2013-14 Round 15
March Madness - Turtle Creek Raceway, Brookfield, WI
March 27, 2014
Round 15 of 16
Kamikawa Conquers Madness At Turtle Creek
Brookfield – Round fifteen of the IndySlotCar Series lived up to its billing as March Madness. Everet Kamikawa scored his second victory of the season with a come from behind "upset" of the top runners at the ultra fast Turtle Creek Raceway.
Qualifying was tight with the top seven drivers within a tenth of a second and the top two only four thousandths apart. When the smoke cleared, John Wiedemann had captured his second pole award of the season just barely, slightly and minutely edging out Karen Carpenter Racing driver Dean Strom.
Heat racing was a different story for Strom as he struggled with handling and obstacles on the track. Matt Hayek grabbed the heat win and set himself in the Final for the sixth time this season with Strom barely, slightly and minutely holding on to the provisional transfer position. Pole sitter Wiedemann cruised to a win in the second heat race as both hometown hero Larry Rotter and Mike Kristof struggled to find the balance of speed and handling. Kristof's streak of three finals in a row was crushed. Mike Lack made it a JMM Racing sweep in the finals by winning the third heat race. Behind Lack, a furious battle for the transfer spot was in play all race long. Penske HO's Kamikawa and Amy Butler, running a JMM Racing chassis, swapped second spot back and forth with Kamikawa coming out on top with a lead of just 4.6 inches when the race ended.
Lack grabbed the lead from Kamikawa early in the final as Hayek struggled with traction and Wiedemann stalled the car when the green flag flew. With the points championship wrapped up, Lack was just racing for the win and flew around the track lapping second place as handling issues crept in for Kamikawa. D&D Racing's Hayek continued to struggle between losing control and setting the fastest laps of the race. Wiedemann recovered from the bad start and raced past Kamikawa for second place, setting his sights on his teammate for the lead. At halfway, Lack led by a lap over Wiedemann with Kamiakawa a couple more laps behind. The second half was where the madness and downfall of JMM Racing entered the picture.
Leader Lack was the first to enter the pits and that would be where he finished. Lack's "kryptonite" once again reared its ugly head as the "death card" was dealt and Lack's race was done. Wiedemann entered the pits next and left in just eight seconds with a flawless pitstop to take the race lead. Kamikawa and Hayek also had routine stops and continued. With a four lap lead over Kamikawa, Wiedemann settled into a race pace running the same lap times as the second place driver. Then disaster hit. Racing down the front stretch, Wiedemann crossed the start/finish line, flew off the track, hit the bridge and landed on the floor. Distraction, loss of concentration and a driver mistake cost Wiedemann the win. A couple laps later, Kamikawa assumed the lead and cruised to the finish with the victory.
The win was Kamikawa's 36th of his IndySlotCar career and ties him for second all-time with current competitor Dan Margetta and retired series founder Phil Cianciola.
Hayek's second place run was his second in a row and now moves him to within two points of Dan Margetta in a battle for third place in the standings. Kamikawa also is within striking distance of third as he is twelve points back with one race to go.
Next week the teams return to the track to wrap up the 2013-14 IndySlotCar season and take on the HO Indy 500 at South Shore Speedway on Saturday, April 5th. JMM Racing's Mike Fitzlaff, currently on medical leave, is the defending champion and hopes to return to the series to make it two Indy 500 victories in a row.
WHAT: March Madness
WHERE: Brookfield, WI
WHEN: Thursday, March 27, 2014 7pm
U.S. TELEVISION SCHEDULE: MBC Slotcar Network, YouTube
2013 CHAMPION: Larry Rotter
2013 POLESITTER: Larry Rotter
TRACK LAYOUT: Natural Terrain Road Course
RACE LENGTH: 20 minutes
TRACK RECORDS: Qualifying – 2005 – Larry Rotter – 3.023
Race – 2005, ’06, ‘10 – Larry Rotter, Mark Walczak (x2) – 300 laps
Margin of Victory – Closest – 2008 – Mark Walczak – 2 laps;
Largest – 2006 – Walczak – 29 laps
RACE ROUND: 15 of 16 in the 2013-2014 IndySlotCar Series
Brookfield, WI – Hall of Fame driver Larry Rotter is semi-retired and the rest of the IndySlotCar Series drivers are happy about his status. Rotter took advantage of his home track and the rest of the field by putting on a racing clinic while dominating the March Madness race at the ultra-fast Turtle Creek Park road course, round fifteen of the sixteen race 2012-13 IndySlotCar Series season.
"Larry [Rotter] was racing a rocketship tonight," said John Wiedemann. "Each time he passed me, I dang near lost control in his wake. I love the challenge of racing with him but he whooped our butts tonight."
