls, WI) -- A record setting night for a driver who is setting records for the season. Mike Lack unloaded a fast car for the "open class" Larry Rotter Memorial Grand Prix at Turtle Creek Park Raceway Thursday night and showed that the dominance he has displayed in the "club car" races would not be interrupted for this special rules event. After sweeping every point possible at The Shrine Cup two weeks ago, the Angry Squirrel Speedsport driver unleashed a near-record setting qualifying lap a full two-tenths of a second faster than anyone in the field.
Lack's closest competitor on the night appeared to be MaD Motorsports drivers Dean Strom and Matt Hayek, qualifying second and fourth respectively, both, were grouped with the defending champion in the opening heat race, while Strom showed pace, his car suffered major damage after a crash into the harsh Turtle Creek Park fencing around the track, he would lose a pick-up shoe and require lengthy pit-stops for repairs. Meanwhile, Hayek maintained a solid pace, keeping Lack within sight but not able to challenge for the heat win, his lap total would be good enough to advance for a rematch in the final. While Strom sat frustrated in his damaged car in the pits, Mike Kristof, could not race the car he qualified so well with. Starting a surprising third on the grid, disaster seemed imminent on almost every lap from the drop of the green flag as numerous crashes taxed the resources of corner marshals, eventually their burden was lifted on the 17th lap as Kristof's Larry Rotter-tribute RAC car would come cartwheeling down the front stretch and out of the race, as the Fitz-Matador Racing driver would finish, 12th, last on the night. Strom would settle for ninth.
The second heat held more drama as Black-Atom Racing's Pete Dorn quickly moved out to a lead over John Wiedemann and Alex Hayek. But a crash before half-way nearly knocked Wiedemann out of the race entirely. His #59 Team Lotus car spun coming off the final turn and sat motionless on the front stretch waiting for the marshals to get him restarted when Pete Dorn came rocketing through knocking JW's car off the track and momentarily believing he was out of the race, but IndySlotCar officials got word to the Angry Squirrel Speedsport pits that the car was still eligible to continue. While all that was happening the third A.S.S. car crashed wildly off the final turn, leaving Amy Butler out of the race, finishing 11th. Wiedemann's crash and subsequent decision dropped him to third place, three laps behind Dorn as the first half ended, with rookie Hayek less than a lap behind in second place. Once Wiedemann knew what his mission was in the second half, he laid down a series of fast laps, while the #88 struggled with handling in the green lane, eventually, JW would move to the lead an hold on to advance to the final to take on his teammate, while Dorn would have to settle for a solid fifth place and the younger Hayek, seventh, securing the Rookie of the Year honors.
The final heat race was another messy affair as first Bill Black rushed out to a lead and appeared to have everything he needed to make another final, but 30 laps in, the Lucas Oil #7 careened off the bridge and out of the race, for a tenth place finish. Mike Fitzlaff inherited the lead, while Dan Margetta could not get a handle on his Larry Rotter-tribute Herdez car, spinning often, while Ev Kamikawa stayed out of trouble and eventually took over the lead from "Fitz" in the second half to advance to his fourth final in the last five races, while Fitzlaff's Rotter-tribute Target #1 would sit sixth on the night and Margetta finished, complaining of dehydration in eighth.
The 20-minute final of the Rotter Memorial was never in question, from the start Lack opened at a pace that none of the other three could compete with, which left battles among themselves. Matt Hayek's Dad's Root Beer car would be the best of the rest moving well clear of Kamikawa and Wiedemann, waiting or hoping that Lack might make a mistake that would never come. Outside of his win at the Christmas Classic it would be his best finish of the season. It was the battle for third that had everyone's attention as the event counted down to conclusion, with John Wiedemann fending off paparazzi on or near the track, Ev Kamikawa would catch and pass the Lotus car just as time expired for the third step of the podium.
The 25th season comes to a close in just over a week at the biggest race of the year, the HO Indy 500 at South Shore Superspeedway. Mike Lack need only make a qualifying attempt to clinch his record-tying fifth straight Husarsbilt Cup championship, but as the defending race winner at the '500' and a driver who can see several series records within reach, everyone realizes his sights are set on continuing the string of victories that now stands at three.
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
2017 race winner: Dean Strom (No. 16 MaD Motorsports Dallara-Honda)
2017 Chick-fil-A Brookfield P1 Award winner: Mike Lack (No. 1 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 – “Open Class” cars presented for Technical Inspection
7:30 – Qualifying for the Chick-fil-A Brookfield P1 Award (Three groups of qualifying)
7:50 – Heat races
8:45 – Larry Rotter Memorial Grand Prix (20-minute final)
· Mike Lack is riding a two-race winning streak and within reach of mathematically securing a fifth straight Husarsbilt Cup championship.
· Ev Kamikawa has made a final in three of the last four races and leapt to third place in points.
· Dean Strom is the defending race winner and coming off a second place at the Shrine.
· Dan Margetta’s appearance at the Shrine Cup gives him 330 starts, number one all-time and Mike Kristof reached 250 starts, which is third.
Larry Rotter Memorial Grand Prix PRE-EVENT QUOTES:
Dean Strom No. 10 MaD Motorsports: I took a swing at the last race, Lack better watch out this time.
Bill Black No. 7 Black-Atom Racing: Mike Lack didn’t get nearly enough screen time on the TMJ4 piece!
Mike Lack No. 1 JAM Racing: I’m not talking smack anymore, I’m just being boring and I’m winning.
LARRY ROTTER MEMORIAL GRAND PRIX HISTORY (15 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
3/30/2017 Dean Strom Larry Rotter Memorial Grand Prix
Most Wins – 4-Larry Rotter, Mark Walczak ; 2- Mike Fitzlaff