2020-21 Round 15

HO Indy 500 - South Shore Superspeedway - Saint Francis, WI

April 17, 2021

Round 15 of 15

2021 HO Indy 500

Wiedemann Goes Back To Back With Fourth HO Indy 500 Victory; Lack Wins Record Seventh Championship

Saint Francis, WI – When the checkers flew after 1000 laps in the 28th running of the HO Indy 500, defending race champion John Wiedemann was the victor for the fourth time in his career racing in the prestigious event. It was a battle that saw Ev Kamikawa lead for eighty percent of the race, then two lead changes later Wiedemann took command and cruised to the finish for his third victory of the season and another chance to drink the milk in victory lane.

Ten drivers competed in Round 15, the final race of the 2020/2021 IndySlotCar season, meaning that qualifying took on greater importance with eight spots available to make the HO Indy 500 field.

Qualifying started slow with three drivers waving off their qualifying attempts until 500 rookie Steve Rist put the first time on the board with an 8.627 second four lap run. Dan Margetta was the next quick driver, just short of Rist’s time by 31/1000 of a second. Mike Lack timed in next a less than two tenths of a second behind Margetta, but with that qualifying run he sealed his record breaking seventh championship in the IndySlotCar Series. After the first round of attempts, five of the ten drivers had set times.

With a second attempt in a fast car, Mike Kristof laid down a run that not only scored him the pole for this race but crushed the previous track record that he posted last season. His run of 7.987 seconds broke the eight second barrier and beat the record by .078 seconds. Teammates Bill Black and Pete Dorn set times with their second runs. Kamikawa and rookie Brad Core posted times with their third runs.

With “bumping time” ready to begin, Wiedemann pulled his car to qualify his backup car but did not improve his position. Kamikawa pulled out his backup car and posted the fifth fastest time. Wiedemann dropped his backup car like a bag of sand and made a deal to acquire Margetta’s backup ride, qualifying it in the seventh spot and putting Dorn on the bubble.

Two drivers were left to try to bump into the field, Dean Strom and Brad Core. Strom would come agonizing close with his backup car and then Rist’s backup with runs .281 seconds and .141 seconds slower than Dorn’s posted time of 9.032 seconds. With only two backup cars available, Dorn’s and Lack’s, the options were limited. Dorn’s price for the backup car was 20,000 IndySlotCar bucks more than Strom wanted to spend and a phone call from Matt Hayek instructed his Super High Intensity Team to under no circumstances let Strom have the backup car. Strom and Core would qualify nineth and tenth, missing the field.

The Consi Race was no consolation for Strom as he took the win but didn’t care. Core finished second while Dorn and Wiedemann used the race as a practice for the upcoming heat races.

The top two finishers in the heat races would go on to contest the HO Indy 500. In the opening heat, rookie Rist (qualified 2nd) took on Margetta (qualified 3rd), Kamikawa (qualified 5th) and Dorn (qualified 8th). Enjoying the inside lane, Rist led the first half although all driver seemed to struggle to find their pace. The second half was a different story with Kamikawa moving to the inside and running away with the victory. Rist was able to maintain and hold off Margetta to make the final one his first try at the HO Indy 500. The flip side to that story was Kamikawa with the win making his record setting 15th HO Indy 500 final.

Heat two had the polesitter Kristoff pitted against Black (qualified 6th) and teammates Lack (qualified 4th) and Wiedemann (qualified 7th). Struggles in the inside lane early cost Kristof and allowed Lack to take the lead by two laps into the second half. Black and Wiedemann followed nine and twelve laps behind the leader. Once again, the story changed in the second half with Lack struggling with handling and Wiedemann taking advantage of a change from the outside to the inside lane. Kristof took over the point position and Wiedemann came back to finish second, five laps ahead of Lack in third.

Kamikawa loves to say “I led at the line” at the start of the race but he did more that that today, he led the first 810 of 1000 laps of the HO Indy 500. Starting in the inside lane, Kamikawa used it perfectly to grab the lead from the start. While Wiedemann ran second and tried to keep pace with the leader, Rist and Kristof again struggled early in the race running the outside lanes. With the first round of pitstops near lap 200, the top two drivers decided to pit together. While Wiedemann had a bit of a struggle taking on fuel, Kamikawa was clean and put even more distance between himself and the field. When the first lane change came at lap 250, Kamikawa had the lead over Wiedemann by nine laps, Kristof by 24 laps and Rist by 26 laps.

