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   The Chrome Horn - News




Polly Reid

The victory lane picture says it all – holding a broom in one hand, a checkered flag in the other, it was indeed a clean sweep for Anthony Sesely of Matawan, NJ in the United Crane sponsored TQ midget who won both the Friday night and Saturday mains at the NAPA Know How Atlantic City Indoor Midget Car Race at the Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall.

Sesely, the defending winner, led the 40 lap main green to checker taking the prestigious Gambler Classic victory edging out a solid run by Mike Lichty in second, Lou Cicconi, Jr third, Andrew Nye and Mike Iles the top five.

“I have a horseshoe someplace,” said Sesely in victory lane.

Sesely made it look easy but with 99 TQ’s checking in for a full weekend of non-stop racing, each team vying for one of the 26 available spots, just making the main was an accomplishment. Sesely pulled off quite a feat winning not one but both TQ mains.

"Track position, track position, track position", Sesely repeated, “Those are the three keys to Atlantic City.” With that said, Sesely will be the first to tell you there is plenty to worry about. “There is not one thought that does not run through your head. This event has gotten so big, so important, so much work and focus into it-for us in Jersey, this is it- this is the only time of year that you get to race against super mod champ Mike Lichty, super mod champ Lou Cicconi, CT King Ted Christopher, Dirt King Billy Pauch- I’ve got Jimmy ‘Showtime’ Blewett chasing at my heels everywhere I go- it’s the only place you get to run against everyone in one place- that’s the coolest part of the whole race.”

Winning both the 30 lap Friday main and the Saturday 40 lap main, Sesely turned thoughtful. “I don’t think anyone, with the regime of Laffler cars, the talent, the amount of money put into this event this year, I don’t think anyone would have thought I’d be in the top five. The car is a Hyper chassis, but Jerry Moran and myself did a lot of work on it- Dave Orange builds phenomenal engines, Dimension Designs did a lot of work with us developing the front end- the work that goes into these cars- I haven’t slept a full night in two weeks.” Not to mention building a car for Rob Vivona start to finish in a short nine days. Sesely may want to celebrate but getting some sleep will most likely be a priority. Sesely heads to Trenton on a high or as he puts it laughing, “With a bull’s eye on my back.” You can bet everyone will be watching the 16 at Trenton.

Mike Lichty of Innerkip, Ontario was close, ending his night a strong runner up. “It was a good race car. Friday, we got a little behind, I thought Blewett and I were going to have something for Sesely there and he got out of shape, hit the tires, I got out of shape then ended up on the tires and ended up on top of him, so that ended our night. We were really looking forward to tonight being the bigger race and knowing what kind of car we had last night. Starting fifth, track position is very key here. We got pinched to the inside by one of those 600’s, got knocked into those tires and spun out on lap three. Started at the back, worked our way up- I knew when I was behind Lou, running fourth, we had something. We had great power, I’ve got to thank BJ from Dart Performance Motors, the tires were great, thank you to Hoosier- if we had a couple more laps I think it would have been a different story. But hey, the car is in one piece- I’ve got to thank Larry and everyone who puts an effort into this program – thanks to NAPA and Len Sammons for putting on this show- we’ll go on to Trenton.”

In the hunt to the checkers, Lou Cicconi Jr climbed out of his TQ smiling. A third for the night, it was car that Lou was most pleased about. “The car was awesome. I really thought we were going to win that one. This car, I barely touched it all weekend.” Cicconi, running a team car to Jimmy Blewett, the pair owned by Grandpa Blewett, relied on his experience to help him move forward from his 19th starting spot. “Really, I let the field come to me, with attrition and if the lap traffic hadn’t been there, I think I would have had a really good chance to win. He (Sesely) hit the lap car which made me go wide- the top three, raced I felt exceptionally clean, very professional.”

