Story By: ERNIE SAXTON / INDOOR AUTO RACING CHAMPIONSHIP – ALLENTOWN, PA – Tim Buckwalter, one of the most accomplished and adaptable drivers in the northeast, will be aiming for victory inside Allentown, PA’s PPL Center when he takes a proven TQ Midget to post on January 3rd and 4th, 2020 for the Ironton Telephone sponsored Allentown Indoor Race.
The Indoor Auto Racing Series Fueled By VP Race Fuels will open its 2020 season in the Queen City. Tickets for the fifth annual Allentown event are on sale at the PPL Center box office. Tickets are also available at www.pplcenter.com or by calling 610-347-TIXX.
Buckwalter, 30, of Douglassville, PA, is coming off a 2019 racing year that saw him win six feature races, two each in Wingless Sprints, SpeedSTRs and Micro Sprints.
Buckwalter’s USAC East Coast Wingless Sprint race wins were at Pa.’s Grandview and Big Diamond speedways. He won a pair of SpeedSTR mains at The Action Track in Kutztown, PA, where he finished second in the season standings. He also won two 600cc Micro Sprint headliners, one each at Pa.’s Shellhammer’s and Linda’s Speedways.
Buckwalter also raced USAC Sprints, USAC Midgets and Dirt 358 Modifieds in 2019. As recently as 2017, the versatile Buckwalter raced to a 358 dirt Modified victory at Grandview as well. Missing from his resume, however, is a TQ Midget victory in Allentown.
Buckwalter will be driving one of the most potent cars in the field, the No. 74 owned by engine builder Dave Pippard, whose most efficient motor is installed in a Mark Lafler-built chassis.
“I’ll have the car that Pippard had me drive for him last year, and you can’t get any better equipment than that,” Buckwalter shared.
Buckwalter owns one TQ Midget victory in Friday night competition in Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall in 2011. He came close to winning the Gambler’s Classic in Atlantic City the past two years. In 2019, he finished runner-up to Andy Jankowiak and in 2018 he lead most of the race before spinning from the top spot after contact with eventual winner Ryan Flores.
“It takes a good car, a lot patience and some luck to win one of these races,” Buckwalter states.
Despite his good fortunes in Atlantic City, Buckwalter says he favors the Allentown track more than AC or the series new third venue at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, N.Y.
“I like the shape of it,” he said. “Just feel a little more comfortable there. Every year, you learn something and this year I’m very fortunate to be driving the same car I ran last year in the Series races.”
Buckwalter’s Allentown entry is among nearly 30 early TQ Midget registrants for the competition.
The Allentown event will include complete racing programs including qualifying and feature events on back-to-back nights headlined by the TQ Midgets. They will be joined by the Champ Karts on Friday night’s card and the Slingshots on Saturday.
Erick Rudolph of Ransomville, N.Y., one of the winningest dirt Modified drivers during the 2019 outdoor season, is the defending Indoor Series champion. Rudolph clinched the title by winning the 2019 series finale in Syracuse.
Matt Janisch of Nazareth, Pa. became the first Lehigh Valley resident to win a TQ Midget race in Allentown last January during the Friday night program. Ryan Flores of Mooresville, NC, the 2017 series champion, won Saturday’s main event.
Doors open at 6:00PM with racing getting underway at 7:30 PM on Friday. On Saturday, doors open at 5:00PM with racing beginning at 7:00PM sharp. An on-track Fan Fest is available at no extra charge to ticket holders who chose the option when making their purchase.
The Allentown race is the first of four events that comprise the Indoor Auto Racing Series.
After the two race event opener in Allentown, the “Concrete Series” presented by BELFOR Property Restoration, the series moves to Atlantic City, N.J.’s Boardwalk Hall on Friday and Saturday, January 31st and February 1st for the 18th annual NAPA Auto Parts Classic.
The “Concrete Series” season finale us on Friday and Saturday March 13th and 14th in a second year return to the brand new Exposition Center located on the grounds of the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse. N.Y.
A special non-point event will be held on a banked clay oval. The third annual East Coast Indoor Dirt Nationals will return to CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton, N.J. with a new date. This race meet, held the last two years in December, has been moved to Friday and Saturday, February 21st and 22nd featuring nearly 100 Wingless 600cc Sprints kicking up the clay.