2019-20 Round 7
Duane Sweeney Memorial Grand Prix - Road Course at Badger Raceway - Muskego, WI
December 5, 2019
Round 7 of 16
Lack Is Back
(Muskego, WI) -- Because of his dominance of the past six seasons, it feels like we are missing defending Husarsbilt Cup champion Mike Lack when he isn't winning. But in fairness Lack had only missed two of the finals in the opening six races of the 2019-20 season and had already scored a win earlier this season when it wasn't clear that Matt Hayek would dominate the early part of the season as he has. So when Lack took the pole at the Duane Sweeney Memorial Grand Prix and easily cruised to his second checkered-flag it seemed like order to the IndySlotCar universe had been restored. But the fact of the matter is, even with the win, Lack remains a substantial 59 points behind Hayek as the season approaches half way.
The #1 SealMaster Angry Squirrel Speedsport car was blindingly fast in practice and qualifying, it looked like second year driver and qualifying ace Joe Heitz might be in line for his fifth career pole in just 16 starts, but in the final rotations Lack not only took the pole, but seemed capable of taking out his own track record. Heitz would line up the #22 Menards Penske third, with home town hero Dean Strom on the front row a tenth of a second behind Lack in his Alter Ego #30, his teammate would start a surprising sixth on the grid.
The open class event featured high speeds and some danger, including finding Joe Heitz crash out early, otherwise, three of the four cars in the final came out of the opening heat race with Lack and his A.S.S. teammate John Wiedemann along with Strom, and then the only survivor of the second heat, Dan Margetta advancing. The only other driver to finish a heat that didn't either advance to the final or crash out was Matt Hayek, this minimized the damage to his Husarsbilt Cup championship points lead with a fifth place, but it was the first final of the season the #15 Alter Ego car didn't take part in. Mike Kristof and Pete Dorn would end their nights' early with crashes, finishing sixth and seventh respectively with Heitz winding up eighth.
Early on in the final it looked like there might be a battle between hometown favorite Strom and Lack, but a crash put Strom's #30 Mi-Jack car in the pits for repairs and sent him to the back of the pack, from there Lack never had a challenger and the interest of the fans turned to the fight for second as Margetta and Wiedemann would trade the position while Strom, in his repaired car ripped of one fast lap after another. Quick mid-race mandatory stops for Lack, Wiedemann and Margetta were quick, but Strom's Alter Ego team needed to replace the front wing, repairs still needed from the early race crash. While the #30 sat on pit lane, Margetta's #88 Hardly Steinbrenner Margetta car crashed out hard just past the pit lane settling the argument over who would finish fourth. Once Strom came out of the pits he would lay down more fast laps and eventually passed Wiedemann to climb into second place and had the hole not been dug so deep early on, it would have been a close finish.
Lack's win was his second of the season and he sweeps the two races at Badger Raceway this season. Next up, the Christmas Classic at Bermuda Raceway, where Mike Kristof is the defending race winner.
Race date: Thursday, Dec 5
Track: Road Course at Badger Raceway 3.25 mile natural terrain road course in Muskego, WI
Race distance: 20 minutes
IndySlotCar Website: indyslotcar.com
2018 race winner: Mike Lack (No. 1 Angry Squirrel Speedsport)
2018 Firestone P1 Award winner: Dean Strom (No. 64 Alter Ego Racing)
One-lap qualifying record: Mike Lack, 3.869 seconds, 2017
Race record: Dan Margetta, 248 laps, 2016
YouTube Broadcast: IndySlotCar Channel
At-track schedule (all times local):
6:15 – Gates open
6:30 – Driver introductions
7:15 – Drivers meeting
7:20 – IndySlotCar Series Practice
7:50 – Technical inspection
7:55 – Qualifying for the Firestone P1 Award (group qualifying/ fastest single lap)
8:20 – Heat races
9:00 – Duane Sweeney Memorial Grand Prix (20 minutes)
· The Sweeney Memorial GP is the first open class event of the season, drivers and teams prepare their own cars.
· Mike Lack won on the Road Course at Badger Raceway earlier this season and is the defending Sweeney champ.
· John Wiedemann scored his 24th win at the Lucky Bob’s Challenge moving into seventh all-time.
· Wiedemann became just the third winner in the first six events.
· Matt Hayek’s sixth straight final four appearance of the season at Lucky Bob’s was the 55th final of his career moving him into twelfth all-time.
· Hometown hero Dean Strom returns to action after missing the Turkey Trot.
Duane Sweeney Memorial Grand Prix PRE-EVENT QUOTES:
John Wiedemann No. 19 Angry Squirrel Speedsport: Dammit! Oh, wait, I won the heat?
Joe Heitz No. 22 PenskeHO Racing: My left hand is dumb.
Dan Margetta No. 88 : I’ll be back, anybody got a car?
DUANE SWEENEY MEMORIAL GRAND PRIX HISTORY (16 events, 2004 - Present)
Date Race Winner Event Name
1/22/2004 Larry Rotter Duane Sweeney Memorial 500 - Edgewood Superspeedway (oval)
12/2/2004 Jim Iverson Duane Sweeney Memorial 500 - Bayside International
12/1/2005 Jim Iverson Duane Sweeney Memorial Grand Prix
11/30/2006 Jim Iverson Duane Sweeney Memorial Grand Prix
11/29/2007 Mark Walczak Duane Sweeney Memorial Grand Prix
12/4/2008 Ev Kamikawa Sweeney Stomp - Road Course at Badger Raceway*
12/3/2009 Mark Walczak Duane Sweeney Memorial Grand Prix
12/2/2010 Mark Walczak Duane Sweeney Memorial Grand Prix
12/1/2011 Mike Lack Duane Sweeney Memorial Grand Prix
11/29/2012 Mark Walczak Duane Sweeney Memorial Grand Prix
12/5/2013 Dean Strom Duane Sweeney Memorial Grand Prix
10/30/2014 Ev Kamikawa Duane Sweeney Memorial Grand Prix
12/3/2015 John Wiedemann Duane Sweeney Memorial Grand Prix
12/15/2016 Dan Margetta Duane Sweeney Memorial Grand Prix
11/30/2017 Dan Margetta Duane Sweeney Memorial Grand Prix
11/29/2018 Mike Lack Duane Sweeney Memorial Grand Prix
* - Track was built as Bayside International and moved to become The Road Course at Badger Raceway before December 2008.
Most Wins – Mark Walczak-4; Jim Iverson-3; Mike Lack, Dan Margetta, Ev Kamikawa-2