2017-18 Round 16
HO Indy 500 - South Shore Superspeedway - St. Francis, WI
April 7, 2018
Round 16 of 16
Weather: 36 - Sunny
Fitz Wins 25th HO Indy 500, Lack Takes Title Number Five
See the complete box score
(St. Francis, WI) -- The 25th running of the HO Indy 500 brings down the curtain on the 25th IndySlotCar Series season and Mike Fitzlaff took the last bow as his record setting performance to win the landmark event will be remembered for years to come. One of the largest fields in years showed up to attempt to qualify for the '500', including attracting a driver all the way from Great Britain, as Kishen Gohil became the latest driver to strap in to a car for the "greatest spectacle in HO slot car racing". The championship was a foregone conclusion so the only drama was who would drink the milk at the end of the day.
Qualifying is it's own drama and this year's 50 minute session was no exception as eleven drivers attempted to fit into the eight spots in the field. Mike Kristof would start things off and it soon became obvious his primary car's time was not going to withstand bumping. His Fitz-Matador Racing teammate, Mike Fitzlaff, had no such problems as he ripped off a four-lap time of 9.376 seconds and no other driver would come close with their primary car. Kristof and the two Spehert Autosport drivers, Tom Spehert and rookie Kishen Gohil hoping to find a faster back-up cars, watched Angry Squirrel Speedsport driver John Wiedemann take Dan Margetta's Team Castaway car to second on the grid and Pete Dorn after being bumped found pace in his back-up to put him solidly in the field leaving Mike Lack on the bubble, every other back-up car was used by the three on the outside, including Kristof who used four back-up cars and could not find the speed needed to get back into a race he felt owed him something after the disappointing way he was knocked out of the race while leading by a ton last year.
With the field set, the heats showed how fast Mike Fitzlaff was, he lapped the field early and often while Matt Hayek easily moved into the final as well, while Husarbilt Cup champion Mike Lack's three race winning streak would come to a close as he would finish a season-low eighth. John Wiedemann had to work to keep Ev Kamikawa behind him right at the end of their heat, but Dan Margetta attempted to keep pace but handling would not let the Direct Supply car stay on track enough, he would finish a solid fifth, both would move on while Black-Atom Racing's Bill Black and Pete Dorn would finish sixth and seventh respectively.
The 1000 lap final was never in question as Fitz ran away and hid and the only question was who would finish second, Wiedemann and Kamikawa dueled early but eventually JW's Team Lotus car would move well ahead of the Ferrari of Kamikawa, neither of which had anything to worry about from Hayek, who would have to make multiple late race pit stops for extra high-octane pit stops, but the fuel would not help and he would finish 167 laps down, one of the lowest lap totals for a car still running at the finish of the HO Indy 500. Fitzlaff would set a new race record completing the marathon event in 40 minutes, 26 seconds, erasing the old mark by a full 25 seconds. In addition he would clinch the Founder's Five, Cianciola Trophy for scoring the most points in the five events that have survived from that first season 25 years ago, missed the Oval track trophy by way of a tie-breaker with Mike Lack, who had two oval track wins this season to Fitzlaff's one. Winning from the pole also meant the cash, 45-thousand IndySlotCar-bucks. A popular victory at the end of one of the best seasons for participation and attendance as the series celebrates it's history.
Next up the drivers and teams will gather for the annual Awards banquet where, in addition to the prizes earned by on track activity will be augmented by awards voted on by the drivers themselves. Watch here for all the updates on April 20th followed by a one-time 25th season reunion of every driver who has ever competed in the series, the next day at Bermuda Raceway and the Shrine Desert Road Course.
HO Indy 500 Fast Facts
Race date: Saturday, Apr 7
Track: South Shore Superspeedway, 2.5 mile oval
Race distance: 1000 laps
Entry List: HO Indy 500
IndySlotCar Website: indyslotcar.com
2016 race winner: Mike Lack (No. 1 JAM Racing Dallara-Honda)
2016 Chick-fil-A Brookfield P1 Award winner: Mike Kristof (No. 9 Target Fitz-Ganassi Racing Dallara-Chevrolet), 9.480 seconds
Qualifying record: Ev Kamikawa, 8.933 seconds, 2015, Single Lap: Dan Margetta, 2.183 seconds, 2013
Race record: Mark Walczak, 40 minutes, 51.711 seconds, 2008
YouTube Broadcast: IndySlotCar Channel
At-track schedule (all times local):
4:00 – Driver introductions
4:15 – IndySlotCar Series Practice
5:00 – Qualifying for the Chick-fil-A Brookfield P1 Award (single car, four lap qualifying, 50 minutes session for the top 8 positions in the heat races)
5:50 – Heat Races
6:15 – HO Indy 500
· Unlike last season when there were four drivers coming into the HO Indy 500 with a realistic shot at winning the Husarsbilt Cup, this year, only two are even mathematically in the hunt and the only way for John Wiedemann to have a chance to win, is if Mike Lack doesn’t show up.
· Lack swiped the championship on a series of unlikely events at the 500 last year, Mike Kristof held a wide lead for the race over Lack, when the death card denied him his fourth series race win and was the lynchpin in John Wiedemann winning the championship. Pit cards were radically changed for this season.
· Not only is the HO Indy 500 double points for the race, but, IndyCar adjusted the points for qualifying for the 2017 full-scale 500, which means the HO Indy 500 qualifying points follow suit. Pole is worth 42 and decrease by points for each position down to 10th, which is worth 24, 11th is worth 23, 12th is 22.
· The series makes a giant switch from tradition by moving the 500 from a late morning to a late afternoon start time.
· South Shore Superspeedway will now become the longest serving host of the HO Indy 500, with 13; taking over from Edgewood Superspeedway, which hosted the first 12.
HO INDY 500 HISTORY (24 events, 1994 - Present)
Date Race Winner Track
5/19/1994 Phil Cianciola Shrine Road Course
5/18/1995 John Shea Edgewood “The Edge” Superspeedway
5/18/1996 Dave Austin
4/26/1997 Ev Kamikawa
4/18/1998 Jim Kaehny
4/17/1999 Phil Marich
4/15/2000 Phil Cianciola
4/21/2001 Jim Kaehny
4/12/2002 Ev Kamikawa
4/13/2003 Larry Rotter
4/17/2004 Chris Spehert
4/9/2005 Dan Margetta
4/18/2006 Ev Kamikawa South Shore Superspeedway
4/14/2007 Jim Iverson
4/12/2008 Mark Walczak
4/18/2009 Chris Spehert
4/10/2010 Matt Hayek
4/9/2011 Matt Hayek
4/14/2012 Ev Kamikawa
4/13/2013 Mike Fitzlaff
4/5/2014 John Wiedemann
4/11/2015 Mike Kristof
4/9/2016 John Wiedemann
4/8/2017 Mike Lack
Most Wins – 4-Ev Kamikawa; 2-John Wiedemann, Matt Hayek, Chris Spehert, Jim Kaehny, Phil Cianciola