The reconfigured Boardwalk Hall track layout presented another intense weekend of racing in Atlantic City. Check out our highlights from the Gambler’s Classic and order the weekend DVD set from our online shop.
2012 Atlantic City Indoor Race Video Highlights
Gambler’s Classic TQ Midget Feature Highlights
Friday Night TQ Midget Feature Highlights
Saturday Night 600cc Micro Sprint Highlights
Friday Night 600cc Micro Sprint Feature Highlights
Slingshot Feature Highlights
Champ Kart Feature Highlights
Order the complete Gambler’s Classic weekend DVD set from our online shop.
PACKED HOUSE ON HAND FOR A.C. GAMBLERS CLASSIC; RUDOLPH SCORES A DOUBLE IN THREE QUARTER MIDGETS AND 600 MICRO SPRINTS; DALEY REPEATS ‘08 CHAMP KART WIN; EAGAN TOPS IN SLINGSHOT THRILLER
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – In front of one of the largest crowds in Boardwalk Hall’s Gamblers Classic ten year history, Ransomville, N.Y.’s Erick Rudolph dominated the weekend events. After winning the Micro Sprint features Friday and Saturday, Rudolph saved his best effort for last when he overpowered the competition, winning the Gamblers Classic for Three Quarter Midgets.
The race was a three-man affair from the outset. Front row starters Stewart Friesen and Rudolph paced the field and sparred with each other through a series of double file restarts. In one of those instances, Rudolph seemed to gain the upper hand only to have the start called back by officials who added a two position penalty for the infraction.
Undeterred, Rudolph passed Friesen after challenging for the lead for several laps. Friesen seemed destined for a second place finish but a late race tangle with a surging Billy Pauch saw Friesen spin and Pauch penalized.
Rudolph ruled the roost as the laps ran out. The big mover in the last five laps was Ryan Smith, who was trying to put a 600 Micro in the winners circle for the first time. Smith settled for second place after a sterling drive ahead of Jon Gambuti, ninth starter Mike Lichty and sixteenth place starter Tim Buckwalter.
The 20 lap Micro Sprint feature turned upside down on a mid-race tangle in the midst of heavy lapped traffic. Matt Janisch and Lou Cicconi Jr., running first and second, and pulling away from the field, encountered back markers. Janisch collected one of the lapped cars and nearly flipped. Cicconi clipped Janisch’s slowing car and reduced speed himself but was able to keep his car running.
Cicconi thus inherited the lead and a clear track while Janisch restarted at the back of the field. Erick Rudolph, Friday night’s 600 Micro feature winner, took up the chase as Cicconi held back all challenges. With three laps to go, Cicconi and Rudolph went at it head to head. On the final lap, Rudolph ducked under Cicconi in turn one, made a clean pass off turn two and took the checkered flag. The exacta of Rudolph and Cicconi was the same finish as the previous night.
In the Champ Karts, Chris Daley, 2008 winner, picked his way through a talent-laden field, avoided the pitfalls of lapped traffic and survived a two-lap shootout to win the 25-lap feature.
Heavy hitters Norman Hynes, Daley and Justin Bonsignore cut their way through the pack in pursuit of Brian Sullivan, who had taken command after Andy Nye had problems.
By lap five, Bonsignore and Daley had assumed first and second; and on lap nine, Daley completed his march to the front with a power pass for the lead as Hynes was just a few kart lengths off the pace.
With five laps left, the top three had pulled away from the pack but a caution flag flew with two laps left, setting up a green-white-checkered finish. Daley never wavered in the final lap as Bonsignore held second. Zac Smith made a key last lap move to assume third place at race’s end.
Slingshot expert Simon Egan made a crossover move off the last two turns of the final lap that gave him a remarkable win over Matt Carman.
Neither Egan nor Carman seemed to be likely victors as the white flag waved on the first of three attempts at completing the race.
First, Vern McLaughlin tangled with Shannon Smith when she attempted to pass him on the outside. Smith was spun and went to the back of the pack as did McLaughlin, who was penalized for overly aggressive driving. Brett Biever, who had been among the early race leaders, and Anthony Perrego, who had come back from an early race aggressive driving penalty, lost their chances for a late race victory when they tangled.
