Story By: ERNIE SAXTON / SAMMONS PRODUCTIONS – ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – Practice for 18th annual NAPA Know How Indoor Auto Racing Series Fueled By VP Race Fuels began at 5:00 PM sharp Thursday, January 30 inside historic Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ. And at the end of the five hour session, defending Gambler’s Classic winner Andy Jankowiak was fastest of the sixty plus entrants.
Jankowiak, of Buffalo, NY, struggled at times during the practice, making a last minute spring and shock change at one point, and rigging a balky muffler fitting into place with a temporary fix.
Janisch, of Nazareth, PA., comes into the Gambler’s Classic as the Indoor Auto Racing Series points leader. Briggs Danner of Allentown, PA, drives a car owned by Janisch, The pair were each able to post top times in two sessions each.
Other drivers who were quick on the time sheets were Joey Jarowicz, Bobby Holmes and Anthony Sesely. Two others who appeared to be quick, Tim Buckwalter and first time entrant Chuck Hossfeld, did not have their cars equipped with transponders, which are necessary to register lap times.
Preparation Thursday prior to practice for the NAPA Know How Weekend involved transforming the concrete arena floor into a racetrack through the application of cola syrup and the erection of dozens of concrete barriers to form the outer and inner racetrack perimeter. The installation of infield tire barriers, the building of a race control tower and a starters’ stand, putting up warning light and scoring systems, and the hanging of event signage were among the many necessary tasks.
Well over 60 TQ Midgets, upwards of 40 Champ Karts and a like number of Slingshots are entered for the weekend of racing action and most were at the track for the optional practice session.
One of the more intriguing TQ Midget entrants practicing was Dylan Woodling of Warsaw, IN, who was driving a 600 Sprint of his own design.
“We built as much of the front and rear suspension as we could to be inboard,” Woodling said. “The idea is to create a durable car. It looks a little different and I’m looking forward to seeing how we do here. If we go well, we’ll probably go to Syracuse in March with it.”
Action gets underway in earnest on Friday with practice beginning at 1:00 pm for all three classes followed by time trials for all three classes.