2016-17 Season Preview
Wauwatosa, WI -- For three straight seasons Mike Lack has dominated the IndySlotCar Series standings and with the opening race at the Mini Milwaukee Mile, he will attempt to go where only two other IndySlotCar champions have been and that is to become a four-time champ. With his teammate and closest rival John Wiedemann looking to stop the Lack express, coming off a career season, "JW" is expectinng big things, as are several other contenders who would like to see their names etched into the Husarsbilt Cup.
A two-time Cup winner himself, Ev Kamikawa looks to continue the momentum he had in the last half of last season and perhaps regain the title for the first time in 15 years.
Teammates Matt Hayek and Dean Strom battled for contention throughout the 15-16 tour, each garnering one victory last year, while the only multiple winners were the JAM Racing drivers who finished at the top of the points, it shows how deep the field is that eight different drivers went to the top step of the podium.
That depth is only expected to be plumbed further this year, with Rookie of the Year Pete Dorn and his Spehert Autosport teammate and rookie rival from last season Bill Black, both expected to be improved over their initial campaigns. Tom Spehert, from that same stable, saw a marked improvement over previous seasons and his fuller participation clearly paid off on the track.
Meanwhile, the Target Fitz Ganassi boys, Mikes, Fitzlaff and Kristof expect to step up from their results last season, especially Kristof whose sponsor will be pulling out of the sport after this year, may be driving to save his job.
Dan Margetta and Amy Butler are always entertaining when they strap in their cars, both won last season, Margetta keeping a streak of 17 straight seasons with at least one win alive and Butler scoring her first win in many years, expect both to make some noise on and off the track this year.
Get ready for the 24th season of IndySlotCar to commence Thursday, September 8th at the Mini Milwaukee Mile with the traditional outdoor opener, the Trokan Cup 500! It looks to be a great season with competition as close as it's ever been from the front to the back of the grid!
Another Major Sponsor Announcement for America's Favorite HO-Scale Open Wheel Racing Series
The momentum continues to build for the IndySlotCar Series leading up to the start of the season on Thursday, September 8th with the Trokan Cup 500 at the Mini Milwaukee Mile. On the heels of the revelation of the Chick-fil-A Brookfield P1 Award, longtime series sponsor RacingNation.com has announced they will be the title sponsor of the RacingNation.com Hard Charger Award for the 2016-17 season.
The RacingNation.com Hard Charger Award will recognize the driver who moves up from qualifying to the finish. Each race with identify the one driver who make the biggest Charge, at the end of the season, the driver who was Hard Charger at the most races will be presented the RacingNation.com Hard Charger Award.
“No matter where you start, it's where and how you finish that counts in the end and that is what the RacingNation.com Hard Charger is all about,” explained RacingNation.com President, CEO and Chairman of the Board.
“With the Chick-fil-A Brookfield P1 Award and now the RacingNation.com Hard Charger Award, qualifying has never been more important in the IndySlotCar series. Some of the fastest speeds of any event are found in those short sessions before the heat races,” raved Mike Kristof, commissioner of the IndySlotCar Series.
About RacingNation.com: Covering the racing scene across the nation takes a big effort by an enthusiastic group of professional reporters and photographers. RacingNation.com is on the scene at major motorsports events as well as local tracks.
About the IndySlotCar Series: For over 20 years, IndySlotCar has represented the IndyCar Series in HO-scale. Every race available on our YouTube channel: http://youtube.com/indyslotcar
Pre-Season Testing/Media Night
Wauwatosa, WI -- Preseason testing at The Shrine Desert Road Course was topped by silly season news as a number of rumors were put to rest along with some surprise announcements.
New JAM Racing team announced:
While rumors have been flying since the final race last season, the official announcement came tonight as Lack Wiedemann Motorsports announced their new teammate, Amy Butler and the rebranding of the team to JAM Racing.
JAM Racing will field three cars representing AJ Foyt Racing with two time and defending series champion Mike Lack driving the #41 (Jack Hawksworth), Amy Butler in the #48 (Alex Tagliani) and John Wiedemann in the #14 (Takuma Sato).
Margetta Joining Penske HO:
Penske HO team owner Ev Kamikawa walked into quite a surprise when he arrived at The Shrine. Dan Margetta let Ev know that he had a new teammate and it would be Dan. A quick verbal agreement was made as Ev finished his dinner and the quickest decision in the history of motorsports for an owner to hire a driver had been made.
"We were teammates back in like 2000 and we were teammates back in 1996 or 1997 because I didn't have a ride," said Kamikawa. "Dan and Chad Source gave me a car and I actually won the race. Welcome back to having Dan as a teammate."
