Driver's Head For Atlantic City TQ Midget race

ISMA Competitors Lining up Entries at Atlantic City Indoor Race Oswego, NY -- The 2004 ISMA season was barely a wrap before some of the competitors began getting antsy to race again. A number of them turned their attention to the upcoming...

ISMA Competitors Lining up Entries at Atlantic City Indoor Race

Oswego, NY -- The 2004 ISMA season was barely a wrap before some of the competitors began getting antsy to race again. A number of them turned their attention to the upcoming Atlantic City Indoor TQ race to keep their skills tuned over the long winter. The annual race, which takes place at the seaside resort's Boardwalk Hall will be held over two days January 21 and 22, 2005. Plenty of purse and bonus money is up for grabs and some of supermodifieds' finest will be looking for a chance to grab some of it.

Already indicating their intentions to race the annual two-day event which is headlined by the 40-lap "Gambler's Classic" on Saturday night for the TQ Midgets/600cc Micro Sprints, are "Liquid" Lou Cicconi, Scott Martel, Joey Payne, John Payne, Jon Gambuti, ISMA champ Chris Perley, Bobby Santos and possibly Greg Furlong.

Cicconi, who is no stranger to the indoor competition, will drive a Ken Hentrich-owned TQ Midget, which he raced, to victory in an A.C. Indoor race preliminary feature in January. Chris Perley will compete as a teammate to Cicconi. The "Rowley Rocket" will drive Lou's red number 59 car, which was previously run by Lou's brother Bob, and Ted Christopher. Lou said recently that he's ready to repeat his record-breaking performances of last year when he set a new track record on Friday night and broke it again on Saturday. And, he did it on McCreary American Race tires run for the first time ever last year. Lou, incidentally, will also be selling the tires again this year to competitors at the A.C. event.

"I'm always looking forward to this race. It's been around since I was a kid until they stopped for some twenty years, and then came back with it. My brother Bob has been the only guy to qualify for the event in both eras. I love to race this race. I think we have as good chance at winning as anyone", said the Aston, PA driver recently from his family garage.

Unlike the experienced Cicconi, two time ISMA driver champ Perley is completely new to the whole concept. "This will be my first time in a TQ and as a matter of fact I've only been in a midget once in my life and that was at Star," said Perley. "I went to Atlantic City and watched two years ago and then I kind of tried to get a ride last year, but it didn't work out. This year I got the ride with Lou and I'm just going down to race and have some fun. I don't really have a clue except that I know there is a lot of qualifying. I'm hoping to get some track time and get to the A main. That would be great. Racing in January will certainly help to break up the monotony of winter."

Joey Payne, a NEMA and ISMA standout, like Cicconi, is a confident veteran also. He will be behind the wheel of the same car he won with earlier in 2004. Payne said in a recent interview concerning the Atlantic City show that he was pretty confident about his chances of repeating his January win. He will be driving the same car, but with a different owner that he dominated with. Said Payne in the article, "The car will be exactly the same, including the motor. Even Bob Debois of Shadow Racing Products will come along to help set the car up."

In the 1970s era of the "Gambler's Classic" Payne watched his father Joe Payne Sr. field competitive cars every winter and winning the show in January, many years later, was especially poignant for the New Jersey pilot. To continue the family tradition, Joey's brother Johnny will be running a Payne Sr. TQ at the upcoming show.

Tickets for the Indoor Race are currently on sale through Ticketmaster. Tickets are also available with no extra fee applied at the Boardwalk Hall box office and the Area Auto Racing News office in Trenton, NJ is you happen to live in the area. All Friday tickets are general admission while reserved seats are available in the Hall's lower level for Saturday night's program.

Tickets purchased prior to Sat., Jan. 22 will allow early entrance to the balcony on Saturday evening and exclusive admittance to the special pre-race Fan Fest held on the track from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. The Sheraton Atlantic City Convention Center is serving as host hotel of the Indoor Race weekend. A special $119 rate is available by calling 1-888-627-7212 or at the link at aarn.com. Call 609-888-3618 for further race information.

-isma-

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Series Stock car
Drivers Bobby Santos