Each driver moved one lane outside with Kristof dropping to the inside groove for the next 250 laps. Kamikawa continued his torrid pace and stretching out his lead even with excessive spillage during his fuel stop resulting in marshals calling him in for a 5-second stop-and-go penalty. An accident between Rist and Wiedemann during their fuel stops put them back further. At the end of 500 laps and the first half of racing Kamikawa maintained the lead by 27 laps over Wiedemann with Kristof closing in to five laps behind second and Rist another 18 laps behind third.

A tire change in the pits prior to the start of the second half was won handily by Wiedemann who was able to gain about three laps before the rest of the field left the pits. With Kamikawa moving another lane to the outside, his dominance in the race started to fade. Kristof took command of the inside lane and charged forward. Pits opened again as each driver hit lap 600 and Kamikawa was the first one in. Disaster struck in the pit stop as wing changes forced him to remain in the pits for 30 seconds. The rest of the field had quick stops about 20 seconds less than Kamikawa and the race tightened up. With 750 laps completed, Kamikawa maintained the lead but just by five over now second place driver Kristof, 13 laps behind the leader was Wiedemann and Rist was just another seven more laps back.

The last segment was set with Kamikawa in the outside lane, Rist and Kristof in the middle, Wiedemann in the inside lane, 250 laps left to run and one more pitstop. All drivers hit the pits for the final fuel load as they reached lap 800. All drivers enjoyed the fuel stop and Wiedemann asked his crew if he could stop again. After the fuel stop Kristof wasted no time and in ten laps took over the lead as Kamikawa was slowed on the outside. Then things started to fall apart. With Rist struggling mightily with handling, the bug seemed to bite Kristof as well. Wiedemann was flying in the inside lane and moved quickly into second and forward to challenge Kristof. A couple spins by Kristof allowed Wiedemann charge to the lead and pull away to victory by 14 laps over Kristof when the race concluded. Kamikawa maintained to hold on to third with Rist finishing fourth.

The win gave Wiedemann two in a row and four victories in the last eight HO Indy 500 events. His four wins tie him with Kamikawa for the most all time. The victory also allowed Wiedemann to retain the Foyt/Mears Award for Oval tracks.

Lack continued his spectacular career winning his seventh IndySlotCar Series championship. He also captured the Andretti/Mansell Award fir Road Courses with his victory in The Shrine Cup two weeks ago. Lack finished 37 points ahead of Wiedemann. Strom was third with Black and Rist completing the top five in the standings.

The 2021 HO Indy 500 concludes a season that saw fourteen different competitors, eight drivers capture wins, five drivers get to victory lane more than one time, ten divers make multiple final appearances and a total of 30,528 laps turned by the racers.

HO Indy 500 Preview

Saint Francis, WI -- Who the recipient is of one of the trophies in the photo above is already decided, when Mike Lack makes an attempt to qualify for the HO Indy 500, he will have clinched his record extending seventh Husarsbilt Cup championship, equaling AJ Foyt for the most North American open wheel titles. As long as Lack's #9 PNC Super High Intensity Team Dallara-Honda attempts to make the field, he will score points and put the title out of reach of his teammate and defending champion and defending race winner John Wiedemann. With double points on offer for the season finale, the standings from second to fifth could completely shuffle between Wiedemann at 475 points in second, Dean Strom 17 behind him, Bill Black another 17 behind Strom and Strom's Squirrel Shagged Enterprises teammate Steve Rist with a 23 point deficit to Black. Further down the list, two points separate Pete Dorn in sixth over Mike Kristof in seventh and Dan Margetta holds a one point advantage over Ev Kamikawa for eighth. It's a 60 point difference between first and tenth, so staying at the sharp end of the field will pay big dividends.

