2022-23 Round 7

Duane Sweeney Memorial Grand Prix - The Road Course at Badger Raceway - Muskego, WI

December 8, 2022

Round 7 of 17

2022 Duane Sweeney Memorial Grand Prix

Strom Sweeps Sweeney

Muskego, WI – With the ease of a summer’s drive through the park, Dean Strom dominated the IndySlotCar Series field in the Duane Sweeney Memorial Grand Prix at The Road Course at Badger Raceway.

One of two “open class” events on the schedule, teams are able to run their own in-house chassis and apply “limited” modifications to them. Two of the top “open class” competitors, especially at Badger Raceway, have been Strom and Mike Lack. Lack has three of the last four Memorials while Strom won the other one.

It was no surprise then, when Strom, in his Squirrel Shagged Enterprises prepared ride, captured the pole in qualifying and Angry Squirrel Speedsport’s Lack was second. What was surprising was the gap between the two top drivers. Strom topped the qualifying charts with a 4.044-second qualifying lap and Lack was more than two-tenths of a second behind, a lifetime in HO-scale racing. Dan Margetta, also running a Squirrel Shagged chassis, due to some under-the-table deal that saved Cheap Ganassi Racing from having to spend money building a car, was third with Strom’s Squirrel Shagged teammate Steve Rist in the #4 in fourth. Breaking up the varmint lineup was Joe Heitz in his Michael Shank-It Racing Honda in fifth. But just to be rodent-consistent A.S.S’s John Wiedemann was sixth on the grid.

Heat race lineups were chosen on a last-to-first qualifying choice and the first heat had Wiedemann, Heitz, Rist and PenskeHO Racing's John Shea battling for a spot in the final. After a carnage-filled start to the race (Heitz wasn’t all the carnage, but he was part of it) Wiedemann was able to avoid it all and take the lead by a couple laps over Heitz. Shea showed too much power and flew off the track after 34 laps, leaving three to battle on. Wiedemann was able to keep a hold of his lead over a charging Heitz to take the victory, while Heitz would hold the “transfer position” and Rist settled for sixth on the night.

With three veteran drivers who have all won this race multiple times, Lack (4 wins), Strom (2 wins) and Margetta (2 wins), it looked like heat two would be a battle of the behemoths. But it wasn’t. One of the most shocking moments of the season happened just after the green flag flew as Lack crashed out during his second lap. Margetta didn’t look like he was trying but still was able to crash out of the race after just 20 laps. Strom, by default, won the race after putting 22 laps of wear on his tires.

The third heat was left to add some excitement to the evening, and if you like cars spinning out, crashes and that sort of thing, you were excited. While Angry Squirrel Speedsport's Matt Hayek, MSR's Mike Kristof and CBD Racing's Brad Core did some fancy acrobatic driving, Bill Black just laid laps down and pulled away from the field. Finally, in the second half of the race, Black spun but then got going again and just laid laps down. Hayek tried to make a run for the top in the second half but ended up five laps short with Black taking the win. Hayek had a solid fifth place, with Kristof seventh and Core eighth.

While some of the drivers considered top contenders didn’t make the final, Strom still needed to contend with Black, Wiedemann and Heitz. Those latter three had ten finals and three wins combined in the first six races of the season and defending series champion Strom had yet to make a final in three appearances this season. But that didn’t matter. Strom was at his track, his race and had his specially built chassis ready to go. Then the race started and Strom crashed into the wall high above turn two and sheared off the back half of the bodywork. No worries though, in just a few laps Strom was back in the lead and never looked back. By halfway, Strom had built up an eleven lap lead. Behind him was a battle between Wiedemann, Heitz and Black with just four laps between them. As the time ran down, Wiedemann in second place was playing "prevent defense", a move that would have worked well except for a spin late in the race, allowing Heitz and Black to all get on the same lap with seconds remaining. Heitz, who had fallen back to third, had nothing to lose and downshifted like they do in the movies to get to full throttle. Black crashed and Heitz passed him for second. On the final lap, Heitz crashed into the wall between turns two and three with Wiedemann remaining just a straightaway ahead in second place. Oh, by the way, Strom won. He won by seven laps and didn’t even push above half throttle in the second half of the race. Rumor has it he was eating salted nut rolls most of the time.

