2023-24 Round 12

Rapids Grand Prix - Rapids International Raceway - Milwaukee, WI

February 15, 2024

Round 12 of 17

2024 Rapids Grand Prix

Kamikawa Returns to Victory Lane

Rapids -- It has been a long dry spell for the two-time Husarsbilt Cup champion lately, but the hometown crowd support and a fast race car carried Ev Kamikawa back to victory lane at the Rapids Grand Prix on the streets of Rapids. Thrilling the throngs lining the building tops and sidewalks of the only true street course on the IndySlotCar Series schedule, they saw the newest member of the Hall of Fame cruise to a relatively easy 44th career win over John Wiedemann and Joe Heitz. 

Qualifying saw a repeat Firestone P1 Award winner, as Steve Rist took the pole position for the third time this season, equaling Mike Lack for most poles and the only two drivers with multiple Firestone P1 Awards in 23-24. Hometown hero Ev Kamikawa was right there on the front row, with points leader John Wiedemann and fellow FAST teammate Dean Strom on the second row, Joe Heitz lined up fifth.

The opening heat featured the slowest three drivers, Mike Kristof and Hiro Kamikawa opened up the night with a good battle, but the younger hometown driver made a few too many mistakes and Kristof's #60 Michael Shank-It Honda-Dallara would advance to its first final of the season. Hiro would settle for sixth and Brad Core, the final member of the heat struggled to ninth on the night.

The middle heat, with mid pack qualifiers saw all three contestants, Joe Heitz, Dean Strom and John Shea do battle, late in the heat both Shea and Strom struggled with handling allowing Heitz, the second MSR driver to advance to the final, his eighth of the season. Strom came home seventh and Shea eighth for the event.

The three fastest drivers had to duke it out in the last heat to determine the finalists, and it was another classic between Ev Kamikawa and John Wiedemann, unfortunately for Steve Rist, the #98 FAST entry just didn't have race pace, despite his pole position start. Ev and JW were nose to tail for a majority of the ten minute heat, eventually, it was clean both drivers would advance to the final, as they ran more laps than the younger Kamikawa had put up earlier in the evening, and the fight was for the bonus points, Kamikawa would hold on to take the win and the rematch was on. 

What looked from the heat race was going to be an even better battle for the 20 minute final, never really materialized as Kamikawa opened a solid lead in the opening half and kept it clean to the finish, leaving Wiedemann and Heitz to fight for second place scraps, Kristof faded, safe in the knowledge that he would have a season best fourth place finish. In the end it was Wiedemann five laps down to Kamikawa and five laps ahead of Heitz, extending his Husarsbilt Cup points lead to 70 with five events left to run. 

For Kamikawa it ended the longest dry spell in his Hall of Fame career, almost exactly five years since taking the checkers at 2019 Stardust 500 at Stardust Speedway in March of that year, it is the Team PenskeHO pilot's 44th victory, third on the all time wins list, only trailing fellow HOFer Dan Margetta by four and all time wins leader Mike Lack.  It also marks the fourth win on the streets of Rapids, his home track for 29 years.

The series takes a three week break before contesting three races in three weeks, the dash is on for the championship in just over a months time. The next event is the Larry Rotter Memorial Grand Prix and the Rotter-built Turtle Creek Park Raceway, with the open class rules, allowing teams to prep their own machinery.


Rapids Grand Prix Fast Facts

Race date: Thursday, Feb 15


Track: Rapids International, 3.75 mile street course in Rapids


Race distance:  20 minutes

IndySlotCar Website: indyslotcar.com

2023 race winner: Joe Heitz (No. 06 Michael Shank-It Racing Daboiler-Honda)


2023 Firestone P1 Award winner: Joe Heitz (No. 06 Michael Shank-It Racing Daboiler-Honda)

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

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

8:00 – Heat races

8:45 – Rapids Grand Prix (20 minutes)


Race Notes:

        Joe Heitz is the two-time defending Rapids Grand Prix race winner and sits 66 points behind Husarsbilt Cup championship leader John Wiedemann.

        Mike Lack joined the three win club at Quarryfest Deslotmania, Lack won from pole, the second time in as many races that had occurred after not happening for almost a full season. Lack is the first driver to score three Firestone P1 Awards this season.

        A huge surprise result a year ago, second generation driver and new hometown favorite, Hiro Kamikawa, finished second to Heitz, it was the younger Kamikawa’s best finish in five career starts. Could he move one step up the podium this season?

        John Wiedemann missed the final at Quarryfest Deslotmania, the #29 driver’s first missed final in eight races and only the second missed final of the 11 races run this season.

        STAT NOTES: Lack’s win at Quarry Heights is the 55th of his career, extending his series record tally. The pole position at the last race is his 53rd, just one behind all-time pole leader Dan Margetta. Speaking of Margetta, his heat win and finals appearance are his 150th and 210th respectively, both series records. Steve Rist made his 18th final, moving to 23rd on the all-time list, Brad Core made his fifth final, tied with Pat Jarvis for 28th. Pete Dorn moved to 19th on the all-time laps list just ahead of John Shea, while James Spehert moved to 44th on that list. Core pulled even with Rick Osterbrink on the all-time starts list with 46th, tied for 28th, while rookie Spehert’s eighth start is good for 38th.


 RAPIDS GRAND PRIX HISTORY (24 events: 1995 - 1996, 1998 - 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

1/7/2021           Mike Lack                         Rapids Grand Prix

1/27/2022        Joe Heitz                           Rapids Grand Prix

2/9/2023           Joe Heitz                           Rapids Grand Prix



Most Wins: Mike Lack-6; Mark Walczak-5; Ev Kamikawa-3; Joe Heitz, John Wiedemann, Dave Austin-2

Rapids International track map