2018-19 Round 8
Shorewest Christmas Classic - Bermuda Raceway - Wauwatosa, WI
December 13, 2018
Round 8 of 16
Another Repeat Winner
(Wauwatosa, WI) -- The Shorewest Christmas Classic was setting up to be the opportunity for five-time defending Husarsbilt Cup champion Mike Lack to open up another of his commanding points leads that has allowed him to dominate the series, however, an illness going around his household kept him from making it to Bermuda Raceway, allowing several drivers trying to keep pace a major opportunity. Lack coming off two straight victories, seemed like the natural favorite, while his Angry Squirrel Speedsport teammate John Wiedemann was again his closest pursuer is always a threat and Ev Kamikawa has finished second to Lack the previous two races is due for another win this season. The fact that a different Mike, Mike Kristof, would step up and take another win in the 2018-19 season was a surprise for the night and for the championship standings.
It was a night full of surprises starting with qualifying, where Joe Heitz, a driver making his debut appearance in the IndySlotCar Series, jumped in the Fuzzy's Vodka #20 Dallara-Chevrolet and put it on pole position while setting a new qualifying lap record, the first rookie driver in series history to score the pole in his debut start. It was a fast field as the top five qualified equal to or better than the previous track record.
Heitz was immediately tested in the heat races as the field was grouped by qualifying, the rookie having to face the next two fastest on the grid, Ev Kamikawa and Dean Strom. Early on the rookie stayed with the veteran Kamikawa, while Strom had major handling issues in the tight inside green lane and at one point pulled the car into the pits, jumped out of the car and said he was giving himself a "time out". Heitz's #20 Fuzzy's Vodka car didn't quite have the set-up needed to hold the tricky turns of Bermuda Raceway, finishing a solid sixth in his debut, Kamikawa's #12 Verizon PenskeHO Dallara-Cheverolet took the heat win, while Strom would recover to place the #64 Alter Ego Racing Manitowoc Dallara-Honda eighth for the night.
The first real battle of the night came in the second heat as home town hero Mike Kristof and the only member of Angry Squirrel Speedsport in the field, John Wiedemann quickly separated themselves from Matt Hayek and Mike Fitzlaff. Kristof and "JW" ran side by side for many laps through the middle of the heat, but a couple of late spins for Wiedemann allowed Kristof to open a large enough gap to hold on to his first heat win of the season and advance to his third final. Hayek would continue his season of seventh place finishes, it was the #15 Alter Ego Racing United Rentals Dallara-Honda's fifth seventh place of the season, while Fitzlaff would have to settle for ninth.
Another first for the night was Dan Margetta arriving at the track immediately from the airport having just gotten off a plane from Las Vegas and having to miss practice and qualifying and being placed at the back of the field and the third heat. But it was Tom Spehert and Bill Black who jumped out ahead of Margetta and Black's Black/Atom Racing teammate Pete Dorn. Black's #6 Lucas Oil Dallara-Honda opened up a sizable lead through halfway, but just beyond the midpoint of the race, Dorn's car missed turn five, just before the boulevard and crashed hard putting the #5 Arrow Electronics Dallara-Honda on the hook and becoming a trivia question: who was the first driver to DNF at Bermuda Raceway. Dorn would finish a disappointing eleventh. Black seemed distracted by his teammates misfortune and lost the handling on the car allowing Spehert to move ahead and hold on for his third appearance in a final this season. Black would wind up fifth on the night and Margetta could only muster tenth.
With Black's lap total nowhere near John Wiedemann's second place tally, he would join the heat winners of Kamikawa, Kristof and Spehert. Kristof jumped out to an early lead in the 20 minute Shorewest Christmas Classic final. Early trouble came from Tom Spehert's #27 DHL Spehert Autosport Dallara-Honda as it crashed through the palm trees in turn one and ended his night in fourth place. Kristof's lead was never large and again spent many laps side-by-side with Wiedemann as they had in the heat. Pit stops made no difference, as all three teams gave their drivers quick service, but the set of tires on Wiedemann's #17 USAF Dallara-Honda didn't seem to work as well and as the handling went away, so did his hopes for a win. Kamikawa, however, found improvement from his stop and began reeling in Kristof, eventually catching him and the two would trade the lead for several laps, a late spin by Kamikawa allowed Kristof to open a gap but again Kamikawa began closing in and all Kristof could do was hope the clock would run out before the PenskeHO Verizon car caught him, which is exactly what happened, as there was just one turn separating the two and Kristof had his second win of the season, while Kamikawa had his third straight runner-up and fourth of the season. Wiedemann in a very sportsman move, would stay out of trouble to allow the front to battle and finish third.
More firsts: Mike Kristof has a multiple wins in a season for the first time in his 18 year career, his first win on one of his home tracks and the first multi-win season for a commissioner since Phil Cianciola's final season in 2004-05.
With half the season complete, the last four races have been won by a Mike, an unlikely stat considering two of those are Mike Kristof, sandwiched around two for Mike Lack. Eight races into the season the Husarsbilt Cup championship is almost even, Mike Lack has 264 points, while John Wiedemann is just two behind, Kristof is a shocking three back and Ev Kamikawa sits just four out with eight more races to go, this is anyone's championship.
After a break for the holidays, the IndySlotCar Series returns to action at one of the trickiest tracks on the schedule, Larry Rotter's beloved Raven Raceway for the Raven 250.
Race date: Thursday, Dec 13
Track: Bermuda Raceway, 1.8 mile Natural Terrain Road Course in Wauwatosa, WI
Race distance: 20 minutes
IndySlotCar Website: indyslotcar.com
2017 race winner: Matt Hayek (No. 15 Dad’s Root Beer)
2017 P1 Award winner: Matt Hayek (No. 15 Dad’s Root Beer)
One-lap qualifying record: Matt Hayek, 2.558 seconds, 2017
Race record: Matt Hayek, 401 laps, 2017
YouTube Broadcast: IndySlotCar Channel
At-track schedule (all times local):
6:30 – Driver introductions
6:55 – Drivers Meeting/Chassis Distribution
7:00 – IndySlotCar Series Practice
7:25 – Qualifying for the Chick-fil-A Brookfield P1 Award (group qualifying/ fastest single lap)
7:55 – Heat races
8:45 – Christmas Classic (20 minutes)
· After lengthy negotiations, Bermuda Raceway management is proud to announce Shorewest Realtors as the title sponsor of the Christmas Classic…if you’re looking to buy or sell a home call Jaime Kristof…
· Mike Lack is coming off back-to-back wins, ending a streak of six different drivers winning the first six races.
· Following two straight podiums, Ev Kamikawa moves into third place in the Husarsbilt Cup championship points, eight behind John Wiedemann and JW is 37 behind his Angry Squirrel Speedsport teammate Mike Lack.
· Matt Hayek is the defending race winner at Bermuda and has yet to win this season but is following up his first final at the Duane Sweeney Memorial.
· Joe “Carnage” Heitz is scheduled to make his IndySlotCar debut at the Shorewest Christmas Classic and there maybe a surprise driver in the field as well, stay tuned…
Shorewest Christmas Classic PRE-EVENT QUOTES:
Dan Margetta No. 13 Team FYA: I’ll get there as soon as I can, I am literally getting off the plane from Vegas right before the race.
Matt Hayek No. 15 Alter Ego Racing: No more seventh places!
Pete Dorn No. 5 Black-Atom Racing: Anybody need some Hot Wheels?
CHRISTMAS CLASSIC HISTORY (23 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
12/14/2017 Matt Hayek Christmas Classic Bermuda Raceway
*-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