Wall Stadium, Wall TownshipNJSaturday April 23, 2016
2014 ATQMRA Rookie of the year Geoffrey Sutton parked the Metz Driver Development BGF Engine 461 in Victory lane at the season opening race at Wall Stadium earning his first career ATQMRA victory. Heat races were won by Pat VanVarick and Flying Ryan Tidman. The Brice's NAPA Auto Parts Clean Start products were handed out to teams at Wall. The Bob Emmons MNO season long Hard Charger program will be back in place for the 2016 season. Next up for the ATQMRA is a trip Mahoning Valley to blister the circular oval in winged competition on Saturday April 30th. Rookie Eligible Pat VanVarick was the highest finishing rookie giving him the Rookie Points lead.
The first heat race was won by Pat VanVarick in his Hyper Hugger Micro Sprint. He charged from his fourth starting position to the lead and fended off the Challenges of Geoffrey Sutton on several restarts. The first heat was slowed by a series of flips by 2015 ATQMRA Rookie of the Year Mike Glaser who went for a high side tumble coming out of the fourth turn. Somehow the car was unharmed in the incident and Glaser returned to finish the heat. Matt Roselli was third followed by 2015 Champion Buddy Sload, 2014 Champion Matt Janisch and 1998 club Champ Jon Gambutti rounded out the drivers eligible for the feature redraw.
The second heat was never seriously in doubt as Ryan Tidman started from the pole by the luck of the draw and outpaced Jeff Kot and Joey Bailey. Brett Conklin, Ron Mullen and Anthony Payne rounded out the qualifiers to be in the Feature redraw.
The feature saw a front row of Anthony Payne and Matt Roselli bring the field down to the green with Roselli using the outside lane to gain the lead through one and two. Geoffrey Sutton followed Roselli into second and turned under Roselli coming out of turn four to lead the first lap and was scored in the lead the remainder of the race.
It wasn't quite that easy however. A lap three caution bunched the field but Sutton was able to maintain the lead and open a gap on second running Roselli. As Sutton started negotiating lap traffic Roselli and a hard charging Ryan Tidman closed to within striking distance of. The three would dice their way though traffic until lap 22 when Roselli would end up turned around coming out of the fourth turn. Sutton would have a pair of tigers on his tail on the ensuing restart with perennial ATQMRA Championship contenders Tidman and Janisch hot on his heels. Sutton was able to fend off Tidman's Challenges and win by a tight .163 seconds. Janisch was third followed by Jeff Kot and VanVarick. Joey Bailey rolled across the line sixth with rookie Mark Yoder seventh. Matt Roselli would recover from his spin to finish eighth Followed by Wall Stadium's Fan Voted Most popular driver and rookie of the year eligible Ronnie the Rocket Mullen with Mike Glaser posting a top ten.
Special thanks goes out to Bill Brice of Brice's NAPA Auto Parts of nearby Freehold, NJ. They are back supporting the ATQMRA with their Clean Start program once again in 2016. They provided each team in attendance with a NAPA 5 gallon bucket containing carb and brake cleaner a roll of shop rags hand cleaner and Mother's Spray wax to help keep the competition clean and looking good.
Bob Emmons has also returned to help support the ATQMRA with the MNO $500.00 Hard Charger award that was presented in 2015 to ATQMRA Champion Buddy Sload. Racers earn passing points by advancing from their feature starting position.
ATQMRA News and Notes: The ATQMRA was eighteen strong for the season opener. Tim Proctor had his beautifully prepared 98T on hand but had his day end early with an uncharacteristic engine failure. 2008 ATQMRA Rookie of the Year and multi race winner as well as past Borger's Speedway Champion Austin Fehr returned to competition with the ATQMRA. Fehr worked though the day adjusting to Wall's challenging flat track. The day saw a Payne owned 67 return to competition for the first time in many years with Joey Payne III at the controls. Payne won 11 out of 17 open Kart races on Wall's inner oval in 2015 and is trying his hand in a Drinan TQ Midget. Payne finished a respectable thirteenth in the main. Payne's Little brother Anthony picked up a ride in the potent Sload Racing 53 but was out early in the feature. Joey Jr. hopes to have Anthony Payne's Laffler TQ ready for next week's show at Mahoning Valley. Absent on the day was Steve Craig who has designs returning to competition with the organization starting with Mahoning Valley. Following his win Sutton was thankful to Jim Fleishman and Chad Haywood of BGF Engine and Chassis for providing the difference making horsepower to earn the win.
Heat 1: 1. 17 Pat VanVarick 2. Geoffrey Sutton 3. 43/98 Matt Roselli 4. 16 Buddy Sload 5. 48 Matt Janisch 6. 51 Jon Gambutti 7. 73 Austin Fehr 8. f8 Mike Glaser 9. 75 Mark Yoder
Heat 2: 1. 1B Ryan Tidman 2. 95 Jeff Kot 3. 02 Joey Bailey 4. 64 Brett Conklin 5. 39 Ronnie Mullen 6. 53 Anthony Payne 7. 46 Kerry Irwin 8. DNS 98T Tim Proctor
Feature (25 Laps)1. 461 Geoffrey Sutton 2. 1B Ryan Tidman 3. 48 Matt Janisch 4. 95 Jeff Kot 5. 17 Pat VanVarick 6. 02 Joey Bailey 7. 75 Mark Yoder 8. 43/98 Matt Roselli 9. Ronnie Mullen 10. f8 Mike Glaser 11. 46 Kerry Irwin 12. 64 Brett Conklin 13. 67 Joey Payne III 14. 16 Buddy Sload 15. 53 Anthony Payne 16. 51 Jon Gambutti 17. 73 Austin Fehr
Wall Stadium, Wall TownshipNJSaturday April 23, 2016