Column By: JOHN DOUGLAS / RPW – ALBANY, NY – With a disappointing Friday Night inside Albany’s Times Union Center, “Andy J,” Andy Jankowiack, reset his focus for Saturday evening’s final night of the Inaugural Indoor Auto Racing Series race in New York’s capital and made the most of it.
After being caught up in a major pile up on night one, Jankowiack good starting spot paid dividends as he made a move to steal the lead from Tim Buckwalter to claim the final feature event win of the 2018 Indoor season.
Friday’s feature started off well but things took a turn for the worse as the Western NY racer was caught up in a major incident on the front stretch late in the feature feature event, while leading.
“We almost had it last night but I got hooked in the right rear on a restart and they (officials) made a call,” he said of the event. “I didn’t agree with it, but that doesn’t change it. I thought we had it won. I was hurting bad last night.”
Not wanting a repeat of Friday night’s unfortunate result, Jankowiack decided to put the past behind him and focus ahead to final feature event of the year Saturday. That plan paid off.
“I knew we had a good car, and I didn’t want last night to carry over to tonight,” he said. “I didn’t know if it would because it was such bad last night, but we kept our stuff together. We kept our cool and got the job done. The most important part was that I knew I had to win the heat and get in the redraw.”
Jankowiack’s main concern? Tim Buckwalter. After two nights of domination which included quick practice session times and strong showings in the heat races, Buckwalter was on everyone’s radar as one of the men to beat on the weekend.
“I was in that top 5 redraw and the guy I was really worried about was Buckwalter,” the Tonowanda, NY resident said. “He drew the pole and I drew third and I knew this was going to be tough. I think we had the best car all day. We made some major gains this weekend on that thing.”
He was able to use those improvements and made the most of the series finale.
“I touched him once, in traffic, and saw his nose slide,” he said. “I knew he was getting tight, so I knew we had a shot, so on the next restart I timed it just right. Timmy ran me good.”
Overall, Andy was happy with how his first runs inside the Albany Times Union Center went with the TQ Midget, and how the event went as a whole.
“I think we showed how good indoor racing can be,” he said. “When there’s 60-80 cars showing up, I think guys get used to racing a little desperate. The guys who run really good, you can really race with them. I think we went the final 20 laps all green flag. I’m proud of that and happy to be part of this deal and can’t thank VP, the Sammons family and everyone who supports this series.”
Jankowiack’s win in Albany ended the 2018 Indoor Auto Racing Series season. As spring quickly approaches, drivers and crews of many of the small, but potent race machines, will trade in their TQ’s for their regular outdoor season machinery.