ATLANTIC CITY, NJ — Though the winds blew, the snow flew and the tide rose last weekend in Atlantic City, historic Boardwalk Hall and all roads leading to it are open. And thus the NAPA Know How Racing Weekend, highlighted by Saturday night’s Gambler’s Classic for Three Quarter (TQ) Midgets will go on as scheduled.
“Our drivers and our officials are ready to go racing,” said Len Sammons, President of Len Sammons Motorsports Productions (LSMP), organizer for the fourteenth annual races held inside Boardwalk Hall.
Nearly two hundred drivers are ready to hit the concrete eighth-mile oval, running in three classes. The TQ Midgets are the main class. The lightning fast machines require a fine touch to navigate through the heavy traffic that accompanies these races.
Five of the eight past winners of Saturday night TQ main event – the Gambler’s Classic are entered for the 2016 running.
Erick Rudolph, Ransomville, N.Y. is the defending race winner; he also won in 2012. Anthony Sesely, Hazlet, N.J. won the 2014 and 2013 races while Ted Christopher, Plainville, Ct., scored wins in 2011 and 2009.
No driver has more experience in the field than does 2010 and 2006 race winner Lou Cicconi, Jr. of Aston, Pa. Cicconi will be driving as a teammate to Christopher. He will also be involved as the owner of a four-car team of revolutionary TQ Midgets to be driven by Pa. Dirt Modified super star Jeff Strunk, nationally known Midget Car driver Alex Bright, Ohio Sprint Car driver John Ivy and long-time USAC competitor Russ Gamester of Indiana. The radically designed cars have raced only once before, on Jan. 2 in Allentown, Pa., where results were mixed.
Joey Payne of Fairlawn, N.J., winner of the 2007 and 2004 Gamblers’s Classic races is also an entrant along with his teenage son, Anthony, an accomplished full size Midget driver.
All told, nearly 100 TQ Midget teams will be in the pit area for the weekend of racing.
This, coupled with full fields of Champ Karts and Slingshots, means that the fourteenth annual LSMP event has the potential to break all records for number of team entries.
Rudolph, the winner of the Indoor Auto Racing Championship Series Fueled By VP Racing Fuels opener January 2 in Allentown, Pa., will be racing for the highest stakes. If Rudolph wins the Saturday night race in Atlantic City, he’ll remain eligible to receive a $10,000 bonus prize posted by Vahlco Racing Wheels. If he then wins the Saturday night, February 27th Battle Of Trenton series finale.
The weekend schedule for Atlantic City calls for the TQ Midgets, Slingshot and Champ Karts to hit the track for time trials on Friday afternoon, setting the stage for Friday night’s racing action. A newly designed points system will be used for Friday night’s events that will thrill the fans with the faster qualifiers starting deep in the field. The top 80 TQ Midgets from time trials will be split into four 20 car, 20 lap qualifying events with the fastest qualifier in each race starting 10th. The winners of those events and the top five combined point earners from time trials and the qualifying races will lock themselves into Saturday night’s A-Main.
On Saturday night the TQ Midgets will run six heat races and three B-mains to fill out the 24 car starting field for the 40 Gambler’s Classic A-Main.
The Champ Karts and Slingshots will run preliminary qualifying races on Friday night, final last chance races Saturday afternoon and feature races Saturday night. Both classes will run 25-lap feature races with 24 starters to take the green flag.
Reserved seat tickets for the NAPA Know How Racing Weekend inside Boardwalk Hall are still available but in limited quantity. There are plenty of general admission seats that remain for sale.
Tickets are available from the Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall Box office, all Ticketmaster offices and online at www.ticketmaster.com. To order by phone, call Ticketmaster at 1-800-736-1420 or 1-800-745-3000.
-Len Sammons Motorsports Productions Press Release. Photo credit: Rick Ibsen/Speed51.com