2022-23 Round 8

Christmas Classic - Bermuda Raceway - Wauwatosa, WI

December 15, 2022

Round 8 of 17

2022 Christmas Classic

Wiedemann Basks In Bermuda Win At Christmas Classic

Wauwatosa, WI – Continuing a battle that has been going on for almost 20 years, John Wiedemann and Bill Black duked it out at the short oval-ish Bermuda Raceway track for Round 8 of the IndySlotCar Series season in the Christmas Classic.

Wiedemann and Black have raced each other in RC events and now are continuing their battle with slot cars with a ton of close finishes during that time, but tonight’s race was one of the classics in a season that has them both involved in a points battle.

It was Mike Lack starting off the night as he has in every other even-numbered round this season, with another pole run. In the eight events run so far, Lack has won four poles – every other race this year. His 2.384 second run around the track, the #27 Angry Squirrel Speedsport driver edged out CBD Racing’s Black by 23 thousandths of a second. Lack's Angry Squirrel teammate, Wiedemann clocked in third and was followed by Joe Heitz in his Michael Shank-It colors and then Cheap Ganassi Racing’s Dan Margetta in fifth.

Heat races were filled in a last to first rotation based off qualifying. Ev Kamikawa took the win in the opening Heat Race holding off his PenskeHO Racing teammate John Shea. Shea, running the short track for the first time, had some rookie issues in the opening half but found his groove and made a strong charge in the second half, ending up just a bit short of victory. CBD’s Pete Dorn held off Squirrel Shagged Steve Rist for third in the heat.

Heat Two featured home-town hero Mike Kristof trying to show how it’s done on his home track. The Shank-It driver was challenged by former teammate and current Angry Squirrel Matt Hayek and with the victory in question all the way to the checkers. When the power stopped, it was Kristof in front by about two track sections and Hayek holding the provisional transfer spot. Back in the pack, last week's (and one-time-only) teammates were left racing for third. Margetta was able to hold off defending series champ Dean Strom, stuck in the outside lanes, to take third place.

Heat Three filled with the top four qualifiers, was a precursor to the final with Black and Wiedemann racing with Heitz and Lack. The race was all Black as Wiedemann tried to remain in contact with the leader but Black was able to stay on point throughout the race. 7-time champ Lack struggled with the red-green Christmas rotation putting him in the outside lanes in both halves. Heitz had issues with a couple offs as he tried in vain to keep in contact with the lead lap. In the end it was Black taking the win to the final and Wiedemann besting his A.S.S. teammate Hayek to grab the transfer spot. Heitz rolled up the laps as well and finished third, missing the final for only the second time this season, but placing fifth overall for the night.

The final quickly from the start became a Black/Wiedemann war. Black continued from where he left off in the heat race, running at the front of the pack with Wiedemann keeping pace close behind. Kristof and Kamikawa, both in the outside grooves, struggled to keep the pins in and tried to keep out of the way of the two inside runners setting the pace. When the halfway break came, it was Black ahead by just a couple laps over Wiedemann. Both drivers were sent to the outside in the second half and when pitstops were called, things got interesting. Black was first in and had an ok but slower stop than Wiedemann. When all pitting was completed, Wiedemann had taken the lead from Black and looked to stretch the distance. Black had a quicker car, but it was Wiedemann who had the handling, and the outside groove was no issue for him. Wiedemann conservatively stretched out his lead, leaving Black to push his ride to the limits to try to keep pace. Not giving too much care about what was happening up front, Kamikawa pitted multiple times for food breaks and Kristof joined him with a stop for Christmas ham as well. When the twenty-minute run came to its conclusion, Wiedemann stayed out front to the checkers. This victory at the Christmas Classic pulls him equal with another long last name, Cianciola, as he and Phil now have the most wins (four) wins at the holiday race. Black finished five laps back in second with Kristof and Kamikawa getting back on track a bit to finish third and fourth.

Wiedemann’s third victory of the season in the #29 Honda-Daboiler stretched out his point lead to seventeen over Black with eight of the seventeen rounds complete. Lack maintained third in the standings, now 35 points behind second place and eleven points ahead of Heitz in fourth. Hayek and Rist switch positions with Hayek moving up to fifth place by nine points. Kristof is in seventh, closing the gap to twenty points behind Rist.

The Christmas Classic was the fourth of the Founder’s Five championship in this 30th season of the IndySlotCar Series and the battle for the crown is tight. Black (currently 173 points) won the opening event at the Mini-Mile and Hayek (131 pts) took home the victory at the Haloween Havok. With Wiedemann (157 pts) winning the Turkey Trot and Christmas Classic, all three drivers are in the running with Lack (124 pts), Heitz (122 pts) and Margetta (107 pts) having outside to long shots at the crown. The final piece to the puzzle is the double-points season finale HO Indy 500, where the Founder’s Five championship will be decided.

With the 2022 portion of the schedule complete, the gang takes the holiday weeks off and returns in 2023 for Round Nine at the historic Raven Raceway on January 5th. Lack will look to restart his season as he is the defending champ of this race which had Kamikawa and Pete joining him on the podium.