The end result looked easy, finishing 5th, but Mike Iles of Medford, NJ will be the first to tell you, it wasn’t. “A lot of hard work- we got here on Thursday with a totally different set up, we couldn’t make it work, we blew the first four practice sessions trying to get that right, we threw that set up out. Friday we started working on a different set up- the car did race a little better, we had a good car, we just didn’t have any luck. Saturday, we made a few more changes- Lou Cicconi Sr. helped us with a few adjustments, made it way better, then we kept our nose clean, I just wanted to not wreck. I broke a steering arm with three to go on Friday and spun it but the car is perfectly straight for the first time.” A veteran of the event at Atlantic City for many years, Iles is “amazed at the level of racing here from 8 and 10 years ago. For us to finish 5th, is just amazing- if you look at the guys who finished in front of me and behind me, these are ‘the guys’ in racing.” Iles will be making the trip to Trenton.

Andy Jankowiak crossed the line for sixth with Jimmy Blewett seventh, Zane Zeiner, Matt Janisch and Pat Bealer the top ten. Rob Neely, Randy Cabral, Glenn Reen, Rob Vivona and Erick Rudolph the top fifteen with Brett Michalski, Shawn Nye, Chad Jones, Mack Deman, Jonathan Reid, Rowan Pennink, Matt Roselli, Earl Paules, Donny Lia, Joey Payne and Ted Christopher completing the finishing order.
He finished the main event Friday 3rd and Saturday night 14th, but in all honesty, Rob Vivona of Staten Island, NY was an unexpected inspiration and that while he didn’t win, the night, the weekend, really was a huge victory. “I’ve been going through colon cancer the whole year, 2013. Two surgeries, chemo and radiation before the surgeries- now I’m on a 6 month run of chemo.” Four months into the six of chemo, Vivona made a choice to skip his treatment on Tuesday so he could race this weekend with the energy he needed. “I was pretty whipped last night, they had to carry me out of the car. It was a great weekend, I never expected to time trial as good as we did, I didn’t even have to run a heat race, that was a first.” The other piece of the story revolves around the car, “It was just a frame on Saturday,” admitted Vivona. “In between Saturday and Wednesday, we made it into a race car. I was there every day for like 12 hours. The gear box broke on Thursday so we didn’t have any practice. I drove home to Staten Island to pick up another engine Thursday night, put it in Friday morning and without any practice went out to time trial and got third in the main.” 32 years old, Vivona admits to being ‘rusty’ because he hadn’t raced in 6 months but with help from friends Anthony Sesely and Jerry Moran, Vivona did it. He returns to his chemo at NYU on Wednesday, four treatments left, he has the timing figured out that he will be good to go for Trenton.

No stranger to victory lane in the Donny Preece Racing T Q, Ted Christopher could not catch a break all weekend. Fast in practice, Christopher of Plainville, CT was again one to watch. A blown motor, then getting dumped into the wall during the dash, up and over in the main, the luck wasn’t happening. Hats off to the crew for never, ever giving up. Christopher and the entire Preece crew will have Trenton to redeem themselves.

The trailers loading up, the seats empty, Len Sammons Motorsports Productions adds another to their books. “We pulled it off with a thousand friends it seems like,” said Lenny Sammons. “Long hours, long weeks, but we still try to have fun. It was a great weekend from setting up Tuesday night, I wish the weather cooperated today because we were on pace for a sell-out based on the advance sale which was over the charts, we just never got the walk up. We’re always learning, changing the track around. After the feature, Cicconi and a couple of veterans told us we hit it finally, the way we moved the tires, one of the nice things we can adjust the race track to make it more racy. We took pictures, marked off where the tires were. I’m really proud of the whole thing, from when we started 12 years ago, the quality of equipment is just off the charts. In the features, we’d be lapping cars 5 or 6 laps and now, we really didn’t get to lap traffic except for guys that had engine problems and they were moving out of the way. It was a really good race and that’s what we wanted to do, put on a good show. Dirt modifieds, sprint cars, supermodified, asphalt modified, different drivers -it’s amazing how many people say they enjoy racing with Billy Pauch or the dirt guys get to race with Teddy- it was a shame we lost Ryan Preece and Robbie Summers with motor issues because you know they would have been contenders. So now, it’s on to Trenton. A new venue but we’ve been doing this for 12 years, we’ll figure it out.”

A personal thanks to Pam and Earl Krause for the help and weekend hospitality.

The action continues at a new venue, the Sun National Bank Center in Trenton, NJ for the Battle of Trenton on February 7th and 8th. More information about Trenton can be found at www.aarn.com

Source: Polly Reid / TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: February 1, 2014

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