2022-23 Round 14
Deckertring Grand Prix - Deckertring - Theresa, WI
March 2, 2023
Round 14 of 17
Record Winning Streak Matched!
Theresa, WI – A furious charge up the standings has culminated with Joe Heitz taking the Husarsbilt Cup points lead after scoring his record-tying fourth win in a row with a fantastic run in the Deckertring Grand Prix. It was Heitz’s first-ever trip to the historic Deckertring road course and he went home with the trophy. With four wins in a row, Heitz ties a record most recently matched by Mike Lack in the 2015-16 season.
Early in qualifying, it looked like the pole was going to go to Heitz. Running in the second group Heitz’s fast lap outpaced hometown driver John Shea and Heitz’s Michael Shank-It Racing teammate Mike Kristof who were quickest in session one. The third group provided all the excitement and drama as all three drivers, Matt Hayek, Steve Rist and Brad Core were flying. By their second lane run, all three were eclipsing Heitz and battling for the pole between themselves. During the session, each of them had the pole for a moment and Rist had it in his grasp until the last second when Core’s final lap captured the pole. Core’s time of 5.033 seconds beat out Rist (5.074) by just over four-hundredths of a second and Hayek (5.079) by just a bit more. Core’s pole was the third of his career and first on a road course.
Heats were setup by random order but basically grouped the drivers by qualifying results.
The first heat pitted championship contender Bill Black who has raced three times at the Deckertring against series super veterans Dan Margetta and Ev Kamikawa with eight and twelve starts respectively. Black’s inexperience showed as he struggled to keep pace and keep in the slot. Margetta took the lead early and never looked back, leading by three laps over Team PenskeHO’s Kamikawa at the halfway break. Margetta's Cheap Ganassi Racing's Dabioler-Honda kept the pace going in the second half and gained another three laps by the time the checkers flew putting the #48 into the final for the fourth time this season.
The second heat had hometown hero Shea taking on Kristof and Angry Squirrel Speedsport's John Wiedemann. Shea did not disappoint the fans jumping to the lead at a pace that Wiedemann and Kristof could not keep up with. The order never changed with Team PenskeHO’s Shea taking the win four laps ahead of Wiedemann, with Kristof a few more laps behind. Wiedemann set the transfer laps at 98 with the hope to make the final.
The excitement once again ramped up as Core, Hayek and Rist took to the final heat race with Heitz joining the fun. Core led early, and even with a few spins, his fast CBD Racing Daboiler-Chevy paced the field. Hayek was an early challenger with Heitz trying to figure out the green lane in third and Rist struggling in the early going. As the first half was wrapping up, the offs for Core added up and Hayek took control of the race, two laps ahead of Core and Heitz. The second half wasn’t kind to Hayek, but it was to Heitz who found his groove and took over the lead. Falling back a bit, the battle for second place and a shot at the transfer spot brewed up between Hayek and Core. With time running out a late spin by Angry Squirrel Hayek in the carousel along with some craziness in marshal's trying to get him going again sealed the deal for his teammate Wiedemann as both Hayek and Core would finish with 96 laps, two short of the transfer. Amongst the frivolity, Heitz cruised to the victory three laps ahead.
Pretty quickly in the final, it was obvious that the win was going to go to either Shea or Heitz. After exchanging the lead early, Heitz was able to get ahead by a lap and take control of the race pace. Two laps back in third, Wiedemann wasn’t able to make a move and looked forward to the second half to see if he could challenge the frontrunners. Margetta hung back in forth at the halfway break.
Relatively uneventful pitstops kept the order the same as the drivers got into the meat of the second half. Shea struggled a bit to keep pace with Heitz who backed off the throttle a bit to make sure he wouldn’t make a mistake to allow Shea back in it. Wiedemann was unable to make up any ground on second place, pushing his ride to and beyond while Margetta decided not to mess around with the battling drivers. Heitz motored to victory a lap ahead of Shea, scoring the eighth of his career.
With his fifth victory in the last six races, Heitz jumps to the lead in the standings by fifteen points over Wiedemann. Wiedemann, who had the point lead since round six, is now holding down second place over Black by 49 points. Lack was unable to make the race but still maintains the fourth spot, 71 points behind Black and 19 markers ahead of teammate Hayek.
Up next, after a short break, is the March Madness race on March 23rd. This season the event will take place at Raven Raceway. Heitz is the defending event winner and Core is the defending polesitter, something they both accomplished tonight, from the race run at the Black Track last season. Heitz was also the winner, his first of the season, at the Rupena’s Raven 250 earlier this season and Kamikawa was the polesitter.
Deckertring Grand Prix Fast Facts
Race date: Thursday, Mar 2
Track: Deckertring, 4 mile natural terrain road course, Theresa, WI
Race distance: 20 minutes
IndySlotCar Website: indyslotcar.com
2017 race winner: John Wiedemann (No. 59 Angry Squirrel Speedsport)
2017 Firestone P1 Award winner: John Wiedemann (No. 59 Angry Squirrel Speedsport)
One-lap qualifying record: Mark Walczak, 4.500 seconds, 2009
Race record: Mike Fitzlaff, 233 laps, 2015
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
7:30 – Qualifying for the Firestone P1 Award (group qualifying/ fastest single lap)
7:55 – Heat races
8:30 – Deckertring Grand Prix
· The Deckertring rejoins the IndySlotCar Series schedule after missing the five previous seasons, in a new location, the third for this track, now in Theresa, WI, but back in control by the track’s original builder and owner John Shea, who has returned to the series after an 11 year absence, this will be Shea’s first start on his home track in that same time.
· Joe Heitz is riding three-race winning streak and the winner of four of the last five races, climbing to within one point of Husarsbilt Cup championship leader John Wiedemann. Heitz was 63 points back after the Christmas Classic, before he went on this tear.
· This will be the first time Heitz has raced on the big Black Forest road course, while John Wiedemann is the defending race winner from that last event five seasons ago.
· Bill Black has been trying to keep pace with the top two, making finals, but just one win, with Heitz and JW with four and three victories respectively. Black sits 36 markers behind Wiedemann.
· STATS WATCH: Heitz’s latest win takes him past his Michael Shank-It teammate on the all-time victory list with seven, now ranked 16th. Dean Strom’s pole position at Turtle Creek is his 23rd, equaling John Wiedemann, the two are tied for eight all-time. Mike Lack tallied his 33rd DNF at the Rotter Memorial, tying his Angry Squirrel Speedsport teammate Matt Hayek at seventh, while Dean Strom DNFed for the 30th time, pulling even with Hall of Famers Larry Rotter and Jim Kaehny at ninth.
DECKERTRING HISTORY (13 events, 2007 - 2017)
Date Race Winner Event Name
3/1/2007 Mark Walczak Deckertring Grand Prix
3/13/2008 Ev Kamikawa Deckertring Grand Prix
3/5/2009 Mark Walczak Deckertring Grand Prix
3/18/2010 Mark Walczak Deckertring Grand Prix
3/17/2011 Mike Lack Deckertring Grand Prix
9/22/2011 Mark Walczak John Shea Memorial Deckertring Grand Prix
3/1/2012 Mike Lack Outpost Natural Foods Grand Prix
2/14/2013 John Wiedemann Deckertring Grand Prix
1/30/2014 Dan Margetta Deckertring Grand Prix
2/5/2015 Mike Fitzlaff Deckertring Grand Prix
2/4/2016 Mike Lack Deckertring Grand Prix
1/26/2017 Matt Hayek Deckertring Grand Prix
9/17/2017 John Wiedemann Deckertring Grand Prix
Most Wins: 4-Mark Walczak; 3-Mike Lack