A precursor to the rest of the night, Rotter was blisteringly fast in practice and continued his pace into the qualifying session with the quickest time in qualifying. Rotter captured the pole with a lap of 3.285 seconds in his open-class speedster.
The opening heat race was no challenge for Rotter. First, race leader Mike Lack lost control of his KVHO ride and flew off the track. Then, seventeen laps later, Ev Kamikawa crashed his Panther HO IndySlotCar while trying to chase down leader Rotter. The only driver left in the field, Rotter cruised to the finish line to rest his motor and wait for the feature race.
Continuing on the theme, the second heat race started with a DNF in between the first and second turns. Mike Kristof, who was fired from the RJ Foyt team along with teammate and defending fifth place race champion Matt Hayek at the last event, hammered the throttle into turn one and flew off the track ending his night with zero laps. Butler-Margetta team driver Amy Butler, making her fifth start of the season, battled TMWR racer Mark Walcak the rest of the race and finished just four laps back and grabbed the provisional transfer spot.
Heat Race three started out as a three way battle between defending fifth place race champion Matt Hayek, Dan Margetta and KVHO driver John Wiedemann. All throughout the first half of the race, the three drivers exchanged the lead and many laps ran "side by each". Starting the second half, Margetta struggled with the lane change and ended his night by slamming into the bridge and careening off the track. As defending fifth place race champion Matt Hayek struggled with an increasingly loose handling racecar, Wiedemann took control of the race and grabbed the checkers to transfer to the feature race. Defending fifth place race champion Matt Hayek continued to battle his ill-handling car to try and steal the transfer spot away from Butler but came up four laps short as time ran out, leaving him to an overall finish of... fifth place.
The feature race immediately hit a fast and furious pace after the green flag flew with Rotter and Walczak proving to be the class of the field. Exchanging the lead numerous times throughout the opening ten minutes session, the top two quickly distanced themselves of third place Wiedemann and fourth place Butler. Rotter led early with tenth of a second quicker laps than Walczak, but Walczak found his pace and powered past to lead by two laps over Rotter at the halfway break. Pitstops slowed Walczak as his crew kept him in the box for 20 seconds. Rotter's crew was ten seconds quicker and after the pitstop he grabbed the lead away from Walczak. Struggling with handling after the pitstop, Walczak spun numerous times to open the door for championship contender Wiedemann, but Wiedemann had his own struggles and couldn't capitalize. Rotter never looked back, pulling away from the field by ten laps to take the win. Walczak in second, Wiedemann in third and Butler in fourth completed the field.
In the championship picture Walczak continued to add to the points gap between himself and Wiedemann, now at eighteen, as he continues his quest for a fifth Husarsbilt Cup. KVHO driver Mike Fitzlaff missed this event, dropping out of the chase for the cup but maintained third place. Other point standings moves saw Kamikawa moving into fourth ahead of Dean Strom who also missed the race. Kamikawa, the defending champion of the HO Indy 500, announced that he will miss this year's event and also noted that he will be moving from the Panther HO team to Penske HO for the 2013-14 season. With only one race to go in the 2012-13 season Matt Hayek is twenty-eight points out of fifth place in the point standings.
MARCH MADNESS HISTORY (11 events, 2003 - Present)
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
Most Wins – 4-Larry Rotter, Mark Walczak
Mike Lack has already clinched the Husarsbilt Cup season championship but down the points chart there are still important battles, including the 5 point gap from John Wiedemann back to Dan Margetta for second place. While Matt Hayek sits in 4th just 21 points behind Margetta and Ev Kamikawa is 19 in back of Hayek, Mike Kristof sits in 6th just 10 point arrears of Kamikawa.
--Dungeons & Dragon Racing has put two drivers on the podium two of the last three races
--Mike Kristof has made the final in the last three races
--Mike Lack won his fifth race of the season at The Shrine Cup and his first win since the Christmas Classic at the same track
--Mike Kristof is the only driver in the top nine in points without a win this season.
--Mike Lack’s win at The Shrine moves him into a four-way tie for eighth in all time wins with eight, equaling Mike Fitzlaff, John Shea and Jim Iverson.
--Matt Hayek scored his tenth career heat win tying him with Amy Butler for 19th all-time; he also moved to 19th in finals appearances with 18.
--Mike Kristof cracked 25,000 career laps at The Shrine and passed Dave Austin for 11th place all-time.
--John Wiedemann moved ahead of Amy Butler for 17th in all-time laps turned with 15,915.
--Mike Lack cracks the top 20 in all-time starts with 87.