2019-20 Round 5
Turkey Trot - Infield Road Course at South Shore Superspeedway - Saint Francis, WI
November 7, 2019
Round 5 of 16
(Saint Francis, WI) -- When he opened the season with a win at the Trokan Cup 500 the fans and paddock thought it was great to see a driver who had finished seventh seven times the previous season (and even won a trophy for it, the Seagram's 7 & 7up Trophy) show such resilience. When Matt Hayek won his second race at the West Bend Grand Prix everyone was thrilled that someone other than an Angry Squirrel won the race. By the time he won his third race of the season at his home track, Quarry Heights Raceway and the Halloween Havoc, the mood in the paddock had changed to who is this guy and why is he taking all of the trophies? And when he took home the turkey from the Turkey Trot it became obvious that Hayek is doing something special and can anyone stop him?
We had to go deep into the IndySlotCar record book to find a start as hot as the one Matt Hayek has delivered this season, with four wins in the first five races, which includes three pole positions and has made the final in all five starts. You might have thought that six time and defending Husarsbilt Cup champion Mike Lack would have one of the hottest starts, indeed he does, having won four of the first six in 2017-18 and three of the first four in 2013-14, Mark Walczak had five championships and started the 2008-09 season with four of the first six, founder and five time champion Phil Cianciola won three of the opening five races in his "Drive for Five" season of 2004-05. Larry Rotter (2003-04) and Jim Kaehny (2002-03) both opened seasons taking three of five, but it was a guy who has yet to win a championship who turns out to have the only other start to a season to match Hayek's and that is Dan Margetta in 2001-02 when he opened with four wins in the first five events, Margetta would ultimately finish one point behind Larry Rotter for the Husarsbilt Cup that year.
It wasn't obvious that Hayek would take his fourth win at the beginning of the night as his string of three pole positions came to an end and wound up fourth on the grid. Home town favorite Dan Margetta collected his series-record tying 48th pole of his career and set a new track record of 2.902 seconds. As it would happen, the heats were filled from fastest to slowest, pitting Margetta, second fast qualifier and defending Turkey winner Mike Lack and Mike Kristof. What should have been a display of speed and race craft by experienced and winning drivers turned into a mess as first pole sitter Margetta and then defending champ Lack "de-slotted" out of the event before halfway finishing tenth and eleventh on the night respectively and allowing Kristof to advance to a second straight final four.
The second heat featured the middle of the field and that included Hayek and his Alter Ego Racing teammate Dean Strom, Bill Black, returning for the first time this season and the other Angry Squirrel Speedsport driver, John Wiedemann. Unlike the first heat this one featured competition and would go the distance as Hayek held off Black for the win, but Black would advance to final as the second place car with the most laps. Strom and Wiedemann would exit early on de-slots, Wiedeman seventh and Strom ninth.
The final heat saw the return of Ev Kamikawa for the first time all season along with Tom Spehert, Pete Dorn and Joe Heitz. Spehert would start out with the lead while both Dorn and Heitz racked up early de-slots, Kamikawa would battle back to the lead and would stay there, while Heitz attempted to make a comeback but ended his night early with his third deslot while running second, Spehert and Dorn would finish the race, the only two to do so that didn't make the final and finish fifth and sixth.
Kamikawa entered the final with six previous wins at the Turkey Trot, the most wins by any driver at any event, joined by Bill Black. meaning half of the finalists were making their season debut. Hayek and Kristof dueled two weeks earlier at the Halloween Havoc and as we know, Hayek got the better of that one, Kristof would jump out to an early lead in this final, but the handling did not match his speed and he would exit early with his final de-slot in fourth, just past half way Bill Black brought his Black-Atom Racing #7 into the pits, but the car was smoking and the engine had to be shut down, finishing the night third. Kamikawa meanwhile, inherited second place, but had two de-slots in short succession and the race ended there, as the last driver standing Hayek won his third race in a row and his fourth in 19-20 extending his Husarsbilt Cup points lead to a gaudy 77 over Mike Lack. In fact, the most points possible at each race is 52, 50 for a win, one for a pole position and one for a heat win, which means through five races 260 points would be the maximum available, Matt Hayek has 244, just 16 short of perfect.
Next up, the Lucky Bob's Challenge, an event only held a handful of times in the series' history, so it's a wild card as to who might have an advantage, but it would seem like the #15 Alter Ego Racing Honda will have something to say about it.
