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November 25, 2017 Wall Stadium, NJ Flying Ryan Tidman Parked the Lenny and Donna Boyd 1B Lafler in Victory Lane at the season ending Turkey Derby in an epic battle with second finishing Matt Janisch to close out his Championship season with six feature wins. 26 cars took the green flag for the feature including 11 invaders with Joey Payne topping drivers making their first 2017 start. Janisch sniped fast time on the last lap of knock out time trials for the second year in a row. With the outdoor season officially at a close the next official ATQRMA activity will be the Motorsports Show, in January as teams gear up for the coming indoor racing series.
For the Turkey Derby the ATQRMA runs a king of the hill style Qualifying format of group qualifying. The groups are determined by practice times with the fastest cars in the last group. Joey Bailey was in the third group and put himself at the top of the speed chart. His time stayed at the top of the scoring pylon until late in the final round when he fell to fourth. Janisch hovered near the top of the chart with Tidman sitting on top until the final lap when Janisch found a little extra speed to cross the finish line under the checkered flag to put his number to the top of the scoring pylon and assure himself a spot in the redraw. Tidman was second in time with invading Joey Payne third. Joey Bailey in the second Boyd Racing entry was fourth quick with Buddy Sload fifth in the Colin Martin Spitfire 36. Jeff Kot in his Behrent's Performance Badger was sixth followed by Kris Graver in the Alan Mollot 51 Badger with Tim Proctor rounding out the redraw cars, in his 98 Drinan.
The redraw put a pair of ATQRMA big dogs on the front row with Ryan Tidman starting pole and Matt Janisch outside. Several cautions flew before lap one was completed. Tim Proctor was the worst off. Before a lap was completed he caught a wheel and flipped on the back stretch. Proctor walked away unhurt. Don Zrinski and Kris Graver also had their feature end before a lap was completed. When the first lap was completed Tidman was in the lead followed by Janisch. Jeff Kot would work himself into 2nd place early but contact down the backstretch from Janisch knocked Kot out of contention. After restarting last in the field with a damaged race car, Kot would charge back to a 14th place finish.
Tidman would lead every lap to earn his sixth win of the 2017 season. It wasn't quite that easy. From the onset Janisch was hot in his tail looking for an opportunity to slip past. In the waning laps of the race that ran the final 18 laps caution free the pair closed in on a group of cars running at the tail end of the lead lap battling side by side for position creating a few nail bighting moments for the veteran racers at the front of the field. Tidman deftly and patiently negotiated the traffic keeping Janisch at bay to earn the right to wear the laurels in Victory Lane at Wall for the second time in 2017 to cap his championship season in style.
Multi Race Winner Buddy Sload, would roll across the line in third with Super Modified Regular and past ATQRMA Champion Joey Payne fourth. Joey Bailey rounded out the top five. With Western New York's Bobby Holmes finishing sixth. 2016 Rookie of the year Mark Yoder was seventh with invading Brandon Azzalina from Stroudsburg Pa in the George and Marilyn Van Varick Lafler 43posted an 8th place finish. His other start on the season was in the Pocono event when he led until late in the race. Invading Tim Buckwalter in the Cicconi 75 finished 9th in a shake down run in preparation for the indoor season. Tyler MacLeod rounded out the top ten in the Norm Macleod 32.
Brandon Azzalina was the highest finishing driver with ACRO Rookie of the Year eligibility for the 2018 season. Tyler MacLeod, Kyle Taraska, Kevin VanValkenburg, Brianna Page, Nascar Modified Superstar Keith Rocco and Kris Graver round out the drivers with 2018 Rookie eligibility among Turkey Derby Competitors. Brett Michalski was the Hard Charger and Kevin Vanbalkenburg received the Last Car on Lead Lap Bonus, from Brice's NAPA.
Heath Hehnley was on hand for the Turkey Derby to give the pavement a try once again in a Hyper Hugger Micro Sprint. The team struggled to find the speed they needed to run up front. Hehnley is a past Turkey Derby Champion winning the race on Wall's High banks driving the iconic Colin Martin 36. This was his first start on Wall's flat inner oval.
ATQMRA Turkey Derby Feature 20 laps 1. 1B Ryan Tidman 2. 48 Matt Jansich 3. 36 Buddy Sload 4. 83 Joey Payne 5. 22 Joey Bailey 6. 21 Bobby Holmes 7. 75 Mark Yoder 8. 43 Brandon Azzalina 9. 75 Tim Buckwalter 10. 32 Tyler MacLeod 11. 73b Brett Michalski 12. 39 Ronnie Mullen 13. 2 Kyle Taraska 14. 95 Jeff Kot 15. 20 Kevin VanValkenburg 16. 711 Mike Iles 17. 6 Bill Force 18. F8 Mike Occhipinte 19. 45 Anthony Payne 20. 01 Brianna Page 21. 1 Keith Rocco 22. 73c Cole Mullen 23. 11k Heath Hehnley 24 Don Zrinski 25. 98 Tim Proctor 26. 51 Kris Graver