2013-14 Round 13
Stardust 500 - Stardust Speedway, Vegas, Greendale, Wi
February 27, 2014
Round 13 of 16
Kamikawa Breaks Through
Vegas – Ev Kamikawa ended a nearly two year dry spell winning the Stardust 500 as he held off the hard charging Target Fitz Ganassi driver, Mike Fitzlaff. Rookie Corey Galbraith in just the second start of his career made the final and finished third, much will be expected from a such fast start to his career, while the second Target Fitz Ganassi car of Mike Kristof was just happy to find himself amongst the finalists.
The heat races showed how tight the competition can be on the Vegas tri-oval as points leader Mike Lack missed his first final in seven races to finish fifth, just ahead of his JMM Racing Teammate John Wiedemann. Hometown favorite Chris Spehert could manage just a seventh place finish in only his second start of the season and ahead of his teammate and father, Tom, who also was making just his second start of the 13-14 season. Dan Margetta struggled on the tight oval to finish ninth and pole sitter Matt Hayek touched wheels coming out of turn four in his heat and spun off the track and out of the race to finish last.
WHAT: Stardust 500
WHERE: Greendale, WI
WHEN: Thursday, February 27, 2014 7pm
U.S. TELEVISION SCHEDULE: MBC Slotcar Network, YouTube
2013 CHAMPION: Dean Strom
2013 POLESITTER: Dan Margetta
TRACK LAYOUT: Short Oval
RACE LENGTH: 500 laps
EVENT RECORDS: Qualifying – 2012 – Mike Fitzlaff – 7.843
Lap – 2007 – Mark Walczak – 1.703
Race – 2012 – Dean Strom – 15:32.643
Margin of Victory – Closest – 2010 & 07 – Chris Spehert & Jim Iverson – 2 laps;
Largest – 2013 – Dean Strom – 30 laps
RACE ROUND: 13 of 16 in the 2013-2014 IndySlotCar Series
Little Las Vegas, NV – Defending race winner, Dean Strom powered by the competition and brought home the trophy again in Las Vegas, winning the Stardust 400 IndySlotCar Series event at the Stardust International Raceway. Matt Hayek finished eleventh.
Opening the event, drama ensued when track owner RJ Foyt arrived after announcing in the media that if one of his drivers, Matt Hayek or Mike Kristof, didn't win the event, one of them would be fired and leave the track immediately.
Qualifying at the high-speed short oval set the field based on a combined time of a four lap run. While most drivers had issues during their trips around the track, Dan Margetta blistered the track on each lap and won the pole with a 8.95 second run. Matt Hayek didn't do as well as Margetta, so he did not win the pole.
The theme of the night proved to be "don't lead early". Matt Hayek led the opening heat race but fell back through the pack and finally pulled out of the race with handling issues. Whether it was the difficulty in turning fast laps or the pressure from the owner to win, Matt Hayek now had to rely on teammate Kristof to save their jobs. Strom took advantage of Hayek's issues and captured the win in the heat race. Pole sitter Margetta struggled to finish second followed by Amy Butler.In the second heat race, Tom Spehert led laps early but also fell back as eventual winner Mike Fitlaff and Ev Kamikawa made their way past. Kristof dropped to the back of the pack and finished fourth, ending his night and somebody's job. Matt Hayek did not compete in this heat race.
In the final heat race, points leader Mark Walczak led the field but the lane switch at halfway didn't treat him well. Mike Lack grabbed the lead and Walczak was left to chase the pace of Kamikawa who held the "transfer to the feature" spot after the prior heat race. Time ran out and Walczak was unable to obtain the needed laps To pass Kamikawa, leaving him out of the feature. John Wiedemann was never able to find speed on the track and the second place driver in the points missed the feature race as well, finishing fourth behind Chris Spehert. Matt Hayek did not compete in this heat race either.
During the intermission, RJ Foyt took center stage and fliiped a coin to see which driver he would fire. Kristof won the coin flip and was immediately terminated. In a showing of solidarity, and probably looking for a way to get his name in the media, Matt Hayek also quit the team. The amazing stage show, live at the track and on TV, left two drivers without a ride and a team without drivers. Look for more news on this amazing outcome in the next two weeks.
The field was set for the Startdust 400 with the third, fourth and fifth place drivers in the point standings looking to make up some ground on the top two leaders. Early in the race, Kamikawa looked strong while holding the lead over Strom, Fitzlaff and Lack. KVHO teammates Fitzlaff and Lack struggled early with speed while Strom picked up the pace to chase down the leader. Kamikawa held an eight lap lead over Strom at the halfway break with Fitzlaff minus seventeen and Lack twenty laps back. Matt Hayek was an assistant track marshall in the feature.
Everything fell apart for the Panther HO driver during the halfway pitstop. Kamikawa's crew had problems in the pits forcing a lengthy stop and then a pitroad speeding penalty brought the incenced driver back in for a stop and go. Adding to his grief, Kamikawa encountered issues with the outside groove of the track and the race was red flagged to make repairs. Taking advantage like a gambler counting cards, TMWR pilot Strom made his move to the front and dominated the rest of the race all the way to the checkers. Fitzlaff found the sweet spot with his ride and rocketed to second while Lack overtook Kamikawa and captured the final spot on the podium. Kamikawa was left to wonder where his Vegas luck had gone. Matt Hayek was barred from participating in the feature event.
Even with typical Vegas luck, Walczak was able to increase his point lead over Wiedemann to a lucky thirteen points with two events left to contest in the IndySlotCar Series season. Fitzlaff, with his second place finish, tightened the gap between second and third to twenty-two points. With his first race win since last year at this same event, Strom returned to fourth in the standings, jumping back over Kamikawa by eleven points. Matt Hayek is seventh in the points.
STARDUST 400 HISTORY (7 events, 2006 - Present)
Date Race Winner Event Name Track
9/28/2006 Jim Iverson Reinhart FoodService 400 Milwaukee International
9/27/2007 Jim Iverson Reinhart FoodService 400 Milwaukee International
9/18/2008 Mike Fitzlaff Reinhart FoodService 400 Milwaukee International
10/8/2009 Ev Kamikawa Reinhart FoodService 400 Milwaukee International
10/7/2010 Chris Spehert Reinhart FoodService 400 Milwaukee International
2/2/2012 Dean Strom Stardust 400 Stardust Speedway
3/14/2013 Dean Strom Stardust 400 Stardust Speedway
Most Wins – 2-Dean Strom, Jim Iverson
--Dean Strom will not be at Stardust Speedway to defend his back to back wins.
--Dungeons & Dragon Racing scored their first ever 1-2 finish at the Quarryfest Deslotmania, including Matt Hayek winning from the pole.
--Dan Margetta has continues his streak of making finals, now up to 9 in a row
--Mike Lack holds a 79 point lead in the Husarsbilt Cup championship.
--Matt Hayek moves to a ties for 17th in all-time wins with John Baas with 3; Hayek also moves to 16th in all-time pole positions with 4; he also equals Baas at 19th in all-time final appearances with 17.
--Mike Kristof moves to a tie for 17th with Tony Perkins for all-time finals appearances with 19.
--Both Mike Lack and John Wiedemann’s DNFs at Quarry Heights breaks them out of a three-way tie with Chris Spehert into 14th all-time both with 17.