2023-24 Round 9

Rupena's Raven 250 - Raven Raceway - Milwaukee, WI

January 4, 2024

Round 9 of 17

2024 Rupena's Raven 250

Lack By A Nose!

Milwaukee, WI --Mike Lack took home the "Incident" nose/broken run bottle trophy (scroll photos above to see it for yourself) for winning the Rupena's Raven 250 at Raven Raceway, ending the three-race winning streak of his FAST teammate, John Wiedemann. The two were locked in tight competition in both their heat race, more on that later, and then in the final where Lack moved to the front to take his career series' record extending 54th victory. 

The night started with Steve Rist nearly setting a new track record in qualifying, taking the Firestone P1 Award, with hometown hero Pete Dorn on the front row as well. Michael Shank-It Racing's Mike Kristof qualified third for the third straight race, with Dorn's CBD Racing teammate Bill Black lined up fourth and Husarsbilt Cup championship points leader John Wiedemann fifth on the grid. A surprise at the back end of the grid was Joe Heitz's #06 MSR Honda-Dallara having to participate in the Last Chance Qualifier, managing to take the win and advance along with Brad Core and James Spehert, making his second field of 12 in his career.

The opening heat featured those three that moved up from the LCQ plus John Shea. Joe Heitz took his winning ways right through the heat race to advance to the final, keeping Shea's Thirsty Threes behind him, James Spehert's #77 from Team Spehert ran his best race of the season, keeping Brad Core behind him to finish tenth on the night. 

The second heat featured those two FAST guys immediately took the lead, Wiedemann and Lack would battle for the entire 10 minutes, Chris Spehert would not spend 10 minutes on track as he crashed out after just 10 laps, guaranteeing he would finish behind his teammate and son James for the first time. Dan Margetta struggled with handling and quickly became a spectator for one of the closest finishes in series history. Lack took a late lead when Wiedemann spun out, but JW's #29 was able to chase down Lack's #26 and as time ran out, Wiedemann would find himself a car length ahead to take the bonus point for a heat win, and, as it would turn out, the two extra bonus points for the most laps in a heat. Lack would not be completely disappointed obviously, as his lap total would give him the transfer spot to the final.

Hometown hero Pete Dorn would line up against his CBD Racing teammate Bill Black in the last heat, along with FAST #98 Steve Rist and Michael Shank-It Racing's Mike Kristof. Black would take the lead into the second half, with both Dorn and Rist fighting for second and Kristof just a lap back. As the clock ran down, Rist began to fade, then it was Dorn and Kristof making a charge on Black, a few mistakes by the #7 pilot allowed his teammate to squeeze by and had all he could handle to stay in second place, which ultimately he was able to do, but Dorn would advance, while Black and Kristof would settle for fifth and sixth respectively for the event, Rist in eighth.

The crowd was excited for a Wiedemann-Lack rematch in the 250 lap final, but it was Dorn who made his presence known in front of the home crowd, staying on the lead lap through 125 circuits, Wiedemann staying within striking distance four laps back, while Heitz struggled in the green lane. As the number laps to get crept toward zero, Dorn began to lose the handle, while Wiedemann attempted to make a charge but Lack never made a mistake and as the checkers flew it was a nine lap advantage for the seven-time Husarsbilt Cup champion and Wiedemann would have to be satisfied with knowing he still increased his championship points lead over his closest pursuer, Heitz back in fourth. Lead now a gaudy 87 markers with eight events left to run.

The series heads back to Tosa and Quarry Heights for the always popular Quarryfest Deslotmania in two weeks time.