The victory, the third for Strom in this event, was the nineteenth of his IndySlotCar career.

With Wiedemann's second-place finish, the 2019-20 Husarsbilt Cup champion, takes sole lead of the point standings with just seven of the seventeen scheduled races completed. Black drops to second place, eight points back and Lack remains in third, fifteen points behind Black. Heitz takes over fourth place, 20 points behind third place. Six points further back in fifth is Rist with Hayek one point behind in sixth place after his strong fifth-place run.

Up next, in just a week, is the Christmas Classic on December 15th at Bermuda Raceway. Dean Strom, the winner of Christmas last year is looking to make it two in a row, there have been no repeat winners at Bermuda since the track began hosting the holiday race.


Duane Sweeney Memorial Grand Prix Fast Facts

Race date: Thursday, Dec 8

Track: Road Course at Badger Raceway 3.25 mile natural terrain road course in Muskego, WI

Race distance: 20 minutes

Twitter: @indyslotcar

IndySlotCar Website: indyslotcar.com

2021 race winner: Mike Lack (No. 27 Angry Squirrel Speedsport)

2021 Firestone P1 Award winner: Dean Strom (No. 1 Squirrel Shagged Enterprises)

One-lap qualifying record: Dean Strom, 3.853 seconds, 2020

Race record: Dean Strom, 268 laps, 2020

YouTube Broadcast: IndySlotCar Channel

At-track schedule (all times local):

6:00 – Gates open

6:30 – Driver introductions

6:55 – Drivers meeting

7:00 – IndySlotCar Series Practice

7:30 – Technical inspection

7:35 – Qualifying for the Firestone P1 Award (group qualifying/ fastest single lap)

8:15 – Heat races

8:55 – Duane Sweeney Memorial Grand Prix (20 minutes)

Race Notes:

· Mike Lack has dominated the “Open class” events in recent years, winning six of the last eight “Open class” events, with only Dean Strom and John Wiedemann spoiling the Lack party.

· Lack sits in third place in the Husarsbilt Cup championship standings, but that is just one point behind the leaders, John Wiedemann and Bill Black tied at the top.

· Wiedemann is coming off a win at the Turkey Trot, becoming the first multi-race winner of the season.

· Coming into his home race, defending Husarsbilt Cup champion, Dean Strom is the only driver in the top 14 in points who has yet to make a final.

· Joe Heitz appearance in the final at the Turkey Trot is the fourth of the season, more than any other driver this season. Heitz sits fifth in the standings, 37 markers behind the leaders, having missed one race.

· Stats watch: Mike Lack’s pole at the Trot was his third of the season, the only multi-pole winner of the season, and the 49th of his career moving past series founder Phil Cianciola to second all-time, just three behind Dan Margetta’s record total. Bill Black equals Chris Spehert’s career final four appearance total of 29 at the Turkey Trot, tied at 18th overall. Joe Heitz also moved into a tie for 23rd in finals with Amy Butler, both have 16. Matt Hayek has created a three-way tie in career starts with Mike Fitzlaff and Hall of Famer Larry Rotter with 203, in seventh all-time .


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

12/5/2019 Mike Lack Duane Sweeney Memorial Grand Prix

12/3/2020 Dean Strom Duane Sweeney Memorial Grand Prix

12/9/2021 Mike Lack Duane Sweeney Memorial Grand Prix presented by Nordic Beed Farms

* - Track was built as Bayside International and moved to become The Road Course at Badger Raceway before December 2008.

Most Wins – Mike Lack, Mark Walczak-4; Jim Iverson-3; Dean Strom, Dan Margetta, Ev Kamikawa-2