Story By: ERNIE SAXTON / LEN SAMMONS PRODUCTIONS – SYRACUSE, NY – With the first two Indoor Auto Racing Series Fueled By VP presented by Belfor Property Restoration races in the books, all attention now turns to the finale March 11-12 inside the New York State Fairgrounds Exposition Center.
When the green flag drops in Syracuse, N.Y. to turn loose the TQ Midgets, no less than six drivers have a realistic shot at the winning the prestigious championship after races were held in Allentown, PA and Atlantic City, N.J.
Tim Buckwalter, Douglassville, PA (210), Matt Janisch, Nazareth, PA (200), Scott Kreutter, Buffalo, NY (187), Andy Jankowiak, North Tonawanda, NY (187) and Briggs Danner, Allentown, PA (170) will come into the Expo Center just 40 points apart. Any of the quintet could win with the right results combined with lesser performances in the feature finale from their rivals.
Ryan Flores, Davidson, NC, who won the A-Main in both Allentown and Atlantic City, and leads the points with 243, will be unable to race in Syracuse due to commitments with the Penske NASCAR Cup team at an event in Phoenix, AZ. This leaves the championship race wide open.
Among the five contenders, only Jankiowiak is a past champion, having won the Series crown in 2020, the last year the Series raced. The 2021 Series as well as the 2020 Syracuse races were all canceled by the pandemic by state officials.
Buckwalter and Danner won outdoor 2021 championships, Buckwalter at Big Diamond Speedway in 358 Dirt Modified action and Danner at Action Track USA in SpeedSTR competition.
Buckwalter, in particular, is hungry for a race win and a championship.
“Second again,” Buckwalter exclaimed after finishing behind Ryan Flores in the Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall TQ race on January 29.
“I really want to win one of these races and if I can in Syracuse, the championship will be a bonus.”
Matt Janisch might be the pre-event favorite to win both the race and the championship. A long-time TQ Midget racer, Janisch struggled in Atlantic City but rebounded from the rear of Saturday’s field after taking a provisional starting spot to finish fourth.
Scott Kreutter, who likewise had a bad start and great finish at Atlantic City, is another contender for both honors.
Jankowiak might well have been leading in the standings heading into the Syracuse Series race. He was bidding for his third consecutive Gambler’s Classic TQ Midget Series victory in Atlantic City when he tangled with race leader Erick Rudolph and then both spun. He rebounded to finish 12th, keeping him in the title hunt.
Entries have been pouring in for the Syracuse races, on a pace with the 2020 Series event which had 55 TQ, 35 Champ Kart and 38 Slingshot drivers ready to take the green flag before the races were canceled owing to the pandemic.
Fulton, NY car owner Jason Simmons’ two car team is entered, but Simmons not yet certain his driver lineup. Past Syracuse winner Justin Bonsignore, Holtsville, NY, and young Tyler Thompson, Fulton, NY, 2019 upset winner of the Oswego Speedway Supermodified Classic, drove Simmons’ cars in Atlantic City.
Champ Kart racer Jonathan Keister, and Slingshot dominator Brett Bieber are division points leaders heading into the climatic Syracuse round.
The same exciting, challenging race schedule of events used at Allentown and Atlantic City will be duplicated in Syracuse.
The 2022 event schedule will be headlined by the much-heralded Triple 20s on Friday for the TQ Midgets with the field split into groups by time trials so all get to compete.
Qualifying events will also be held for the Slingshots and Champ Karts. On Saturday, qualifying races will again be held for the three divisions followed by their feature events.
Tickets for this Friday and Saturday, March 11th and 12th are now on sale.
Tickets are also available for each race night starting at 2 PM at the Exposition Center Box office the day of the events.
Race fans can enjoy a double header weekend at the Fairgrounds with the 34th annual Syracuse Motorsports Expo and Trade Show being held at the Center Of Progress Building on the Fairgrounds.
This show opens on Saturday at 10 AM giving everyone plenty of time to enjoy that show then walk over to the nearby Exposition Center for the races that night. The Trade show reopens on Sunday from 11AM to 4 PM.
TQ Points (Top 15): 1 Ryan Flores 243, 2 Tim Buckwalter 210, 3 Matt Janisch 200, 4 Scott Kreutter 189, 5 Andy Jankiowak 187, 6 Briggs Danner 170, 7 Joey Bailey 140, 8 Mike Bednar 140, 9 Ryan Bartlett 137, 10 Matthew Roselli 136, 11 Anthony Sesely 125, 12 Tommy Catalano 120, 13 Shawn Nye 116, 14 Pat Bealer 115, 15 Andy Nye 114.
Champ Kart Points (Top 10): 1 Jonathan Keister 180, 2 Tyler Brown 145, 3 DJ Shaw 125, 4 Logan Crisafulli 117, 5 Missy Bootes 116, 6 Dustin Gagne 112, 7 Dan Marsden 100 8 Todd Crenshaw 100, 9 Chase Keister 96, 10 Mike Perry 95.
Slingshot Points (Top 10): 1 Brett Bieber 205, 2 Jared Silfee 180, 3 Scott Neary 170, 4 Louden Reimert 150, 5 Matthew Mertz 145, 6 Cody Kline 119, 7 James Benz 110, 8, Alex Reinsmith 101, 9 Tyler Ulsh 93, 10 Kyle Herve 87.