2017-18 Round 8
Christmas Classic - Bermuda Raceway - Wauwatosa, WI
December 14, 2017
Round 8 of 16
Hayek Breaks Through!
Wauwatosa, WI -- A brand new track to host the Christmas Classic saw a brand new winner this season as Matt Hayek swept all possible points at Bermuda Raceway. The short road course through the island suited Hayek perfectly as he set the fast lap of the night in qualifying, easily outdistanced his competitors in the second heat and was never challenged in the 20-minute final. The other big story was who wasn't in the final, four-time defending series champion Mike Lack had made the final four in the first seven events of the season, but Christmas would not be kind to the champ as he wouldn't even challenge for a heat win or the transfer spot.
Qualifying saw Hayek set the bar high early, as he went out in the first qualifying group and set a 2.558 second lap that appeared to be safe as the pole time, however, his MaD Motorsports teammate Dean Strom at the end of the final group would also lay down an identical lap and then Bermudians waited to see if he could go lower, but it didn't happen and according to IndySlotCar Series rules, the driver who sets the low time first, is entitled to the higher position, that left the two teammates on the front row and Strom spitting mad!
Mike Fitzlaff struggled all through qualifying and would start dead last for the second straight race, however Fitz-Matador Racing's #34 car would move into the final with a first heat race win over Bill Black, Angry Squirrel Speedsport's Amy Butler and the other half of Fitz-Matador Racing: Mike Kristof, who would do battle among themselves, several laps behind "Fitz", and would finish with a lap between each of them and end the night ninth, tenth and twelfth, respectively. Hayek ran away with the second heat and the question would be who would finish second and have to wait to see if the lap total was enough for the transfer spot, Hayek's MaD Motorsport's teammate Dean Strom battled Pete Dorn right to the finish and held off the Black Atom Racing driver by one lap, 200 to 199. For the second straight heat, Angry Squirrel Speedsport would miss the final as John Wiedemann ended his night in seventh.
The final heat pitted last race winner Dan Margetta against Husarsbilt Cup points leader Mike Lack as well as Ferrari's Ev Kamikawa and Tom Spehert. Margetta charged to the lead and it was beginning to look like Margetta might be on a hot streak, while Lack struggled for handling on the tight island roads. Kamikawa came up to try and challenge Margetta, but he would have to settle for second and try and challenge the transfer position total that Strom set, just as time ran out on the ten minute heat, the Ferrari scored his 201st lap and would move to his third final of the season.
The final was never in doubt for Hayek, even when his pit-stop went awry and the driver, who hadn't been in a final all season, made a rookie mistake and skidded into a tire changer as he came in for service. The extended stop and penalty served, a stop and go, for hitting a crew member, MaD Motorsports still had their man ahead by over a dozen laps over Kamikawa. Late in the race, when it became apparent that Margetta would finish off the podium, the veteran of all 25 seasons, would remember a special moment that series' founder Phil Cianciola once had during another Christmas Classic at Sanibel Speedway, parked his car to go eat ham. Mike Fitzlaff would grab the hard charger award as he moved from last to third on the night, behind Kamikawa and Hayek would take all the zeros off his standings sheet, scoring his first pole position, heat win, final four appearance and race win of the season, his first since the Stardust 500 last season.
The series takes a break for the holidays and then will get right back to action in the new year at Larry Rotter's Raven Raceway for the Raven 250.
Christmas Classic Fast Facts
Race date: Thursday, Dec 14
Track: Bermuda Raceway, 2.3 mile Natural Terrain Road Course in Wauwatosa, WI
Race distance: 20 minutes
IndySlotCar Website: indyslotcar.com
2016 race winner: John Wiedemann (No. 19 JAM Racing Dallara-Honda)
2016 Chick-fil-A Brookfield P1 Award winner: Dan Margetta (No. 3 Penske HO Dallara-Chevy)
One-lap qualifying record: new track
Race record: new track
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)
7:45 – Heat races
8:30 – Christmas Classic (20 minutes)
· This marks a return, of sorts, to the Christmas Classic being held on a tropical island, having been held for eight years on Sanibel Speedway, the new Bermuda Raceway echoes the layout of that classic track, but moved to the middle of the Atlantic instead of the off the coast of Florida. The Christmas Classic also returns to its traditional end of the first half of the season position in the schedule, having swapped dates with the Sweeney Memorial GP last year.
· This will be the fourth of the Founder’s Five races, Mike Lack has dominated all three of the previous rounds in this special 25th season championship.
· Dan Margetta scored his first win of the season at the Sweeney Memorial, reviving his season, making it his 18th straight season with at least one win and becomes the winningest driver in IndySlotCar Series history with is 43rd checkered flag.
· Margetta also became the first driver not part of Angry Squirrel Speedsport to take a victory this season.
Christmas Classic PRE-EVENT QUOTES:
Dan Margetta No. 5 Team Castaway: I got my win, those A.S.S. guys better watch out now!
Mike Lack No. 1 Angry Squirrel Speedsport: Suck it! Margetta!
Bill Black No. 7 Black-Atom Racing: Where’s Bermuda?!
CHRISTMAS CLASSIC HISTORY (22 events, 1993 - Present)
Date Race Winner Event Name Track
12/16/1993 Phil Cianciola Shrine Christmas Classic Shrine Road Course
12/15/1994 Dave Austin Tomy Christmas Classic Shrine Road Course
12/14/1995 Phil Cianciola Tomy Christmas Classic Shrine Road Course
12/12/1996 Jim Kaehny Tomy Christmas Classic Sanibel Speedway
12/18/1997 Jim Kaehny Tomy Christmas Classic Sanibel Speedway
12/17/1998 Dan Margetta Parma Christmas Classic Sanibel Speedway
12/16/1999 Phil Marich Championship Racing Magazine 400 Sanibel Speedway
12/13/2001 Chad Sorce Christmas Classic Sanibel Speedway
12/12/2002 Phil Cianciola Piggly Wiggly 400 Sanibel Speedway
12/19/2003 Dan Margetta Piggly Wiggly 400 Sanibel Speedway
12/16/2004 Phil Cianciola Piggly Wiggly 400 Sanibel Speedway
12/15/2005 Jim Iverson Chipotle Christmas Classic Vista Rio Rancho Raceway
12/14/2006 John Shea Christmas Classic Vista Rio Rancho Raceway
12/13/2007 Ev Kamikawa Christmas Classic Vista Rio Rancho Raceway
12/18/2008 Larry Rotter Christmas Classic Vista Rio Rancho Raceway
12/16/2010 Mark Walczak Christmas Classic Vista Rio Rancho Raceway
12/15/2011 Mark Walczak Christmas Classic Vista Rio Rancho Raceway
12/6/2012 John Wiedemann Christmas Classic Shrine Desert Road Course*
12/19/2013 Mike Lack Christmas Classic Shrine Desert Road Course
12/18/2014 John Wiedemann Christmas Classic Shrine Desert Road Course
12/17/2015 Mike Lack Christmas Classic Shrine Desert Road Course
12/1/2016 John Wiedemann Christmas Classic Shrine Desert Road Course
*-Vista Rio Rancho Raceway renamed to original name
Most Wins – 4-Phil Cianciola; 3- John Wiedemann; 2-Mike Lack, Mark Walczak, Dan Margetta, Jim Kaehny