Bethel, NY – This weekend the Hoosier Mid-Atlantic ATQMRA powered by VP Racing Fuel took a scenic trip up to the Catskills, NY for the first event of the year at Bethel Motor Speedway. This was a special night for the ATQMRA, as the history of Pine Brook Speedway was celebrated amongst the pit area.
A buzz was in the air prior to the cars hitting the track, as the news broke Friday afternoon that ATQMRA Champion Mike Tidaback would be in attendance with his wife Renee and son Mikey Jr. Tidaback, who is still recovering from an on-track incident in this year’s annual Gambler Classic in Atlantic City, NJ, was in great spirits at the track this evening. Tidaback, along with his son Mikey not only gave the command to fire engines for the 30-lap feature event, but also enjoyed three parade laps in the speedway’s pace car to the delight of the crowd. Tidaback’s #11 modified which he most recently raced at Wall Stadium Speedway was on hand to pace the field of ATQMRA competitors as well.
The Mullen family, with son Cole led the field to green with his father Ronnie starting on the outside front-row. Heat race #1 winner Matt Janisch started 7th, and heat race #2 winner Joey Bailey started both due to handicapping.
The action was fierce right from the drop of the green flag as multi-car incident involving the likes of unofficial teammates Kris Graver and Matt Janisch resulted in Graver facing the wrong way in the speedway’s infield just shy of the first corner. Graver would retire from the event as Janisch would continue on. Buddy Sload was plagued with engine issues during his heat race, and the issues continued into the feature. During the caution laps prior to what would be a complete restart of the event, Sload’s Spitfire Chassis would also retire from the event without officially completing a lap.
The drivers did not skip a beat as Brick, New Jersey’s Cole Mullen led the field back to the green flag and showed strength in the early going. However, C. Mullen was no match for both Joey Bailey and Ryan Tidman, who would soon overtake Mullen for the top spot.
For much of the race, the battle for the lead was between Bailey, Tidman and Janisch. With even times of side by side action for the lead, the leaders put on quite the show as they began to slice and dice through lapped traffic.
The second and final caution of the evening was displayed with seventeen laps remaining, as Dave Williams, making his 2018 ATQMRA debut found himself in trouble in the middle of turns one and two.
This caution would set the stage for a thrilling restart, featuring a drag race between Bailey and Tidman down the backstretch on the first green flag lap following the restart. Bailey would eventually clear Tidman off of turn four and never look back. Janisch would make a late charge for the lead in the closing laps but was no match for Bailey. This would result in the third, second place finish for Janisch in four ATQMRA events this season.
Joey Bailey would ultimately capture an emotional victory on the eve of his 21stbirthday. This was Bailey’s first ATQMRA feature win since his victory at Stafford Motor Speedway in October of 2016. Furthermore, Bailey earned his first trophy racing for Alan Mollot.
As for other notables from the event, Ronnie Mullen had his most impressive showing of the year as he showed speed throughout the entire day. After finishing second in his heat race, R. Mullen brought his Spitfire Chassis home in sixth, his best finish to date this season.
Mark Yoder returned after a one race absence as he attended the Indianapolis 500 with his family this past Memorial Day. Yoder, who overcame an oil leak during the first practice session, finished a respectable seventh.
Paul Dodorico made his second start of the season in his home state of New York brought his car home in eighth. Dodorico, showed great improvement from his first career ATQMRA start at Wall Stadium last month as he continues to progress in his first season racing TQ Midgets.
Through four events this year, the Hoosier Mid-Atlantic ATQMRA powered by VP Racing Fuel has featured four different feature winners. The series now heads into the off-week prior to the fifth race on the 2018 calendar at Mahoning Valley Speedway, PA on June 30th, 2018.
1. #48 Matt Janisch
2. #1B Ryan Tidman
3. #51 Kris Graver
4. #73x Cole Mullen
5. #55 Paul Dodorico
6. #11 Dave Williams
1. #51B Joey Bailey
2. #17 Ronnie Mullen
3. #48 Tim Proctor
4. #36 Buddy Sload
5. #75 Mark Yoder
1. #51B Joey Bailey
2. #48 Matt Janisch
3. #1B Ryan Tidman
4. #98 Tim Proctor
5. #73x Cole Mullen
6. #17 Ronnie Mullen
7. #75 Mark Yoder
8. #55 Paul Dodorico
9. #11 Dave Williams
10. #36 Buddy Sload
11. #51 Kris Graver