Rist Conquers March Madness At Rapids
March 18, 2021
Milwaukee, WI – Steve Rist took the top seed in March Madness at the Rapids Oval and held off all challengers to win his second IndySlotCar race.
Rist topped qualifying to take the number one seed in the bracket. March Madness pits two racers at a time, driver vs driver, and the winner moves forward in the bracket. The bracket seedings are set by qualifying.
In the play in round, action started with father vs son. 10th seed Ev Kamikawa had to face off with his son Hiro, the 11 seed in the bracket. Youth prevailed with Hiro claiming a one lap victory over his dad to move on. The next challenge featured the second and third place drivers in the points with Dean Strom defeating John Wiedemann to move on to the second round. The final game had series veteran Mike Kristof racing rookie Brad Core and Kristof showed the rookie up with a six lap victory.
The quarter final round started with excitement as the lowest seed in the bracket took on the top seed, but Hiro was looking to bust the bracket giving Rist all he had. While Rist struggled, Hiro kept it clean. But in the end, Rist was able to find pace and move on with a tight one lap victory.
The next race almost became a bracket buster as well. Dan Margetta seemed to have the race in the second half and even stopped to help with Kristof’s car after a spin. The delay and some cockiness, like driving with his eyes closed, seemed to distract Margetta and inspire Kristof as he came back but ran out of time with Margetta taking the win by the slimmest of margins.
The third race in the quarter final was a team battle with Black Atom Racings Bill Black and Pete Dorn set to do battle. The drama left early in this one as Black led early and cruised to the win.
The last race in the Quarters had Strom taking on the Rapids top driver, Mike Lack. In his career, Lack had only missed the final in one race at the Rapids track and that was his first race where he finished fifth. It was a tall order for Strom and as he has done so many times, Lack prevailed and moved on to the final four with a two lap victory.
The top four qualifiers had made the final four.
The first semi final had Black taking on number one Rist. Once again, Rist struggled early but was able to put things together and beat Black by three laps to move on to the final.
Deciding who would take on Rist was the Semi Final between three seed Lack and two seed Margetta. Once the trash talking was done, the two took to the track to see who could back up their brashness. It was Lack. Taking an early lead, Lack was able to stretch it our to five laps at the finish and a spot in the final.
The final turned out to be a battle for the ages. Despite his struggle to overcome Hiro in the Quarterfinal and an early struggle in the Semi final, Rist started off the race strong and battled Lack strong. Taking a slight one lap lead at the halfway break. With such a tight race, the little things matter and neither driver was giving an inch. Starting the second half each driver needed to make a pit stop. With Rist in the lead, he hit the pits first and was quickly away with a nine second stop. Lack’s stop didn’t go well, lasting twelve seconds. With the drivers turning under three second laps, that difference in pits was not what Lack needed. As the race time wound down, Lack was running on the edge trying to catch Rist. Lack was able to get back on the same lap with seconds remaining in the race but Rist held on to take the victory .341 seconds ahead.
The win is the second of the season for Rist and the second of his career. He is in fifth place in the 2020-2021 standings, just nine points behind Black.
Lack increased his lead in the points with his second place finish and now is 56 points ahead of Wiedemann with tow races remaining in the season.
Up next is the historic Shrine Cup at the Shrine Desert Road Course, a race that was won by Mike Lack last season.