ATLANTIC CITY, NJ — Three Quarter (TQ) Midget drivers Ryan Flores and Tommy Catalano left the December 30-31 Allentown, Pa. Indoor Auto Racing double header with the best results of their driving careers. It made the long ride home to North Carolina and up-state New York much quicker. The pair will now head to historical Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., on Friday and Saturday, January 27th and 28th with renewed confidence. They’ll be pre-race favorites when the 2016-2017 Indoor Auto Racing Series fueled by VP finale, the biggest race of them all – the 15th annual ‘NAPA Know How’ Gamblers Classic, is the feature attraction.
Flores, of Cornelius, N.C., swept both Allentown TQ A-Main 40-lap features, the first TQ Midget wins of his career, after finishing second no less than five times in past years. “I always come to these races with the intentions of winning,” said Flores, a full-time employee and tire changer for a Penske Racing NASCAR Cup Series team. “To win, you have to beat Erick (Rudolph) but I would like to have done it without him crashing.”
Rudolph, the defending series champion and winner of the event this year in Trenton, NJ, lost battles for the lead with Flores both nights in Allentown.
Talk about a rebound. Catalano failed to qualify for the feature field on Friday in Allentown and then nearly won on Saturday.
Catalano shocked everyone when he made a three wide-pass for the lead under Rudolph and Flores mid-way through the feature. A spinout, however, sent him to the rear but he never gave up. He drove back to finish a close second.
“This was great,” Catalano said. “I spun there all on my own while in the lead but came back through. It is a great day for me and my family.”
Anthony Sesely of Matawan, N.J., who has won four times in Atlantic City including last year’s Gambler’s Classic, is also one of the pre-event favorites.
Atlantic City will determine the champions of the Indoor Auto Racing Series. Flores is the leader in the TQs over Rudolph. Cale Ross has a thirty point spread on Champ Kart point’s runner-up DJ Doyle, and Kurt Bettler has a five point advantage over Danny Buccafusca in the Slingshot class standings. Points are earned in time trials, and heat races in addition to the features.
The schedule of events starts Friday, January 27 with practice at 1:00 pm followed by time trials at 4:30.
Spectator gates open on Friday at 6:30 pm with racing starting at 7:30. The feature attraction will be four 20 lap events for the TQ Midgets with the fastest qualifiers in each event starting in the seventh starting position! Results from time trials held earlier in the afternoon and these races will then set guaranteed starters for Saturday’s Gambler’s Classic as well as important qualifier starting spots. The Slingshots and Champ Karts will also run a series of qualifying races.
The grandstand Saturday opens at 5:00 pm with FanFest taking place on the racing floor for those holding reserved seats. Racing starts at 7:00 pm with a series of TQ Midget qualifiers and a TQ Dash followed by features for the Champ Karts, Slingshots and then the 40 lap TQ Midget Gambler’s Classic.
Ticket prices for Friday are as follows: Front Row: $25 · Reserved Lower Level: $20 · Upper Level Reserved: $17 · General Admission Adult: $15 · General Admission Children: $5. Tickets will be available on the day of the event with a $5 increased price. Saturday ticket pricing has been set as follows: Front Row: $35 · Reserved Lower Level: $27 · Upper Level Reserved: $22 · General Admission Adult: $20 · General Admission Children: $5. Prices do not include $2 facility fee or online ticketing fees.
-Len Sammons Motorsports Productions
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com/MoJo Photos