Christmas Classic Fast Facts

Race date: Thursday, Dec 15

Track: Bermuda Raceway, 1.8 mile Natural Terrain Road Course in Wauwatosa, WI

Race distance: 20 minutes

Twitter: @indyslotcar

IndySlotCar Website: indyslotcar.com

2021 race winner: Dean Strom (No. 1 Squirrel Shagged Enterprises)

2021 Firestone P1 Award winner: Bill Black (No. 7 Black-Atom Racing)

One-lap qualifying record: Dan Margetta, 2.293 seconds, 2019

Race record: Joe Heitz, 426 laps, 2019

YouTube Broadcast: IndySlotCar Channel

At-track schedule (all times local):

5:00 – Gates open

6:30 – Driver introductions

6:55 – Drivers Meeting/Chassis Distribution

7:00 – IndySlotCar Series Practice

7:30 – Qualifying for the Firestone P1 Award (group qualifying/ fastest single lap)

8:00 – Heat races

8:50 – Christmas Classic (20 minutes)

Race Notes:

· A year ago, Dean Strom captured his third win of the season at Bermuda Raceway enroute to his Husarsbilt Cup championship, Strom is coming off his first win of this season a week ago at his home track.

· Strom becomes the sixth different winner in seven races so far this season.

· John Wiedemann breaks the tie with Bill Black for the Husarsbilt Cup championship lead, finishing second to Black’s fourth last week at The Road Course at Badger Raceway, Wiedemann holds an 8 point advantage, while Mike Lack, who entered round 7 just one point behind the two leaders, now finds himself 23 markers behind his Angry Squirrel Speedsport teammate after the lap one DNF to last place. It’s Lack’s second straight DNF at an “Open class” event and the first time Lack has finished last since the Jackson 500 in January of 2020.

· Since the Christmas Classic moved to Bermuda Raceway in 2017, there has been a different winner every year: Matt Hayek, hometown hero Mike Kristof, Joe Heitz Bill Black and last season Strom.

· Stats Watch: Lack’s win at the Duane Sweeney Memorial Grand Prix presented by Nordic Beef Farms was the record extending 50th of his career. Dean Strom has equaled his former teammate Jim Iverson on the all-time Final Four appearances list with 74, tied for 10th. Pete Dorn passes John Baas on the all-time laps list, moving to 20th with 15,682. Joe Heitz moves ahead of Ned Wicker in total laps to 27th. Steve Rist pulls even with Rist Osterbrink and Arnie Lueders on the all-time DNFs list with 5.

· The entry list for the Christmas Classic may be the largest in 13 years!

CHRISTMAS CLASSIC HISTORY (27 events, 1993-99, 2001-08, 2010-Present)

Date Race Winner Event Name Track

12/16/1993 Phil Cianciola Shrine Christmas Classic Shrine Road Course

12/15/1994 Dave Austin Tomy Christmas Classic Shrine Road Course

12/14/1995 Phil Cianciola Tomy Christmas Classic Shrine Road Course

12/12/1996 Jim Kaehny Tomy Christmas Classic Sanibel Speedway

12/18/1997 Jim Kaehny Tomy Christmas Classic Sanibel Speedway

12/17/1998 Dan Margetta Parma Christmas Classic Sanibel Speedway

12/16/1999 Phil Marich Championship Racing Magazine 400 Sanibel Speedway

12/13/2001 Chad Sorce Christmas Classic Sanibel Speedway

12/12/2002 Phil Cianciola Piggly Wiggly 400 Sanibel Speedway

12/19/2003 Dan Margetta Piggly Wiggly 400 Sanibel Speedway

12/16/2004 Phil Cianciola Piggly Wiggly 400 Sanibel Speedway

12/15/2005 Jim Iverson Chipotle Christmas Classic Vista Rio Rancho Raceway

12/14/2006 John Shea Christmas Classic Vista Rio Rancho Raceway

12/13/2007 Ev Kamikawa Christmas Classic Vista Rio Rancho Raceway

12/18/2008 Larry Rotter Christmas Classic Vista Rio Rancho Raceway

12/16/2010 Mark Walczak Christmas Classic Vista Rio Rancho Raceway

12/15/2011 Mark Walczak Christmas Classic Vista Rio Rancho Raceway

12/6/2012 John Wiedemann Christmas Classic Shrine Desert Road Course*

12/19/2013 Mike Lack Christmas Classic Shrine Desert Road Course

12/18/2014 John Wiedemann Christmas Classic Shrine Desert Road Course

12/17/2015 Mike Lack Christmas Classic Shrine Desert Road Course

12/1/2016 John Wiedemann Christmas Classic Shrine Desert Road Course

12/14/2017 Matt Hayek Christmas Classic Bermuda Raceway

12/13/2018 Mike Kristof Shorewest Christmas Classic Bermuda Raceway

12/19/2019 Joe Heitz Christmas Classic Bermuda Raceway

12/17/2020 Bill Black Christmas Classic Bermuda Raceway

12/16/2021 Dean Strom Styled Aesthetic Christmas Classic Bermuda Raceway

*-Vista Rio Rancho Raceway returned to original name

Most Wins – 4-Phil Cianciola; 3- John Wiedemann; 2-Mike Lack, Mark Walczak, Dan Margetta, Jim Kaehny