Turkey Trot Fast Facts
Race date: Thursday, Nov 7
Track: South Shore Superspeedway Infield Road Course, 2.4 mile Temporary Road Course in St. Francis, WI
Race distance: 20 minutes
IndySlotCar Website: indyslotcar.com
2018 race winner: Mike Lack, (No. 1 Angry Squirrel Speedsport Dallara-Honda)
2018 Firestone P1 Award winner: John Wiedemann (No. 17 Angry Squirrel Speedsport Dallara-Honda)
One-lap qualifying record: Mark Walczak, 2.852 seconds, 2008
Race record: Ev Kamikawa, 323 laps, 2015
YouTube Broadcast: IndySlotCar Channel
At-track schedule (all times local):
6:30 – Driver introductions
7:00 – Drivers’ meeting/Chassis distribution
7:05 – IndySlotCar Series Practice
7:30 – Qualifying for the Firestone P1 Award (group qualifying/ fastest single lap)
8:00 – Heat races
8:45 – Turkey Trot (20 minutes)
· Matt Hayek has won the last two races and three of the first four events as well as the last three poles in a row.
· Mike Lack has won the last two Turkey Trots and John Wiedemann has won the last two P1 Awards.
· Matt Hayek’s win at the Halloween Havoc is his 14th and moves him into 12th on the all-times victories list, moving ahead of Mike Fitzlaff and his pole gives him 16, coincidentally pulling even with “Fitz” for a tie at ninth.
· Also on the all-time stats list coincidences: Tom Spehert’s Heat Win and Final Four appearance is his 36th and 47th respectively and moves him into a tie with John Shea at 12th in Heat Wins and ahead of John Shea for sole 14th in Finals.
Turkey Trot PRE-EVENT QUOTES:
Matt Hayek, No. 15 Alter Ego Racing: I don’t know what I’m doing better that I wasn’t doing last year?
Bill Black, No. 7 Black-Atom Racing: I WILL be there! I think
Pete Dorn, No. 5 Black-Atom Racing: What is Dan making for dinner
TURKEY TROT HISTORY (26 events, 1993 - Present)
Date Race Winner Event Title Track
11/18/93 Phil Cianciola Texaco Turkey Trot Shrine Road Course
11/17/94 Dave Austin Hobby Town Turkey Trot Inside Edge
11/30/95 John Shea Hobby Town Turkey Trot Inside Edge
11/14/96 Ev Kamikawa Hobby Town Turkey Trot Inside Edge
11/20/97 Ev Kamikawa Hobby Town Turkey Trot Inside Edge
11/12/98 Jim Kaehny Hobby Town Turkey Trot Inside Edge
11/18/99 Ev Kamikawa Hobby Town Turkey Trot Inside Edge
11/16/00 Ev Kamikawa Turkey Trot presented by Model Empire Inside Edge
11/15/01 Larry Rotter Turkey Trot presented by Model Empire Inside Edge
11/14/02 Jim Iverson Model Empire Turkey Trot Inside Edge
11/20/03 Jim Iverson Model Empire Turkey Trot Inside Edge
11/18/04 Phil Cianciola Model Empire Turkey Trot Inside Edge
11/10/05 Mark Walczak Model Empire Turkey Troy South Shore Superspeedway Infield Road Course
11/9/06 Jim Iverson Model Empire Turkey Troy South Shore Superspeedway Infield Road Course
11/8/07 Mike Fitzlaff Model Empire Turkey Troy South Shore Superspeedway Infield Road Course
11/20/08 Mark Walczak Turkey Trot South Shore Superspeedway Infield Road Course
11/12/09 Mark Walczak Turkey Trot South Shore Superspeedway Infield Road Course
11/11/10 Mark Walczak Turkey Trot South Shore Superspeedway Infield Road Course
11/10/11 Mark Walczak Turkey Trot South Shore Superspeedway Infield Road Course
11/8/12 Dan Margetta Turkey Trot South Shore Superspeedway Infield Road Course
11/6/13 Mike Fitzlaff Turkey Trot South Shore Superspeedway Infield Road Course
11/20/14 Ev Kamikawa Turkey Trot South Shore Superspeedway Infield Road Course
11/12/15 Ev Kamikawa Turkey Trot South Shore Superspeedway Infield Road Course
11/12/16 Dan Margetta Turkey Trot South Shore Superspeedway Infield Road Course
11/9/17 Mike Lack Turkey Trot South Shore Superspeedway Infield Road Course
11/8/18 Mike Lack Turkey Trot presented by Firehouse Subs “ “ “ “ “
Most Wins: 6 – Ev Kamikawa; 5 – Mark Walczak; 3 – Jim Iverson; 2 – Mike Lack, Mike Fitzlaff, Phil Cianciola