Recently received entries for this coming weekend’s    NAPA Know How Gambler’s Classic in Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., have pushed the field of Three Quarter (TQ) Midgets to nearly 100 men and machines.

This, coupled with full fields of Champ Karts and Slingshots, means that the fourteenth annual Len Sammons Motorsports Productions (LSMP) has the potential to break all records for number of team entries.

Heading the list is an 18-car contingent of cars built by upstate New York whiz Mark Lafler, whose cars have come to dominate the VP Indoor TQ Series over the past five years.

His reign as the master car builder is being challenged by Lou Cicconi, Jr. who will be fielding four new John Bodnar-engineered, BJ  MacDonald-built cars that performed well in their first runs in Allentown, Pa.’s Indoor Race.

Alex Bright, an ARDC Midget standout, is a top Cicconi car contender. He successfully qualified for the Allentown A-Main, the only one of the three Cicconi entries in the first Series race to do so. Modified driver Jeff Strunk, Ohio Sprint Car pilot John Ivy and Midwestern Sprint and Midget standout Russ Gamester are slated to run the other three Cicconi owned cars.

Cicconi has decided to enter a fifth car after he was notified on January 20 by Rico Abreu that he would not be racing in Atlantic City as had been originally intended.

“The demands for my NASCAR commitments are higher than I anticipated,” Abreu texted Cicconi. “I am truly sorry, I feel awful.”

Abreu, on January 14 signed a contract to drive full time in the 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

Erick Rudolph, the unofficial leader of the Lafler-brigade, and 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 14th Annual NAPA AUTO PARTS TQ Midget feature 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 main event.

“I’m the only one with a chance to win it,” said Rudolph, who won the 2015 Gambler’s Classic  race in Atlantic City’s Bo 100ardwalk Hall and the February, 2014 Battle Of Trenton event in Trenton’s Sun Bank Center.

“But these races are tough to win. It depends on how you qualify, and on which gear you choose to run. The car I run in Boardwalk Hall will be set up the same as it was for the Allentown race,” Rudolph revealed.

With close to 100 TQ s expected in Atlantic City, winning the Valhco Perfect Performance Bonus won’t be easy.

“I would say any of the drivers who made the invert in Allentown would be the guys to beat in Atlantic City,” Rudolph reasoned.

They included Ryan Flores, Mike Lichty, Jimmy Blewett, Anthony Sesely, Ted Christopher, Lou Cicconi, Jr., Andy Jankowiak and Rudolph.  All but Flores are past Indoor race winners in the LSMP series events.

The Atlantic City race meet is the second of three events in the Indoor Auto Racing Championship Series Fueled By VP Racing Fuels, run under the Len Sammons Motorsports Productions (LSMP). Racing in Trenton, N.J. on February 26 and 27 completes the Series.

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 to reward the TQ Midgets for time trial performance and finishing position in Friday night’s qualifying races.

The top 80 TQ Midgets from time trials will be split into four 20 car, 20 lap qualifying events.  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 features 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.

 

– Ernie Saxton Communications/A.C. Indoor Racing press release

– Photo credit: Speed51.com/Rick Ibsen

Nearly 100 TQ Entrants Signed Up for Atlantic City