Saturday April 15, 2017, Lehighton, Pa; 2015 ATQMRA Champion Buddy Sload Parked the Colin Martin Spitfire 36 in Victory Lane at the ATQMRA's season opening race at Mahoning Valley Speedway. Heat Races were won by Sload and Kris Graver. Dave Gorbatuk was the highest finishing ACRO Engineering Rookie contender. A total of five 2017 rookie contenders were on hand at the opener. Next up for the ATQMRA is Wall Stadium on Saturday April 29th for wingless racing on that track's flat inner oval.
The front row of Joey Bailey and Jeff Kot took the green flag and charged into the first turn . Buddy Sload took advantage of his fourth starting position to sweep into the lead to be scored the race leader on lap one. The caution fell for Kyle Taraska on lap 2 when his mount lost power. The restart saw Sload shoot into the lead and open a gap when the race was slowed for the final time on lap 3 by a slowing Joey Payne III who would return to action.
Sload again launched into the lead and ran away and hid as Kris Graver worked his way into second on lap six from his 7th starting spot in the Janisch 48 that won the 2017 ATQMRA Championship. With the speed Graver showed in his heat race he was the odds on favorite heading into the feature. His fast lap in the heat was nearly 4 tenths faster than the field. When he worked his way into second he set sail to reel Sload in. Graver couldn't negotiate lapped traffic as efficiently as Sload and would have to settle for second.
Sload thanked car owner Colin Martin for allowing him and BJ MacDonald to revitalize the team's Spitfire 36. They certainly did their job well returning the iconic Spitfire to Victory lane in its first outdoor race since the rebuild. The car is the very car that NASCAR Hall of Fame Nominee MIke Stefanik raced to his only Victory in his Home State of Rhode Island at the Dunkin Doughnuts Center Indoor Race a number of years ago.
Engineering Student Joey Bailey would round out the podium in the Zuzzalo 02 with Mike Tidaback finishing fourth in the Alan Mollot 51. Jeff Kot rounded out the top five in his Behrent's Performance/Janisch/Yuhas Chassis 88 after being near the top of the speed chart all day long.
The ACRO Engineering Rookie of the Race was Dave Gorbatuk in his Spitfire 32 Putting him at the top of the Rookie Championship Standings. He also pocketed the Advance Shock Technology contingency award for Sporting Advance Shocks on all four corners of his Spitfrire. Jon Keller was the second highest finishing Rookie with Cole Mullen making his first laps in a TQ Midget that day at Mahoning with Kyle Taraska being a DNF. The other Rookie on hand was Ronnie Mullen. His team's new BGF Chassis mount will be ready for the next show at Wall on the 29th.
Buddy Sload showed his speed in the heat race and led every lap to earn the win. Graver was the only racer to dip into the 8 second bracket running an 8.984 second lap to win his heat in dominant fashion.
The MNO Money's No Object award winner was Joey Bailey. The MNO award is $100 that is given to a random driver selected at the end of the race donated by the legendary Bob Emmons at each race throughout the season.
The ATQMRA is raffling off a five gallon pale of the organization's official fuel, VP's popular C12 product. Jeff Kot's crew girl Macey was holding the winning ticket for this week's raffle.
The Buzz in the Pits at the season opener at Mahoning was talk about the exciting return of Midget racing to the grounds of Pocono International Raceway on the weekend of August 18 and 19th. Everyone is excited to be given the opportunity to race at Pocono Raceway and to take part in the TQ Tricky Challenge presented by the Classic Racing Times. Teams are encouraged to click the following link and print out and send their application in to the Classic Racing Times or bring them to the track and give them to Blu Metz. http://www.theclassicracingtimes.com/applications
Next up for the ATQMRA is in two weeks at Wall Stadium on Saturday April 29th for the track's Fan Appreciation night. Teams will have the opportunity to have their cars on track for a Meet and greet with the tracks fans. Everyone is encouraged to have their hero cards and handouts ready for this night.
ATQMRA News and Notes: Long Time supporter of the ATQMRA Joe Csernak is Battling a non Hodgkins Lymphoma. He is undergoing treatments currently and has a good prognosis. Joe can use our prayers and well wishes. Cards can reach him at 739 Point Phillips Road, Bath, Pa 18014. If anyone has something they would like mentioned in one of our releases whether its a sponsor mention an upcoming birthday wish or a special announcement please let Blu Metz know and I will work to include it in one of our upcoming releases.
Feature Race 25 Laps 1. 36 Buddy Sload 2. 48 Kris Graver 3. 02 Joey Bailey 4. 51 MIke Tidaback 5. 88 Jeff Kot 6. 1B Ryan Tidman 7. 75 Mark Yoder 8. 98 Matt Roselli 9. 32 Dave Gorbatuk 10. 461 Geoffrey Sutton 11. 20 Jon Keller 12. 73 Austin Fehr 13. 67 Joey Payne 14. 73c Cole Mullen 15. 01 Kyle Tarasks 16. DNS 39 Ron Mullen
Heat Race 1 8 laps 1. 36 Buddy Sload 2. 88 Jeff Kot 3. 75 Mark YOder 4. 1B Ryan Tidman 5. 20 Jon Keller 6. 67 Joey Payne III 7. 01 Kyle Taraska 8. DNS 73 Austin Fehr
Heat Race 2 8 Laps 1. 48 Kris Graver 2. 98 Matt Roselli 3. 02 Joey Bailey 4. 51 MIke Tidaback 5. 32 DAve Gorbatuk 6. 461 Geoffrey Sutton 7. 73c Cole Mullen
ATMQRA 2017 Schedule
April 15 MAHONING VALLEY SPEEDWAY
April 29 WALL STADIUM SPEEDWAY *
May 6 WALL STADIUM SPEEDWAY *
May 20 BETHEL MOTOR SPEEDWAY *
June 3 RIVERHEAD RACEWAY *#
June17 BETHEL MOTOR SPEEDWAY *
June24 MAHONING VALLEY SPEEDWAY
July 1 WALL STADIUM SPEEDWAY *
July 15 BETHEL MOTOR SPEEDWAY *
July 29 CHEMUNG SPEEDROME *
August 12 NEW LONDON-WATERFORD SPEEDBOWL
Aug 18-19 POCONO RACEWAY *#
September 9 WALL STADIUM SPEEDWAY *
September 16 MAHONING VALLEY SPEEDWAY
September 30 WALL STADIUM SPEEDWAY *
October 21 -22 NEW LONDON-WATERFORD SPEEDBOWL
November 25 WALL STADIUM SPEEDWAY *#
Non wing * Indoor Rules Package #