Rupena's Raven 250 Fast Facts

Race date: Thursday, Jan 4


Track: 2.5 mile Natural Terrain Road Course in Milwaukee, WI


Race distance: 250 laps

IndySlotCar Website: indyslotcar.com

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


2023 Firestone P1 Award winner: Ev Kamikawa (No. 12 Team PenskeHO Chevrolet-Daboiler)

One-lap qualifying record: Mark Walczak, 4.000 seconds, 2011


Race record: Pete Dorn, 20 minutes 13 seconds, 2020

YouTube Broadcast: IndySlotCar Channel


At-track schedule (all times local):

6:00 – Gates open

6:30 – Driver introductions

6:55 – Drivers meeting/Chassis distribution

7:00 – IndySlotCar Series Practice

7:25 – Qualifying for the Firestone P1 Award (group qualifying/ fastest single lap)

7:50 – Heat races

8:45 – Raven 250 (250 laps)


Race Notes:

·         John Wiedemann is riding a three-race winning streak and will attempt to match the series record of four-in-a-row at the Raven 250. The victory is a record setting fifth Christmas trophy for JW, breaking the tie he shared with HOFer Phil Cianciola, it also brings Wiedemann’s career win total equal to the series founder, both he and Cianciola have 35, sharing fifth on the all-time list.

·         Wiedemann’s streak has helped him open a sizable 77-point lead in the Husarsbilt Cup championship over defending champion Joe Heitz, 340 to 263. The battle for third place has Mike Lack and Ev Kamikawa tied at 228 points.

·         Joe Heitz is the defending winner of the Raven 250, it was the first of six wins in his championship season.

·         With a record matching field of 16 at the Christmas Classic, the Pole-to-Win fund has now reached a new record of 154-thousand IndySlotCar bucks and will extend that by the number of entrants at this week’s event.

·         With 17 races on the schedule this season, the Raven 250 is the middle point of the season, with eight down and eight races scheduled to follow.

·         STATS WATCH: Mike Lack became the first repeat Firestone P1 Award winner of the season, his 52nd career pole brings him within two of all time pole sitter Dan Margetta. Bill Black’s heat win and final four appearance pulls him into a tie with Dave Austin on the all-time list for heat wins at 16th with 27, and finals with Chad Sorce, 17th with 37. Steve Rist now has as many finals appearances as Amy Butler, both have 16, tied for 24th. Pete Dorn became the 20th driver in series history to turn 20,000 or more laps in competition.

RAVEN 250 HISTORY (24 events, 2000 - Present)

Date                   Race Winner                    Event Name                                                                                            

2/17/2000        John Shea                         Milwaukee Bucks Challenge – Raven Raceway**                

3/1/2001           Chad Sorce                       Milwaukee Bucks Challenge**                  

1/31/2002        Phil Cianciola                   Palermo’s Pizza Challenge*

1/2/2003           Larry Rotter                     Saz’s 250                                          

10/2/2003        Larry Rotter                     Saz’s 250                                          

1/6/2005           Phil Cianciola                   Saz’s 250                                          

1/5/2006           Dan Margetta                 Saz’s 250                                          

1/4/2007           Dan Margetta                 Quizno’s Grand Prix                      

1/3/2008           Mark Walczak                 Quizno’s 250                                  

1/8/2009           Mark Walczak                 Raven 250                                       

2/4/2010           Mike Fitzlaff                     Raven 250                                       

1/6/2011           Dan Margetta                 Raven 250                                       

1/5/2012           Mark Walczak                 Raven 250                                       

1/3/2013           Mark Walczak             Raven 250

1/2/2014           Dean Strom                      Raven Bowl 250

1/8/2015           Mike Lack                         Raven 250 at Rapids – Temporary oval at Rapids International

1/7/2016           Mike Lack                         Raven 250 – Turtle Creek Park Raceway

1/5/2017           John Wiedemann           Raven 250 – race returns to Raven Raceway**

1/4/2018           Bill Black                           Raven 250

1/2/2019           Mike Lack                         Raven 250

1/23/2020        John Wiedemann           Raven 250

1/21/2021        Pete Dorn                     Raven 250

1/6/2022           Mike Lack                         Raven 250 presented by Ultimate Truck

1/5/2023           Joe Heitz                           Rupena’s Raven 250


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

*-Dave Austin bottle/nose incident

**-All races held at Rave Raceway through 2014 and from 2017 onward