Story By: ERNIE SAXTON / SAMMONS PRODUCTIONS – ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – Coming off a career best finish on the Indoor Auto Racing Series fueled by VP, Stephen Kemery has adjusted a busy schedule to compete at the January 31st, February 1st NAPA Know How events at the famous Boardwalk Hall.
In the aftermath of a brilliant second place finish in the PPL Center in Allentown, PA, the Sicklerville, N.J. TQ Midget driver had a surprise revelation to share with journalists at a post-race press conference.
“I won’t be able to run in Atlantic City. I have a college course all day Saturday in Philadelphia and won’t be able to make the race,” said Kemery.
Kemery, however, changed his mind when he discovered he had misread the Saturday time schedule of events for race number three on the “BELFOR Concrete Series”.
“I came out of Allentown so pleased with what we had done. I had run most every one of the Indoor races for four years and the best I had ever done was tenth until Allentown,” said Kemery, who rebounded from the rear after an early spin to have a shot at the win on the final lap.
“I knew we were good there because I was in the top five for the first three practice sessions.”
To race this weekend, Kemery will be on an extremely tight schedule.
“I thought I had read that the Saturday show started at 6:00 PM, but when I looked a second time, I realized I had another hour with the show starting at 7. It’s still going to be really tight, but it’s possible.”
Kemery, 30, is in the midst of a rigorous Executive MBA curriculum at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA. His class on February 1, as it happens, is a particularly vital one.
“It’s the only class I can’t miss, I might be able to get out half an hour early and I think the drive can be done in under an hour and a half without traffic.”
Kemery will have the opportunity to take time and, hopefully, finish among the top two in one of the four A-Main qualifier races to be run Friday night. If he does, all pressure will be off his shoulders. If he doesn’t, he’ll face a daunting challenge, one compressed by his time constraints.
Kemery will be driving a four year old Hyper Hugger chassis with a 600cc Dave Orange engine powering it. Based on his strong showing on the Saturday night event in Allentown, Kemery, as well as other 600cc powered cars racing against those with 750s, are enthused about this race.
“Anthony Sesely (a three-time Atlantic City Gambler’s Classic winner), Kyle Lick and me were all taking about how well we all did in Allentown against the 750cc TQs,” said Kemery.
“The way the track was in Allentown, it kind of favored the 600s. It didn’t rubber up that much and Atlantic City can get like Allentown was. If it does, one of the 600s can win it again.”
Kemery, who races his family owned No. 69k TQ only during the winter Indoor Series, was in a position to win the Saturday Allentown race. After getting a flat tire early, he got back on track and decided to bide his time. The race, in effect, came back to him.
When leader Ryan Flores’ (2018 Atlantic City winner) left rear tire started losing air in the final laps, Flores slowed and Kemery closed. Flores prevailed by a car length with is left rear air going completely flat in Victory Lane.
Kemery’s racing interests have come full circle. He started out as a 600cc Micro Sprint racer on dirt in 2009 but moved to the full size dirt Sportsman class four years later.
“The Micros were getting very expensive to race on a weekly basis,” Kemery shared. “My father and I decided to build a Sportsman for Bridgeport but that got delayed a year.”
When Kemery did start racing full sized cars on a full sized track he proved to be a quick study, winning immediately, something he is still doing. A victory on Saturday in Atlantic City would be the highlight of his racing career.
Andy Jankowiak, Ryan Flores and Erick Rudolph, the last three winners of the headline Gambler’s Classic TQ Midget races in the building come to Atlantic City are pre-race favorites.
‘Andy J’ of Buffalo, N.Y. still savors his 2019 Gambler’s Classic win as the highlight of his driving career and he wants nothing more to do it again.
After two rounds of Indoor Auto Racing Series action fueled by VP Racing Fuels, Matt Janisch is the current leader in the Championship standings. Janisch, of Nazareth, PA, had Allentown finishes of third and seventh.
Janisch leads upstate New York dirt Modified driver Ryan Bartlett in the TQ standings heading into Atlantic City by ten points. Bartlett made his first start behind the wheel of a new-to-him Lafler built TQ Midget.
Allentown, Pa. opener winner Erick Rudolph is third, 17 markers out of first and Briggs Danner is fourth, 20 points out of the lead. Jankiowiak completes the top five, 24 points out of first.
The wild and crazy Slingshots and darty Champ Karts will make up the triple header program as they have in the past.
Racing action begins on Friday at 7:30 p.m. with Saturday action getting the green flag at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 on Friday night. On Saturday doors open at 5 p.m. with fans holding reserved tickets given the opportunity to attend Fan Fest on the speedway. All cars competing in the program will be positioned on the speedway and drivers made available for autographs until 6:30.
Following the BELFOR “Concrete Series” event in Atlantic City, a special non-point event for Indoor Auto Racing Championship Series fueled by VP Racing Fuels, will be held on a banked clay oval. The third annual East Coast Indoor Dirt Nationals will again be held at the CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton, N.J. on Friday and Saturday nights February 21st and 22nd featuring nearly 100 wingless 600cc Sprints.
The “Concrete Series” season finale follows on Friday and Saturday March 13th and 14th in a second year return to the brand new Expo Center located on the grounds of the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse. N.Y.