"I don't know what happened," said Margetta about losing his ride and team. "I'm kind of happy though. The boat anchor is their problem now. Penske HO said drop the boat anchor and come to Penske." Team Penske HO will put Dan in the #22 Simon Pagenaud car, while Kamikawa himself slides over from the #12 Penske ride to represent Juan Pablo Montoya in the #2 car.
Spehert Autosport Adds Rookies:
Rookie drivers Bill Black and Pete Dorn will join the Spehert Autosport team for the 2015/2016 IndySlotCar Series season. Spehert Autosport will continue with drivers Chris and Tom Spehert but both may run a limited schedule, leaving the rookie drivers to carry the team banner and compete for the full season in cars representing Andretti Autosport, Black and Dorn in the #25 Justin Wilson car as well as the #26 Carlos Munoz entry, while Chris will drive the #27 Marco Andretti car and Tom in the #28 Ryan Hunter-Reay drive.
Other teams, seem to be holding station for the season, with the dramatic split of last season: Kristof and Hayek settled into their teams, last year's HO Indy 500 winner sticking with Target Fitz Ganassi Racing and the #9 Target car along with Mike Fitzlaff in the #10 Tony Kanaan ride. Hayek's three wins last season keeps him solidly employed on a team with Dean Strom, last year known as Out Of the Box Racing is hinting heavily that new sponsorship will change that title, the team will represent the Rahal Letterman Lanigan entries.
With the paddock wondering why she would leave Dan Margetta and Burgetta Racing, Butler explained some of the behind the scenes issues with her now former teammate. "Last season they just started taking better care of me than Dan did," said Butler. Asked to elaborate on the difference between Lack Wiedemann Motorsports and her former team, Amy just responded saying "Better everything".
The 2015-2016 IndySlotCar 23rd season kicks off at the Mini Mile for the Trokan Cup 500 on September 3rd. Will Mike Lack capture a third consecutive title or will there be a new champion? How will the new teams get along and will Dan and Amy speak to each other again? How about the rookies, how will they fare? These questions and more will be answered in the next sixteen races, stay tuned.
Slotcar Community Raises Funds To Battle A Disease That Took A Champion
(Brookfield, WI) -- Racers and fans of IndySlotCar Series three-time champion Larry Rotter raised over $600 for cancer research, the dread disease that took the fan favorite earlier this year. Members of the slotcar community bought former cars that Rotter had driven in IndySlotCar races and in other series over his storied career. The fund raising was coordinated by fellow IndySlotCar champion Ev Kamikawa, all the funds raised will be donated to the American Cancer Society in the name of Larry and Barb Rotter. The slotcar sale is just one of the ways the series will commemorate the late champion, at least one driver will race one of the cars that Rotter drove at each IndySlotCar Series race this season, the former March Madness race will be rechristened the Larry Rotter Memorial Grand Prix. The Shrine at the The Shrine Desert Road Course, home of the IndySlotCar Series will feature a Larry Rotter display to be revealed at the Christmas Classic.
Sergio Takes Ownership Stake In Spehert-Foyt Racing
(Milwaukee, WI) -- It was announced today that IndySlotCar Series personality Sergio has become a part-owner of Spehert-Foyt Racing. The announcement was made at the team's headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. "We are pleased to welcome Sergio to the team," said co-owner Tom Spehert. "At this point, we're not sure what position Sergio will take with the team. We're not certain of his qualifications and experience, but we appreciate the enthusiasm that Sergio brings to the IndySlotCar Series and we expect him to be a valuable asset."
Sergio's most recent racing related venture was his short-lived stint as host of "Wind Funnel" on Viruses. He was hired to replace the departed Deano Bravo, who left following a contract dispute. The ratings for the first Sergio hosted show were the lowest in the history of the program. Many viewers felt that Sergio was "hard to understand" and "barely coherent" during the broadcast. One concerned viewer expressed a concern that Sergio "was under the influence of at least one illegal substance" and that "he was a poor influence for just about anyone who watched the show". A spokesman from the Viruses Network said that Sergio's contract with the network has been terminated. Sergio has been somewhat of a man of mystery since arriving on the IndySlotCar Series scene several months ago. All that is known is that he is from an unspecified Latin American country and that he is a self-styled "lover of de ladies". Like Madonna or Liberace, Sergio only goes by his first name. Attempts to delve into his past have been met with much uncertainty, although it has been learned through several reliable sources that Sergio was known as a real "mover" in the Puerto Rican disco scene of the late 1970's. However, a report that he was once a member of popular recording group ELO (or Electric Light Orchestra) has proven false.
