ATLANTIC CITY, NJ — The last three times Three Quarter (TQ) Midgets have raced inside Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall, nearly 100 drivers and teams tried their best for the checkered flag.
Yet one man, Anthony Sesely of Hazlet, N.J., defied the odds to win all three TQ Midget features, including the last two Gamblers Classics.
Sesely’s challengers will renew their battle on January 30-31. But Sesely will be no slouch: has a secret weapon, a new car. “It’s an updated version of the Hyper chassis I have been running,” Sesely said. “But this one has been better thought out. It’s a lot cleaner, the cockpit has more room, and I think it will be easier to drive faster.”
Sesely’s Hyper will have a new Dave Orange-built engine, also an evolution of his prior power plant.
Yet Sesely has one element of concern heading into the NAPA KNOW HOW Race Weekend. The early week winter storm caused him to miss valuable preparation time on his car. Sesely spent hours plowing snow through Tuesday night. “I’ll be ready,” Sesely said. “But I’m not sure if I can get the car lettered in time.”
Sesely is also hedging his bets: the triple-winning older model car is coming to Atlantic City as a backup lest anything go awry. “It’s a new car, never been raced and I need some laps,” the driver said. “It’s my intention to run the new car but have the old car along just in case I need it.”
Sesely and his TQ rivals will be joined inside Boardwalk Hall by the Lentini Auto Salvage (LAS) Slingshots and Champ Karts. Both support classes will complete their qualifying events on Friday night in preparation for Saturday’s feature races.
The race meet culminates with the thirteenth running of the Gamblers Classic on January 31, a 40-lap TQ Midget test.
All told, more than 200 cars and drivers are expected to be part of the Len Sammons Motorsports Productions (LSMP) NAPA KNOW HOW Race Weekend.
WMGM Radio will be broadcasting live from the lobby of Boardwalk Hall on Friday beginning at 5:30pm.
Sesely’s main rivals on the TQ side include ATQMRA 2014 TQ Midget champion Matt Janisch of Nazareth, Pa., Ryan Tidman of Levittown, Pa., who has won four prior American Three Quarter Midget Racing Association (ATQMRA) championships, Ted Christopher of Plainville, Ct., the most prolific TQ Indoor race winner in the history of LSMP-promoted events, Christopher’s new-for-this-race teammate Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville, N.Y., NASCAR rising star Ryan Preece of Berlin, Ct., Garden Stater Jimmy Blewett of Howell, N.J., past Gamblers Classic race Erick Rudolph of Ransomville, N.Y., recent Battle Of Trenton winner Andy Jankowiak of Buffalo N.Y and Earl Paules of Kunkletown, Pa., a Pennsylvania asphalt short track specialist.
Ryan Flores of Davidson, N.C., who was second in the Battle Of Trenton, is an entrant who bears watching. The New Jersey native works full time on Joey Logano’s Roger Penske-owned NASCAR Sprint Cup team. Flores will be assisted at the race by Corey Lajoie, a fast rising NASCAR aspirant.
LaJoie’s father Randy has posted bonus awards for Saturday night’s Gamblers Classic TQ events for if driver who the race is using a Joie Of Seating seat or restraint system.
Though the TQ Midgets will dominate the NAPA KNOW HOW Race Weekend action, Lentini Auto Salvage Slingshots and Champ Karts will share center stage Saturday night when the pair of classes run their feature events. Both classes will run the bulk of their qualifying Friday night.
LAS Slingshot favorites include Kurt Bettler of Hellertown, Pa., Brett Bieber of Oley, Pa., Trenton Slingshot feature winner Gary Hieber of Langhorne, Pa. Jim Housworth of Riegelsville, Pa., Vern McLaughlin III of Whitehouse, N.J., Tim Paul of Stony Point, N.Y., Michael Sabia Jr., of Easton, Ct., Nick Shaw of Chatham, N.J., Steve Svanda of Allentown, Pa. and AJ Gerhart of Myerstown, Pa.
Champ Karts, with sixty entries, will be headed by recent Indoor Race winners Anthony Colandro of Albertson, N.Y., and Trenton winners Chris Daley of Pleasant Valley, N.Y., and Justin Gumley of Howell, N.J.
Choice tickets for the event are available at the Boardwalk Hall Box Office, all Ticketmaster locations and online at www.ticketmaster.com.
Advance purchase, lower level ticket holders are invited to Fanfest on Saturday night starting at 5pm, for an opportunity to walk the track and meet the drivers before the racing kicks off at 7pm.
For more event info visit www.aarn.com or call the Len Sammons office at 609-888-3618.
-Len Sammons Motorsports Productions Press Release. Photo credit: Pete MacDonald