Story By: DAN KAPUSCINSKI / JASON SIMMONS RACING – OSWEGO, NY – In a field of more than 50 agile TQ Midgets, Tyler Thompson rebounded after early race front running contact with Tim Buckwalter, to earn his first top ten finish in the prestigious Gambler’s Classic inside Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall.
Thompson’s third career attempt in Atlantic City was certainly memorable behind the wheel of the Jason Simmons Racing No. 98. After time trialing 11th overall on Friday afternoon, the Fulton, NY driver charged to finish 3rd in his Friday night A-Qualifier event to lock himself into the top eight positions for Saturday night’s 40-lap finale.
The order of those front eight positions for Saturday night would be determined by the finish of a 5-lap dash, which saw Thompson start from the pole position by virtue of the draw.
Thompson went on to claim victory in the dash, also putting himself on the pole position for the $5,000 to win A-Main.
Once in the A-Main, Thompson led early before giving way to eventual winner, and defending champion, Andy Jankowiak. Just laps later, Buckwalter would find the back bumper of Thompson heading into turn three, which sent the No. 98 spinning.
After restarting from the tail of the field, Thompson methodically worked his way back through the pack for an 8th place effort on the heels of Anthony Payne and Mike Bednar.
With his second top ten finish of the indoor season, Thompson sits 12th in the overall Indoor Auto Racing Championship standings.
Thompson’s TQ teammate, Michael Barnes, also qualified for the Saturday night Gambler’s Classic, by winning one of the night’s B-Main events. Barnes went on to finish 11th in the 40-lap feature event driving the No. 97, which puts him 11th in the championship standings only 2-points behind Jonathan Reid in the 10th position.
The JSR Champ Kart effort was once again led by Indoor Auto Racing Championship point leader, Tyler Brown.
Brown set fast time in Friday night Champ Kart trials in a field of 48 entries, and would start the 25-lap A-Main from the second position following the invert draw of two.
The outside row was not the preferred starting row, with Brown losing several positions on the initial green flag start. However, Brown was able to climb back through the field to finish 3rd overall behind repeat Gambler’s Classic champion, Doug Stearly, and runner-up, Cameron Carter.
With the podium finish, Brown remains the Champ Kart series point leader by 45-points over Todd Crenshaw.
In his first ever Atlantic City attempt, Dan Kapuscinski qualified 7th fastest in the 48 kart field to start inside the fourth row of the Gambler’s Classic main in the JSR No. 97.
Unfortunately, Kapuscinski found himself facing the wrong direction exiting turn two on the initial green and would have to restart 24th on the grid. After 25-laps, Kapuscinski managed to race back through half of the field, to finish 12th in the final order.
Following a 12th place finish in Allentown, PA, Kapuscinski sits tied for 11th in the series standings of more than 50 drivers, only 2-points shy of the top ten.
The Indoor Auto Racing Championship will come to a conclusion on March 13-14 inside the New York State Fairgrounds Expo Center in Syracuse, NY.
The weekend of action will see complete racing programs for both the TQ Midgets and Champ Karts on Friday and Saturday evening.