Spehert-Foyt Racing was founded by Tom Spehert as a single car effort over ten years ago. He was joined by his son, Chris Spehert, a few years later. Other notable drivers who have run for the team include series founder Phil Cianciola and Jim Kaehny. The team was merged with R.J. Foyt Racing following the 2007-2008 season to create Spehert-Foyt Racing. The team is currently run by Chris Spehert, who also drives the #26 Dallara-Honda for team. According to the younger Spehert, the prime reason for bring Sergio on board was so he could devote more time to racing and less time to worrying about the day-to-day operations of the team. "Yes, I'm very much hoping that Sergio can take over some of the day-to-day stuff," said the younger Spehert. "I've been trying to juggle way too much. We're currently a four-car operation and I think everything is suffering because I just don't have time to handle everything. I spoke with Sergio this morning about what changes, if any, he'd like to see from the team. His response was that he wanted 'more of de ladies' on the team. I'm not entirely sure what he means, but then again I'm never sure exactly what he's talking about."
The team has also seen the hands-on presence of Dallas-based businessman R.J. Foyt decline in recent months. Foyt owns San-O-Privy, which is the largest producer of portable chemical toilets in the State of Texas. San-O-Privy was recently named in a lawsuit after several attendees at a Tulsa "monster truck" show received chemical burns after using the company's portable toilets. It was discovered that San-O-Privy was using an experimental lye-based detergent in the toilets. The detergent has since been pulled from the market. Foyt has also recently announced that he will be running for City Comptroller of Dallas in April. "I don't know who the heck this Sergio guy is. My lawyer he told me that this Sergio guy was going to buy into the team and I said okay, you know, because in these troubled economic times you never gonna turn down new money. I did, however, tell some of my boys to do some checking into this joker. As an important businessman I cannot afford to be associated with no-good rascals," said Foyt.
Sergio has been very quiet in regards to the announcement. All he had to say was that he "love de ladies" and that "de ladies love Sergio". Several racing insiders have questioned whether Sergio's lack of comprehension of the English language will interfere with his ability to help manage the team. Another source indicated that the United States Justice Department was investigating Sergio for fraud in connection with the illegal importation of "stretch-denim" designer "Sergio Valente" blue jeans into the US. One rumor circulating was that the money Sergio invested in the team came from these illegal transactions. Mr. Foyt, Tom Spehert and Sergio will be holding a short press conference before the Deckertring Grand Prix to answer questions about the new partnership.
R.J. Foyt Purchase Mini Milwaukee Mile
R.J. Foyt Race Tracks, Inc. announced today that they had purchased the Mini Milwaukee Mile. The Mini Mile, a fixture on the H.O. open wheel schedule for years, had recently been run in conjunction between track owner Tom Spehert and the Milwaukee Mile.
"I am pleased to add such a fine facility to my considerable real estate holdings across this fine, fine, country," said Foyt from his headquarters in Dallas. "We have been in negotiations with them for a few weeks and we are pleased that we were able to get it done before the 2nd of October, which is when we will be running a race at the track."
The Mini Milwaukee Mile will be the third stop on the 2008-2009 Indy Slot Series schedule. The race had originally been scheduled as the first race of the year, but it had to be bumped down the schedule following bad weather. Foyt plans many changes at the track, including a new name for the facility.
"I am also pleased to announce that we have renamed the track. It will no longer be known as the Mini Milwaukee Mile. Henceforth, it will be known as 'R.J. Foyt's All-American Speedway' which we chose for it's All-American-ness," said Foyt.
Already, crews are at work improving the facility in preparation for next week's race. Foyt also owns Milwaukee International Speedway, which is located not too far from his new track. Track Manager, Al Peskowitz, explained that many changes are in store for the facility.
"Oh yeah, we got some of them guys out there right now. We'll, uh, we'll have them out there all night long if we have to. You know, we, uh, we got them guys putting in the new portable toilets. The ladies and the city folks like the clean portable toilets," said Peskowitz.
Foyt went on to explain his grand vision for the facility. He envisions a complete entertainment complex which will feature far more than racing.
"We plan on having a carnival next year. We had wanted it this year, but the clown union is on strike so it is simply not feasible," said Foyt. "We are planning on maybe installing a movie theater and one of those Indian casinos if we can get the details smoothed out with the state. I've got some of my best guys working on that right now."
Foyt, who entered the series as a television commentator several seasons ago, has quickly become a fixture of the sport. He became a team owner last year and this season he merged with Team Spehert to form Spehert-Foyt Racing. The new team has captured wins in the first two races this season.
"This new track is going to be the jewel in the crown for R.J. Foyt Race Tracks. We just ain't going to have one of those boring tracks. When people come to one of our tracks they're going to be entertained," explained Foyt. "They are going to go home feeling like they been entertained like they never been entertained before."
Tickets are on sale for the race at the track's box office.