This set up the last lap sprint finish that elevated Egan, who had first taken the white flag in sixth place, into the winners’ circle. Carman was inches behind with Brandon Azzalina third.
Gamblers Classic TQ Midget Feature (40 Laps): 1. Erick Rudolph; 2. Ryan Smith; 3. Jon Gambuti; 4. Mike Lichty; 5. Tim Buckwalter; 6. Billy Pauch Jr.; 7. Matt Janisch; 8. Stewart Friesen; 9. Steve Craig; 10. Pat Bealer; 11. Jonathan Reid; 12. Mike Tidaback; 13. Lou Cicconi Jr.; 14. Mike Fedorcak; 15. Glen Reen; 16. Frank Fischer; 17. Chris deRitis; 18. Johnny Benson Jr.; 19. Ryan Greth; 20. Jonathan McKennedy; 21. Bobby Holmes; 22. Anthony Sesely; 23. BJ MacDonald; 24. Joey Payne; 25. Todd Hoddick; 26. Ted Christopher.
TQ Consolation Winners: Ryan Greth, Billy Pauch
TQ B-Main Winners: Marc Rogers, Jeff Kot.
600cc Micro Sprint Feature (20 Laps): 1.Erick Rudolph; 2. Lou Cicconi Jr., 3. Brett Michalski; 4. Jason Ormsby; 5. Kyle Hieber; 6. Justin Moench; 7. Rob Vivona; 8. Matt Janisch; 9. Steven Bracall; 10. Steve Walters; 11. Mike Dicely; 12. Greg Smith; 13. Johnny Gearhart; 14. Steve Kemery; 15. Mike Fillbrunn; 16. Timmy Neal; 17. Jack Conover Jr., 18. Randy Oswald; 19. Philip Durham; 20. Jimmy Carpenter; 21. Butch Valley Jr., 22; Sierra Weaver; 23. Steve West; 24. Jimmy Weiss.
Micro Sprint B-Main Winner: Greg Smith.
Champ Kart Feature (25 Laps): 1. Chris Daley; 2. Justin Bonsignore; 3. Zac Smith; 4. Todd Crenshaw, 5. Norman Hynes; 6. Glen Meisenhelder; 7. Ryan Kendall; 8. Brandon Rusczek; 9. Danny Bouc; 10 . Nick Hadden; 11. James Hadden; 12. DJ Shaw; 13. Joey Bruning; 14. Kevin Baird; 15. Joey Milza; 16. Eric Zeh; 17. Brian Sullivan; 18. Jonathan Cash; 19. Wayne Baker; 20. Matt Fenn; 21. Andy Nye; 22. Bryan Shields; 23. Bobby Timmons; 24. Brandon Young; 25. Mike Perry; 26. Carl Medeiros Jr., 27. Gavin Soroghan.
Champ Kart B-Main Winners: Gavin Soraghan, Zac Smith, Todd Crenshaw.
Slingshot Feature (25 Laps): 1. Simon Egan; 2. Matt Carman; 3. Brandon Azzalina; 4.Shannon Smith; 5. Matt Dealaman; 6. Eddie Strada; 7. Ben Witaker; 8. Jesse Hartman; 9. Carl Labonte; 10. Mark Sensenig; 11. Vern McLaughlin II; 12. Brett Biever; 13. Anthony Perrego; 14. Marc Daniels; 15. Jimmy Spellmon; 16. John Bockhorn; 17. Steve Intravaia; 18. Shawna Ingraham; 19. Kurt Bettler; 20. Jim Housworth; 21. Mike Butler; 22. Ryan Raidline; 23. Gary Hieber; 24. Cody Kline.
Slingshot B-Main Winners: Shawna Ingraham, Steve Intravaia
FRIDAY NIGHT THREE QUARTER MIDGET, 600 MICRO SPRINT FEATURES WON BY TED CHRISTOPHER AND ERICK RUDOLPH; FIELD TAKES SHAPE FOR TONIGHT’S (Saturday) 10th ANNUAL GAMBLERS CLASSIC
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – Ted Christopher of Plainville, Ct., and Erick Rudolph of Ransomville, N.Y., were the winners of the Friday Atlantic City Indoor Race feature events before an enthusiastic crowd.
