Ryan Flores’ Tire Fails Post-Race Tech, Tim Buckwalter Declared Atlantic City TQ Midget Winner
Story By: LEN SAMMONS PRODUCTIONS – TRENTON, NJ – Apparent Atlantic City Indoor Auto Racing Series winner Ryan Flores of Davidson, NC has been disqualified from his Saturday, January 29th TQ Midget victory inside Boardwalk Hall. The right rear tire, which he borrowed from another competitor, did not meet Hoosier Tire benchmarks.
“I truly believe Ryan had no knowledge of the position he put himself by racing someone else’s tire in the feature,” said Len Sammons, promoter of both the series and the Atlantic City event.
“He’s a stand-up guy and while shocked when called, he took the news as a true professional. I could tell he felt as bad for the series and those involved with his race team as he did for himself.”
The official $5,000 race winner of the 2022 Gambler’s Classic becomes Tim Buckwalter’s of Douglasville, PA.
“I feel horrible for my entire team, sponsors, family and friends for a mistake I made,” said Flores by phone after given the bad news by series officials. “The tire was on my car and it’s my responsibility to make sure it meets the standards.”
“We had a rough night on Friday and then took advantage of extra track time on Saturday afternoon to perfect our set-up. By Saturday night we were running short on tires and took up the offer to use the tire from another competitor. ”
Flores said he should have known better than risking taking someone else’s tire. Since the series disallowed tire altering of any kind for the 2019 season, he’s won two events including the previous race in Allentown, PA on Saturday, January 8th, 2022.
“Instead of dismantling and flipping the used tire we had on the car like we had planned, we made the mistake of taking up the offer and used his new tire for the race,” said Flores.
“I never even considered that the tire was altered, because it is no longer allowed on the series and our team doesn’t do it at all, it never even crossed my mind that it could be illegal. It wasn’t a consideration, but it should have been.”
Competitor Chris deRitis, upon learning of the disqualifcation called the series office to appolgize and accept responsibility for the tire. “I sincerely appologize to Ryan, his entire team and the series. A mistake that my team made, created an issue for Ryan and his team they do not deserve. They work hard and do it right and don’t deserve this black eye.”
Each time Flores has won, set fast time or finished in the top three he’s had a tire sample taken by officials. Documented series records show samples of Flores tires tested in the past had previously met Hoosier Tire benchmarks.
“I know the series does a great job checking tires and would never knowingly put myself or my team in jeopardy by doing so. They always check the winner and do random testing, I know that I’m not stupid, but I did make a bad decision this time,” said Flores.
The right-front tire off Buckwalter’s Bill Pippard owned No. 74 was sampled after he had set fast time on Friday and it met Hoosier Tire benchmarks. Following Flores disqualification, the right-rear samples taken following Buckwalters then second place finish were sent to the laboratory in North Carolina for testing and have met Hoosier Tire standards.
“I hate to win any race this way and I don’t believe the tire won him the race, but rules are rules ,” said Buckwalter after receiving the news on Thursday in Florida where he is racing a Dirt Modified.
“I really think I would have won the race with a last lap pass on outside for the win but the yellow came out and we restarted single-file and ended up second. It’s an honor to win the race for the first time, we’ve been so close, second multiple times, but I also feel sorry for Flores. He’s a great competitor and I would have rather passed him and enjoyed the victory lane celebration.”
With the win now official, Buckwalter jumps into a 15 point lead over Matt Janisch with only the series finale in Syracuse, NY at the New York State Fairgrounds Exposition Center on Friday and Saturday, March 11th and 12th left on the schedule.
Briggs Danner advances to second in the Gambler’s Classic rundown with Janisch now third, Erick Rudolph fourth and Scott Kreutter fifth. Danner, Janisch and Kreutter had all made spectacular chargers from the rear of the field in the 40 lapper. The event purse will now be paid, it is held after each event until tire results have been received.
Flores had previously announced he could not race at Syracuse because of his full-time job commitment.