ATLANTIC CITY, NJ — Justin Bonsignore, Ted Christopher, Zane Zeiner and Mike Iles hit Big Casino Friday inside Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall by winning the four 20-lap A-Main TQ Midget Qualifiers that were the highlight of Friday’s program of Indoor Auto Racing. Their wins guaranteed each a starting spot in Saturday’s Gambler’s Classic 40-lap headliner which offers a $5,000 first place prize.
Bonsignore and Christopher were the winners of the first two TQ Midget 20-lap A-Main Qualifiers. Bonsignore passed race leader Jimmy Blewett to win the first race, then held off Ryan Tidman and Blewett to secure the win.
“Jimmy was really tight in the corners and I was able to set him up,” Bonsignore said. “Great to win it.”
Christopher overcame an early race penalty for overly aggressive driving, then outran Ryan Flores and Ryan Preece to win.
“It doesn’t mean much really,” Christopher said. “Other than getting in the feature.”
In the third and fourth races, Zane Zeiner and Mike Iles were the victors. Zeiner passed leader Earl Paules twice, once for the lead and a second time when a spin negated the pass and Zeiner had to do it a second time.
“We have changed everything on this car more than once,” Zeiner said. “The track is pretty good for us now. I hope it stays that way.”
Iles outran Matt Janisch to win the fourth race. Iles the only dirt track winner this night, had previously announced his intention to stop racing Dirt Modifieds.
“These cars are physical,” said a tired but smiling Iles. “I have sold off the Modifieds but I think I’ll spend a few more years driving these cars.”
Earlier in TQ Midget time trials, Bonsignore led the 72 car field with a 7.975 time, close to, but just shy of Erick Rudolph’s 2016 standard. Ted Christopher, Zane Zeiner, Matt Janisch and Erick Rudolph rounded out the top five TQ Midgets time trials.
Slingshots and Champ also figured in the Friday action.
Cole Hentschel, Vern McLaughlin III and Cody Kline won the three heat races. Brett Bieber’s 9.789 time bested a 38-car field.
Mike Perry, Richie Spaide, and Ryan Swartz claimed the three Champ Kart qualifiers. Zach Myers with a 9.411 lap, was fastest Champ Kart qualifier at 9.411. Forty-three took time. Several Champ Kart entrants were docked a lap in qualifying after Indoor Auto Racing Series found irregularities in their tires preparation.
The NAPA Know How Racing Weekend in Boardwalk Hall continues tomorrow, Saturday, with the running of the 15th annual Gambler’s Classic. Champ Karts and Slingshots will also compete in feature races.
-Indoor Auto Racing Series Press Release. Photo credit: Kevin Nobley