IRL: Fans Want Nokie

Fans Sign on the Dotted Line for Nokie STROUDSBURG, Pa., March 12 - Pennsylvania's Nick "Nokie" Fornoro Jr., a sort of grassroots folk hero in the realm of Eastern midget racing, certainly has the support of his ...

Fans Sign on the Dotted Line for Nokie

STROUDSBURG, Pa., March 12 - Pennsylvania's Nick "Nokie" Fornoro Jr., a sort of grassroots folk hero in the realm of Eastern midget racing, certainly has the support of his fans.

In an all-volunteer effort, a group of them solicited more than 3,500 signatures on his behalf to endorse the idea of him advancing into Indy cars and the Pep Boys Indy Racing League. As far as anyone can remember, such an effort is unprecedented in the history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Many celebrities - such as several NASCAR Winston Cup and Pep Boys IRL drivers - signed the roster. Just about everyone in the ARDC CARQUEST Midget Series added their John Hancocks, since Fornoro is a six-time ARDC CARQUEST Midget Series champion. Promoters were on the list, as were members of the fourth estate. But most of the people who signed weren't celebrities, but some of the people in the grandstands at the 131 different race tracks that Fornoro has competed at during his illustrious career. Fornoro and the volunteers who conducted the campaign are especially grateful to the staff and management of New Egypt Speedway in New Jersey and Lincoln Speedway in Pennsylvania for allowing them to solicit signatures when the ARDC CARQUEST midgets visited those tracks last year. They're also very appreciative of the IRL Crew, which ran a notice about their campaign in its newsletter.

If Fornoro would be successful in his quest, it would be a big boon to the IRL. Although it is the most populated area of the country, the Northeast lags behind other regions in the number of IRL fans and not so coincidentally, IRL drivers.

Fornoro has paid his dues. He's driven all sorts of cars, from ARCA stock cars to ARS (now Indy Lights) cars to USAC Silver Crown cars to sprints, midgets and TQ midgets. He finished third in the NAMARS midget championship last year. At press time he has 99 career midget feature victories.

He comes from a racing family, as his dad, Nick Sr., won the ARDC driver's title before becoming a flagger, and his brother, Drew, is a multi-time NEMA midget champion.

If team owners and sponsors want a talented driver with a big fan following who has paid his dues, Fornoro is their man.

The fans would love to see Cinderella go to the ball.

Be part of something big

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Series IndyCar , Midget