As for the milk, in addition to S.H.I.T., the other teams that will try to drink the prize for winning the HO Indy 500 include PenskeHO Racing's four-time winner Ev Kamikawa looking to break the tie with AJ Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears to become the first five time winner, Black-Atom Racing's three car attack of Bill Black, Pete Dorn and rookie Bruce Core, each of Squirrel Shagged Enterprises' drivers Dean Strom and Steve Rist would like to join Mike Lack in the three race wins club this season, as would Dan Margetta in his last run for Margetta Hardly-Steinbrenner Racing, while Mike Kristof of Michael Shank-It Racing would like to redeem a mostly forgettable season with a closing victory, a race he won in 2015. In all there are 11 HO Indy 500 wins represented by five different drivers.

Finally, there is the Oval Track championship up for grabs, with the aforementioned double points, the top nine drivers in that competition are mathematically capable of taking the title with a "500" victory.

HO Indy 500 fast facts

Race date: Saturday, Apr 17

Track: South Shore Superspeedway, 2.5 mile oval

Race distance: 1000 laps

Entry List: HO Indy 500

Twitter: @indyslotcar

IndySlotCar Website: indyslotcar.com

2020 race winner: John Wiedemann (No. 19 Angry Squirrel Speedsport)

2020 P1 Award winner: Mike Kristof (No. 60 Michael Shank-It Racing), 8.065 seconds

Qualifying record: Mike Kristof, 8.065 seconds, 2020, Single Lap: Mike Kristof, 1.950 seconds, 2020

Race record: Mike Fitzlaff, 40 minutes, 26 seconds, 2018

YouTube Broadcast: IndySlotCar Channel

At-track schedule (all times local):

4:00 – Gates open

4:30 – Chassis distribution/Drivers meeting

4:35 – IndySlotCar Series Practice

5:00 – Qualifying for the Firestone P1 Award (single car, four lap total time qualifying in blue lane)

6:00 – Heat Races

6:45 – 28th running of the HO Indy 500

Race Notes:

· If Mike Lack can find his way to South Shore Superspeedway Saturday, he will join AJ Foyt as a seven time champion. He also clinched the Road Course title for the Andretti/Mansell Award with his win at the Shrine Cup.

· Lack’s win at the Shrine pulled him into a tie with Dan Margetta for all-time series victories with 47. John Wiedemann’s heat win at the Shrine moves him into 7th on the all time list with 67.

· With double points on offer for the HO Indy 500 the battle for second through fifth place in the Husarsbilt Cup championship series, John Wiedemann is 17 points ahead of Dean Strom, who is 17 ahead of Bill Black, who is 23 up on Steve Rist.

· The Oval Track championship for the Foyt/Mears Award is also wide open with Lack leading Margetta by 6 points, Rist is 17 points back and Ev Kamikawa 28 down.

· A reminder that qualifying points are paid from first through ninth, starting with nine for first, eight for second, etc. As always only the top eight qualifiers advance to the heat races.

HO INDY 500 HISTORY (27 events, 1994 - Present)

Date Race Winner Track

5/19/1994 Phil Cianciola Shrine Road Course

5/18/1995 John Shea Edgewood “The Edge” Superspeedway

5/18/1996 Dave Austin

4/26/1997 Ev Kamikawa

4/18/1998 Jim Kaehny

4/17/1999 Phil Marich

4/15/2000 Phil Cianciola

4/21/2001 Jim Kaehny

4/12/2002 Ev Kamikawa

4/13/2003 Larry Rotter

4/17/2004 Chris Spehert

4/9/2005 Dan Margetta

4/18/2006 Ev Kamikawa South Shore Superspeedway

4/14/2007 Jim Iverson

4/12/2008 Mark Walczak

4/18/2009 Chris Spehert

4/10/2010 Matt Hayek

4/9/2011 Matt Hayek

4/14/2012 Ev Kamikawa

4/13/2013 Mike Fitzlaff

4/5/2014 John Wiedemann

4/11/2015 Mike Kristof

4/9/2016 John Wiedemann

4/8/2017 Mike Lack

4/7/2018 Mike Fitzlaff

4/13/2019 Mike Lack

6/12/2020 John Wiedemann

Most Wins – 4-Ev Kamikawa; 3- John Wiedemann; 2-Mike Lack, Mike Fitzlaff, Matt Hayek, Chris Spehert, Jim Kaehny, Phil Cianciola