2020-21 Round 9
Rapids Grand Prix - Streets of Rapids - Milwaukee, WI
January 7, 2021
Round 7 of 15
Lack Captures Elusive Win At Rapids
Milwaukee, WI – It has been a strange season for Mike Lack. The six-time IndySlotCar Series Champion went through the entire first half of the season without a win. He scored three poles and made it to five finals in the eight races, but no Heat or Final victories.
That all changed at the Rapids Grand Prix as Lack scored maximum points with the pole, heat win and victory in the final. If any track was going to be the turn around for Lack, the Streets of Rapids is the track. Coming into the event Lack had a career average start of third and average finish of second.
Lack captured the pole with a lap just six hundredths of a second over his Super High Intensity Team teammate John Wiedemann and track owner Ev Kamikawa who both ran equal fast times. The pole win was the 42nd of Lack’s career moving him into third all-time behind Phil Cianciola (48) and Dan Margetta (50).
Again, heats were set up by the qualifying results quickest to slowest so the top three qualifiers took to the track for the opening heat race. Wiedemann led the first half by two laps over Kamikawa and three over Lack. But the second half of the race saw Lack come back and take over the lead late. Wiedemann tried to maintain pace but settled for second place about a half lap behind.
The second heat race continued the theme of close racing with Mike Kristof leading at halfway by a lap over Margetta and two over Steve Rist. While Rist struggled with handling in the second half, the battle was on between Margetta and Kristof. Margetta took over the point but Kristof charged back on the edge of control and the caught back up to the lead. But, running on the edge caught up to Kristof and off track excursions forced him to play catch up many times. At the end, the win went to Margetta by a margin of 32 inches.
More of the same racing continued in the final heat race with Dean Strom and Bill Black on the same lap at halfway with Pete Dorn five behind. Immediately in the second half, Black’s chances went away as he could not get his car around the track at speed. Thinking he could coast to the finish, Strom backed off the pace a bit. Dorn didn’t back off at all, and quickly changed Strom’s plans. Dorn caught Strom and pushed him to the finish but Strom held on for the victory by just ten inches when time ran out.
The final was nothing like the excitement of the heat races with a determined Lack quickly taking the lead and never looking back. Lack led by nine laps over Margetta in the first half. All drivers had quick pitstops and the second half was more of the same with Margetta only able to get two laps back from the leader. Back in the pack, Strom and Wiedemann battled for third with Strom keeping the position edging Wiedemann by a lap.
The win was the 45th of Lack’s career, leaving him two wins behind All-time Series leader Margetta. It also vaulted Lack into the points lead over Strom who had held the top spot in the standings since the second race of the season. Lack now leads by just four points over Strom (331) with Wiedemann (311) back another 20 points in third. Black (288) maintains the fourth position by 28 points over Rist. Next on the schedule for the IndySlotCar Series is race number ten of the season, the Raven 250 on January 21st at the Raven Raceway. Wiedemann is the defending champion of the race.
Rapids Grand Prix Fast Facts
Race date: Thursday, Jan 7
Track: Rapids International, 2.3 mile street course in Rapids
Race distance: 20 minutes
IndySlotCar Website: indyslotcar.com
2020 race winner: Mike Lack (No. 1 Angry Squirrel Speedsport)
2020 Firestone P1 Award winner: Mike Lack (No. 1 Angry Squirrel Speedsport)
One-lap qualifying record: Mike Lack, 5.398 seconds, 2020
Race record: Mike Lack, 188 laps, 2020
YouTube Broadcast: IndySlotCar Channel
At-track schedule (all times local):
6:00 – Gates open
6:30 – Driver introductions
7:00 – Drivers’ meeting/chassis distribution
7:05 – IndySlotCar Series Practice
7:25 – Qualifying for the Firestone P1 Award (group qualifying/ fastest single lap)
7:50 – Heat races
8:45 – Rapids Grand Prix (20 minutes)
● Having not won even a heat race so far this season, Mike Lack has to be looking forward to the Rapids Grand Prix, especially as it has moved up in the schedule this season, Lack has dominated this event the last two seasons winning from the pole and last season setting records for qualifying lap time and laps turned in the race.
● Lack’s win last season at the Rapids GP tied the record for the most wins at this event.
● After eight events in the first half of the season, six different drivers have won a race, five different drivers have pole positions.
● STAT NOTES: Bill Black’s win at the Christmas Classic is the second of his career, moving into a tie with Arnie Lueders and Pat Jarvis, 22nd on the all-time wins list and his pole position was the first of his career, making him the 28th driver in series history to win a pole award. Black also moves into a tie for 18th in Heat Wins all-time, equaling the 15 that Amy Butler and Chad Sorce have. Steve Rist moved to 27th in Heat wins with his third. Bill Black’s big night also moved him into a tie for 19th with Tony Perkins on the Finals appearances list with 19, Rist moved to a tie for 28th with four, joining Andy Spehert and Rick Osterbrink. Rist also moved to 30th on laps turned. Finally, Mike Fitzlaff’s first appearance of the season at the Christmas Classic was his 203rd tying Larry Rotter’s total, fifth on the all-time list.
RAPIDS GRAND PRIX HISTORY (21 events: 1995 - 2001, 2007 - Present)
Date Race Winner Event Name Track
4/13/1995 Dave Austin Rapids Grand Prix Rapids Raceway
4/11/1996 Dave Austin Rapids Grand Prix
12/3/1998 Dan Margetta Rapids Grand Prix Rapids Raceway Version 2
12/2/1999 Ev Kamikawa Rapids Grand Prix
12/7/2000 John Shea Rapids Grand Prix Rapids Raceway Version 3
11/29/2001 Phil Cianciola Rapids Grand Prix Rapids Raceway Version 4
2/1/2007 Ev Kamikawa WiJobs.com Grand Prix Rapids Raceway Version 5
1/31/2008 Mark Walczak Rapids Grand Prix Rapids International Version 6
2/5/2009 Mark Walczak Lia Sophia Grand Prix
9/17/2009 Mike Lack Lia Sophia Grand Prix
9/30/2010 Mark Walczak Lia Sophia Grand Prix
3/15/2012 Mark Walczak Too Clean Laundry Grand Prix Rapids International Version 7
9/20/2012 Mark Walczak Lia Sophia Grand Prix
1/17/2013 John Wiedemann Too Clean Laundry Grand Prix
1/16/2014 John Wiedemann Too Clean Laundry Grand Prix
1/22/2015 Mike Lack Too Clean Laundry Grand Prix Rapids International Version 8
1/21/2016 Mike Lack Too Clean Laundry Grand Prix
9/22/2016 Matt Hayek Too Clean Laundry Grand Prix
2/1/2018 Ev Kamikawa Too Clean Laundry Grand Prix
2/21/2019 Mike Lack Maytag Rapids Grand Prix
2/20/2020 Mike Lack Rapids Grand Prix
Most Wins: Mike Lack, Mark Walczak-5; Ev Kamikawa-3; John Wiedemann, Dave Austin-2