That’s how Tim Buckwalter, 22, of Douglassville, Pa., described Friday
night’s TQ-Midget 30-lap preliminary feature event at Boardwalk Hall in
Atlantic City, N.J.
Buckwalter claimed his first-ever indoor event in front of a large crowd
that sat in absolute awe over the transgressions of a race that had many
leaving the gates with absolute anticipation for Saturday night’s 40-lap
Gambler’s Classic finale.
When the race was all said and done, only four cars finished the distance
after a lap 25 crash took out or left 15 cars to the pit area. And many of
those sent to the pit area were the heavy hitters like then-race leader
Chris DeRitis, Lou Cicconi Jr, Joey Payne, Mike Lichty and Ted Christopher,
who survived the turn two crash but he was later black flagged as his
left-front wheel was busted.
“I guess I was at the right spot at the right time,” Buckwalter said.
“Somehow, we got through it and missed everything.”
Buckwalter is a guaranteed starter for Saturday night’s main event along
with Shaun Carrig of Little Falls, N.J.; Matt Roselli of Broadheadsville,
Pa.; and Mike Tidaback of Little Falls, N.J. Christopher finished fifth in
the main event as he watched from the pit area.
DeRitis of Philadelphia, Pa., who led laps one through 25, admitted his car
suffered mechanical problems which precipitated the multi-car incident.
“The engine was registering 240 degrees and I knew 250 was the limit,”
DeRitis said. “When we restarted, I felt the engine burp and it started to
spit some water out.”
DeRitis was dominant until the lap 25 mark. He got the edge over Ian Cumens
at the start of the race and fought off several challenges from Cicconi,
mainly on the five separate restarts that slowed the race.
Mike Stefanik of Coventry, R.I.; Ian Cumens of Lyndell, Pa.; Cicconi of
Aston, Pa; and Billy Pauch of Frenchtown, N.J., won heat events for the TQ
Midgets. Luke Thomas of Wyoming, Del., and Mark Yoder of Ephrata, Pa. won
the non-qualifier events.
Ted Christopher of Plainville, Conn., set a record lap of 8.6352 seconds.
Nineteen cars eclipsed the previous track record.
Jimmy Carpenter of Manchester, N.J., received the lead in the 600cc Micro
Sprint Car main event on lap 14 after Jason Ormsby and Jack Conover were
involved in a spectacular turn three double flip while contending for the
Carpenter led the final six tours to score the $1500 victory over teammate
Rob Vivona of Staten Island, N.Y.
“I didn’t even have a ride until last Tuesday,” Carpenter said. “Rob called
me and said that if I wanted to run in this race then I better get my butt
up to Staten Island.”
Justin Moench of Brick, N.J., was third, followed by Pat Bealer of
Walnutport, Pa., and Louis Horvath of Nazareth, Pa.
Ray Sands posted quick time in the 600cc Micro Sprint Car class with a lap
time of 9.0065 seconds.
In Champ Kart action, Justin Bonsignore set a quick lap of 9.8638 seconds.
James Hayden, Todd Crenshaw and Jeremy Tuttle won the B-Mains.
Kyle Hieber’s lap time of 10.2357 seconds was fastest in Slingshot
qualifying, while Brad Arnold and Jim Housworth won the B-Mains.
Fanfest begins Saturday at 5 p.m. with race action starting at 7. The night
will culminate with the 40-laps Gambler’s Classic TQ-Midget main event.
Tickets are still on sale and can be purchased at the Boardwalk Hall box
TQ-Midget Feature Finish, 25 Laps: 1. Tim Buckwalter; 2. Shaun Carrig;
3. Matt Roselli; 4. Mike Tidaback; 5. Ted Christopher; 6. Chris DeRitis; 7.
Mike Lichty; 8. Lou Cicconi Jr; 9. Joey Payne; 10. Mike Stefanik; 11. Ian
Cumens; 12. Billy Wease; 13. Chris Stockham; 14. Mike Iles; 15. Mike Osite;
16. Christopher Allen; 17. Ryan Smith; 18. Billy Pauch; 19. Paul Lotier Jr;
20. Ryan Greth; 21. Glen Reen; 22. Timex Morgan; 23. Tim Proctor; 24. Dan
600cc Micro Sprint Car Feature Finish, 20 Laps: 1. Jimmy Carpenter;
2. Rob Vivona; 3. Justin Moench; 4. Pat Bealer; 5. Louis Horvath; 6. Brett
Michalski; 7. Steve Walter;s 8. John Gearhart; 9. Ed Wilberg Sr; 10. Amanda
Quinones; 11. Steven Bracall; 12. Steve Kemery; 13. Jerry Mack; 14. Marc
Guerard; 15. Jason Ormsby; 16. Jack Conover; 17. Chris Prychka; 18. Joe
Mongeau; 19. Brett Schoenly; 20. Rick Wegner; 21. Sierra Weaver; 22. Bob
Maxwell Jr; 23. Mike Trimble; 24. Ray Sand..