2023-24 Round 13

Larry Rotter Memorial Grand Prix - Turtle Creek Park Raceway - West Allis, WI

Round 13 of 17

March 7, 2024

2024 Larry Rotter Memorial Grand Prix

Wiedemann Continues to Own Turtle Creek

West Allis, WI - Turtle Creek Park Raceway was in his possession since the passing of the namesake of this race passed. But in the first race when the track moved from his Menomonee Falls base to West Allis, John Wiedemann showed he still owns this track. Wiedemann took the checkers for the third time at this "open class" event, now just one victory shy of the record Larry Rotter himself holds. 

It was another FAST teammate that Wiedemann would have to contend with the entire night, as Dean Strom set the pace in qualifying, with a 3.375-second lap. New hometown hero for Turtle Creek, Joe Heitz would line up beside on the front row and Wiedemann in third, a third FAST driver, Mike Lack fourth and Team PenskeHO's John Shea with a quality run in fifth.

The opening heat race was a bit of a surprise, as veteran driver Mike Fitzlaff, making just his third start of the season and hadn't even made the field in his two prior starts, would hold off CBD Racing's lead driver, Pete Dorn, previous race winner Ev Kamikawa and Chris Spehert to make his first final in five years.

The four fastest drivers were grouped into the second heat and it was looking like Wiedemann had the race well in hand over Strom, but a late crash allowed Strom to catch JW, and as time ran out, it was the 28 of Strom just ahead of the 29 of Weidemann, but the lap total established by the Husarsbilt Cup points leader would hold up to allow him into the final to again take on Strom.

The third heat saw two long time competitors face off, John Shea and CBD Racing's #66 Dan Margetta. I only mention those two, because within seven laps the other two drivers made quick exits, first Brad Core of CBD Racing and then one lap later Matt Hayek of FAST. The remainder of the heat was reminiscent of the recent full-scale IndyCar race where a Team Penske car ran away from the field and the HO-scale version did the same here, as Shea easily moved on to the final.

The anticipation was high for a rematch in the final between Wiedemann and Shea, however, though they kept in contact through the first half, eventually, the handling went away on the 28, Heitz and Shea were never really a factor and Wiedemann would take his season leading fourth win of the season and extend his championship point lead out to 92 with just four races left. 

Up next the Deckertring Grand Prix from the big beautiful Black Forest track.


Larry Rotter Memorial Grand Prix fast facts

Race date: Thursday, Mar 7


Track: Turtle Creek Park Raceway, 2.8-mile, 9-turn natural terrain circuit, West Allis, Wisconsin


Race distance: 20 minutes

IndySlotCar Website: indyslotcar.com

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


2023 Firestone P1 Award winner: Dean Strom (No. 1 Squirrel Shagged Enterprises Chevrolet-Daboiler)

Qualifying record: Larry Rotter, 3.023 seconds, 2005


Race record: Mike Lack, 311 laps, 2020

YouTube Broadcast: IndySlotCar Channel


At-track schedule (all times local):

6:00 – Gates open

6:30 – Driver introductions

7:00 – Drivers’ meeting

7:05 – IndySlotCar Series Practice

7:35 – “Open Class” cars presented for Technical Inspection

7:40 – Qualifying for Firestone P1 Award (group qualifying/ fastest single lap)

8:00 – Heat races

8:45 – Larry Rotter Memorial Grand Prix (20-minute final)


Race Notes:

·         Joe Heitz, winner of the 2023 Rotter Memorial and now the Larry Rotter-built Turtle Creek track has moved, making the defending race winner, also the home town favorite.

·         John Wiedemann was last year’s runner up at the Rotter Memorial and finished second three-weeks ago, the #29 FAST driver sits 70 points ahead of Heitz for the Husarsbilt Cup championship lead. Wiedemann won the other “open-class” event earlier this season at Badger Raceway.

·         While Wiedemann and Heitz are well out front of the rest of the field, Mike Lack leads Steve Rist by just nine points for third, and only 21 points separate the crowd between fifth, Pete Dorn and eightth, Mike Kristof, with Dan Margetta in between in sixth, seven markers behind Dorn and Ev Kamikawa up to seventh, one point back of Margetta.

·         Ev Kamikawa’s first win in five years at the Rapids GP, three weeks ago, makes him the sixth different winner of the season.

·         STATS WATCH: Steve Rist’s pole position at the Rapids Grand Prix is the sixth of his career, equaling Chad Sorce at 18th on the all-time list. Joe Heitz’s heat win at Rapids was the 28th of his brief career moving to 16th on that list. Mike Kristof’s first final four appearance of the season was the 48th of his lengthy career moving out of a tie with Tom Spehert to a solo 15th all-time. Dean Strom climbs into the top ten in laps turned with 37,396, passing Hall of Famer Jim Kaehny. Brad Core and Hiro Kamikawa’s starts at Rapids moved them up to 28th and 40th respectively all-time.


Date                   Race Winner                    Event Name                                                    

3/16/2003        Larry Rotter                     March Madness

3/25/2004        Larry Rotter                     March Madness

3/3/2005           Larry Rotter                     Milwaukee Bucks March Madness

3/30/2006        Mark Walczak                 Milwaukee Bucks March Madness

3/29/2007        Amy Butler                       M&J March Madness

3/27/2008        Mike Fitzlaff                     M&J March Madness

10/23/2008      Mark Walczak                 Milwaukee Sporting Goods Halloween Havoc

4/1/2009           Mark Walczak                 March Madness

3/31/2010        Dan Margetta                 March Madness

3/29/2011        Mark Walczak                 March Madness

3/28/2013        Larry Rotter                     March Madness

3/27/2014        Ev Kamikawa                   March Madness

4/2/2015           John Wiedemann           Larry Rotter Memorial Grand Prix

3/31/2016        Mike Fitzlaff                     Larry Rotter Memorial Grand Prix

3/30/2017        Dean Strom                      Larry Rotter Memorial Grand Prix

3/29/2018        Mike Lack                         Larry Rotter Memorial Grand Prix

4/4/2019           Mike Lack                         Larry Rotter Memorial Grand Prix

3/5/2020           Mike Lack                         Larry Rotter Memorial Grand Prix

3/4/2021           John Wiedemann           Larry Rotter Memorial Grand Prix

3/3/2022           Dean Strom                      Larry Rotter Memorial Grand Prix

2/23/2023        Joe Heitz                           Larry Rotter Memorial Grand Prix


Most Wins  –  4-Larry Rotter, Mark Walczak; 3-Mike Lack; 2-Dean Strom, John Wiedemann, Mike Fitzlaff