TQ Midgets return to Atlantic City

Indoor Auto Racing returns to Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall. ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - The papers are signed and the deal is done. Three-Quarter Midget racing is returning to Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall on Sat., Jan. 18, 2003, event organizer...

Indoor Auto Racing returns to Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall.

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - The papers are signed and the deal is done. Three-Quarter Midget racing is returning to Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall on Sat., Jan. 18, 2003, event organizer Lenny Sammons announced last week. The Atlantic City Indoor Race will bring competition back to the famed seaside venue for the first time since January 1981.

A 40-lap TQ Midget feature will headline the racing card, which will also include Legends Cars. Neptune Research and the Green Flag Driving Experience are presenting sponsors.

"It's pretty exciting to be able to resurrect indoor racing in Atlantic City," said Sammons, the editor of Area Auto Racing News. "I remember going to the races at Convention Hall with my father and judging by the response we've been getting, a lot of people have the same kind of memories.

"We've gotten a lot of calls from people who went to the Atlantic City races as kids and are now anxious to take their kids back there."

TQ Midget action was once a wintertime tradition in Atlantic City. A series for the division was run at the Boardwalk Hall from 1965 to '81.

A total of 53 racing programs were presented inside the building, then called Convention Hall, during that 17-year period.

The current Boardwalk Hall isn't quite the same place it was for the last TQ Midget event, however.

A multi-million-dollar reconstruction of the Boardwalk Hall was recently completed. While maintaining the 73-year-old structure's classic appeal, architects modernized the Hall to accomodate the Miss America pagaent held each September on its stage as well as a variety of major sporting, performance and special events.

Some changes in the Hall's seating configuration during the refurbishing will force race officials to make the track size smaller than it was in the past, but it will still be significantly larger than most indoor layouts. The track will run completely around the outside of the Hall's hockey rink and extend an additional 20 feet at one end to lengthen the straightaways. The track's concrete surface will be treated to create maximum traction for the cars.

Fans will have an unobstructed view of the racing from the Hall's balcony seating, which includes thousands of individual chair-back seats. With the TQs competing wingless, spectators will be able to look down into the cars' cockpits as the drivers wrestle their steering wheels.

Fans will also be able to watch the racing and instant replays of on-track incidents on the Hall's scoreboard big-screen.

The competition will, of course, be headlined by the TQ Midgets which once ruled the winter in A.C. Event officials will consider 600cc Micro-Sprints to be TQs for the event and allow them to compete head-to-head with a slight weight break.

The Legends Cars will follow 600 Racing INEX and New Jersey State rules. A special exhibition race for Bandolero Cars, driven by racers ages 14-17, will also be run.

Two days of activities are planned, beginning on Friday morning at 10 o'clock when the doors to the West Hall will be opened for trailer parking. A three-hour, closed-to-the-public practice session for the TQs and Legends will be held on Friday night from 6-9.

Doors to the building will open on Saturday morning at 9 o'clock. Practice for the TQs and Legends will commence at 10:30 a.m., with afternoon time trials for the TQs and heats for the Legends following.

Fans with tickets for the evening program will be permitted into the stands at noon.

The building will be cleared for a two-hour dinner break following the preliminaries. Pit-area doors will then reopen at 5:30 for Saturday night's featured show and the spectator gates will open at 6 o'clock.

When fans arrive in the evening they will be permitted to walk down onto the racetrack surface, which will be filled with race cars and teams taking part in "FanFest" activities. That period will last until 7 p.m.

Following some pre-race festivities, TQ heat competition will begin at 7:30 p.m. The $2,000-to-win TQ feature will cap the program.

The entire schedule of events remains tentative pending the number of entries that are received.

Bob Miller, the co-promoter of the popular Thunder on the Hill racing series at Grandview (Pa.) Speedway, will serve as the race director of the event. The chief starter will be Warren Alston, a veteran flagman who currently works at Pennsylvania's The Fairgrounds at Kutztown and Wall Township (N.J.) Speedway. He is anxious to tackle the A.C. job because he recalls flagging the races from the Boardwalk Hall balcony as a kid.

"We're hoping to make this a real exciting event for everyone involved," said Sammons. "If we can get cooperation from the racers and fans, maybe we can make this an annual event."

Tickets will be go on sale on Mon., Nov. 25, at all Ticketmaster outlets and the Boardwalk Hall box office from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

In addition, tickets will be available beginning in December at the Area Auto Racing News office in Trenton, N.J.; during the Motorsports 2003 show scheduled for Jan. 10-12 in Fort Washington, Pa.; and at the Hall on race day.

A limited number of reserve seats will be offered, with the remainder general admission.

All reserved-seat tickets will cost $22. General admission is $20, with children 12 and under $12 and under 2 free.

Further event information is available by visiting the AARN website at www.aarn.com, phoning 609-888-3618 or e-mailing Lenny Sammons at lhs@aarn.com.

Inquiries concerning special race sponsorship programs and lap sponsorships can also be directed to the above phone number and e-mail address.

-tqm-

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Series Midget
Drivers Bob Miller