Christopher won for the third time in the Boardwalk Hall; he is tied with Joe Payne and Lou Cicconi as two- time Gamblers Classic winners and will have the opportunity Saturday to sweep the 2012 Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall Three Quarter Midget events and become the only three-time Gamblers Classic winner.
Rudolph ran away with the 600cc Micro Sprint feature when he took the race lead at the one-third distance and survived several caution flag situations that negated big leads. The win was the first indoors for Rudolph, an accomplished talent on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Racing Series.
In the TQ 30-lap main event, Christopher out dueled Payne in a classic nose-to-tail fight to the finish. Payne had led the early laps of the race before ‘TC’ out muscled Payne on one of the numerous early race, side-by-side restarts.
Finishing a close third was Matt Janisch, Bethlehem, Pa., who started seventh in the race and avoided several accidents in front of him to take the spot ahead of Ryan Smith, Kunkletown, Pa., and ninth starting Rudolph, winner of the earlier 600cc Micro Sprint race thirty minutes earlier.
Lou Cicconi Jr. perennial favorite, was involved in an early race mishap, went to the rear of the field as a penalty and, with no serious damage present, peddled his way home for a solid sixth place effort. Mike Lichty, who had started from thirteenth spot, Glen Reen, Tim Ice, who started nineteenth, and Bobby Holmes rounded out the top ten TQ feature finishers.
In the 600 Micro 20-lapper, once Rudolph was in the clear, the battle royale was for second place with Lou Cicconi taking the spot off the final turn of the last lap of the 20-car, 20-lap tussle. Mike Dicely and Kyle Hieber, who was making his first 600 Micro start indoors, completed the top five.
Rob Vivona, rookie Brett Michalski, Steve Walters, Randy Oswald and Justin Moench rounded out the Micro Sprint ten finishers.
Jason Ormsby rode out a spectacular crash on the first lap of the 600 Micro feature in which he overrode another competitor’s car’s wheel and flipped high in the air. He was not hurt in the wreck that put his car out of commission.
Champ Karts competed in three heat races, setting the front portion of the starting lineup for tomorrow’s feature. Bobby Timmons, Ryan Kendall and Nick Hadden were the winners.
Slingshot heat race winners were Eddie Strada and Ryan Raidline; the remainder of Slingshot qualifying takes place tomorrow prior to their feature event.
TQ Midget time trials saw Joe Payne, Ted Christopher, Jon Gambuti, Todd Hoddick and Erick Rudolph setting the top five fastest times. A pair of non-qualifier heat races for TQs were won by Mike Osite and Paul Lotier, Jr.
Ryan Smith, Ted Christopher, Bobby Holmes and Lou Cicconi, Jr. were the winners of the four Friday TQ-Midget qualifying races.
The busy day of racing served to assemble most of the starting lineups for the Champ Kart and Slingshot feature races Saturday. The two support classes raced in a series of qualifying races Friday to winnow the XXX Champ Kart entries and the XXX Slingshot hopefuls down to who won the Champ Kart heat races and won the Slingshot trial events.
TQ MIDGET FEATURE (30 Laps): 1. Ted Christopher; 2. Joe Payne Jr., 3. Matt Janisch; 4. Ryan Smith; 5. Erick Rudolph; 6. Lou Cicconi Jr., 7. Mike Lichty; 8. Glen Reen; 9. Tim Ice; 10. Bobby Holmes; 11. Shaun Carrig; 12. Tim Buckwalter; 13. Mike Fedorcak; 14. Billy Pauch Jr.; 15. Jon Gambuti; 16. Frank Fischer; 17. Steve Craig; 18. Timex Morgan; 19. Mike Tidaback; 20. Todd Hoddick; 21. Ryan Tidman; 22. Joe Lord Jr.
600 MICRO FEATURE (20 Laps): 1. Erick Rudolph; 2. Lou Cicconi Jr., 3. Matt Janisch; 4. Mike Dicely; 5. Kyle Hieber; 6. Rob Vivona; 7. Brett Michalski; 8. Steve Walters; 9. Randy Oswald; 10. Justin Moench; 11. Jack Conover Jr., 12. Steven Bracall; 13. Steve West; 14. Johnny Gearhart; 15. Sierra Weaver; 16. Philip Durham; 17. Butch Valley Jr., 18. Timmy Neal; 19. Jason Ormsby; 20. Jimmy Weiss.