2018-19 Round 9
Raven 250 - Raven Raceway - Milwaukee, WI
January 3, 2019
Round 9 of 16
Lack Exerts Control
(Milwaukee, WI) -- It was really only a question of when Mike Lack would show why he has won five consecutive championships and how that success was not a reason to let up on his fellow IndySlotCar Series drivers, with his third straight win in his last three appearances, the Husarsbilt Cup championship is once again looking more like it has the past five seasons as Lack ran away with the Raven 250. The defending champion swept every point available as the #1 SealMaster car took pole position and collecting the 59,000 IndySlotCar bucks for winning from the point.
After missing the previous round due to illness Lack came back strong with a near-record qualifying lap that put him an extra point ahead of three close contenders, John Wiedemann who started the night two points back, Mike Kristof three and Ev Kamikawa four back.
Only Kamikawa qualified well and that put him in direct competition with Lack in the opening hear race. But it Dan Margetta who qualified on the front row with Lack who eventually became Lack's closest pursuer and then it was a battle for the "transfer" position as Lack advanced with the win, Margetta's #13 Go Daddy Dallara-Honda held on and Kamikawa and the PenskeHO crew could only hope the damage to their points total would be minimized. Meanwhile, Matt Hayek qualified in the fast group, but handling trouble kept him from being a factor and ended the night 11th.
It was the second heat that brought the drama to the night's proceedings, second in points, John Wiedemann lined up against third place, Mike Kristof, along with home town favorite Pete Dorn and rookie sensation Joe Heitz. Early on Wiedemann, Kristof and Heitz all traded the lead but eventually the two title contenders opened up a gap on the others and just past half way as Wiedemann tried to pass Kristof around the outside of the the hairpin, Kristof's #60 SiriusXM car ran wide banging into the #17 US Air Force car and launching it like a jet fighter off the track and out of the race. JW would have to settle for last and the 12th place points, while Kristof would manage to hold on to the lead while his Dallara-Honda suffered gearbox problems after the crash, taking the heat win, Heitz's #20 Fuzzy's Vodka Dallara-Chevrolet winding up a respectable seventh and Dorn's #5 Arrow Electronics Dallara-Honda back in tenth.
The final heat grouped the slowest qualifiers but Dean Strom emerged from a messy race to take the heat and advance to his fourth final of the season, while sophomore driver Alex Hayek showed up his father again with a run to sixth place in the #66 Alter Ego Racing Dallara-Honda. Tom Spehert and Bill Black bashed around towards the back and finished the night eighth and ninth respectively.
Having raced each other in the opening heat, it was clear that Dan Margetta was probably the only car with a shot at challenging Lack's #1 SealMaster Angry Squirrel Speedsport Dallara-Honda and that was exactly how it worked out, while Strom set a solid pace in third, Kristof struggled with continuing trouble from the crash in the heats. During the second half however, after a pit stop, Kristof's car seemed to improve immensely, numerous reports along the pit lane indicated that there had been some shenanigans going on in the garage area of the Michael Shank-It Racing team. While Lack opened up a 10 lap lead over Margetta, Kristof, inexplicably was closing in on Strom and at the finish timing and scoring showed that, while no one realized Kristof had passed Strom for third, further investigation would prove, that it was right that Strom had taken the podium, as reports of back-up cars were snuck under that #60 SiriusXM body and the stewards would penalize Kristof and move him back to his deserved fourth place. Margetta's second place matched his best finish of the season.
With Lack's third win of the season, he equalled series' founder and the first five-time champion, Phil Cianciola on the all-time wins list with 36. The victory also opened up a gap on his championship chasers, Kristof moving to second from third, but the gap widening to 22, while Kamikawa's fifth place moved him up to third, but 26 points back and Wiedemann relegated to fourth 36 out.
The second half of the season continues in two weeks at the rebuilt Black Track, a year ago Dan Margetta got his revenge on Dean Strom, who had punted him out of the previous year's race. But this track is reportedly a shorter affair and no one had practiced on it yet, so the tentatively titled Black Track 400 could be a wide open affair.
Raven 250 Fast Facts
Race date: Thursday, Jan 3
Track: 2.5 mile Natural Terrain Road Course in Milwaukee, WI
Race distance: 250 laps
IndySlotCar Website: indyslotcar.com
2018 race winner: Bill Black (No. 7 Black-Atom Racing Dallara-Honda)
2018 P1 Award winner: Dan Margetta (No. 5 Pennzoil Dallara-Honda)
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
6:55 – Drivers meeting/Chassis distribution
7:00 – IndySlotCar Series Practice
7:20 – Qualifying for the P1 Award (group qualifying/ fastest single lap)
7:45 – Heat races
8:30 – Raven 250 (250 laps)
· It was defending race winner Bill Black’s first career victory at the 2018 Raven 250.
· Mike Kristof is coming off his second win of the season, the first multi-win season of his career, the fifth overall of his career.
· With Kristof’s win and Mike Lack missing the Shorewest Christmas Classic, the top four in Husarsbilt Cup points are separated by four points with Lack two up on his Angry Squirrel Speedsport teammate John Wiedemann, three ahead of Kristof and four more than Ev Kamikawa.
· Kamikawa is riding a three race streak of finishing second.
Raven 250 PRE-EVENT QUOTES:
Mike Kristof No. 60 Michael Shank-It Racing: Whatever happens the rest of this season, I’m playing with house money!
Pete Dorn No. 88 Black Atom Racing: Pete-downs for everyone who finishes ahead of me! And Margetta no matter what.
RAVEN 250 HISTORY (19 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
1/5/201 7 John Wiedemann Raven 250 – race returns to Raven Raceway
1/4/2018 Bill Black Raven 250
Most Wins – 4-Mark Walczak; 3-Dan Margetta; 2-Phil Cianciola, Larry Rotter, Mike Lack (both at non-Raven Raceway events)
*-Dave Austin bottle/nose incident
**-All races held at Rave Raceway through 2014