Story By: ERNIE SAXTON / LEN SAMMONS PRODUCTIONS – SYRACUSE, NY – New York driving stars are hoping their hometown state fans will help cheer them on to victory and an Indoor Racing Series fueled by VP Racing Fuels championship at the series finale on Friday and Saturday, March 11-12th.
Entering the event at the New York State Fairgrounds Exposition Center event sponsored by IndyKart Raceway in Rochester, N.Y., drivers from the state of Pennsylvania hold the upper hand.
PA drivers Tim Buckwalter, Briggs Danner and Matt Janisch will be traveling north to Syracuse after podium finishes in the most recent series race held inside Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall.
Buckwalter, a 2021 Dirt Modified track champion, won the A.C. Gambler’s Classic. Danner, a big winner last season in USAC dirt wingless Sprint Car competition, finished second and Janisch, a TQ expert, was third.
Buckwalter’s second career Indoor TQ Midget victory along with a fourth at the opener in Allentown, PA brings him to Syracuse with momentum and a slim 15 point lead over Janisch.
A NYer, however, has won the Indoor Series fueled by VP championship the last three years and won both TQ Midget features held back in 2019 when the series made its debut at the Fairgrounds Expo Center prior to 2020 and 2021 cancelations.
Defending series champion Andy Jankowiak of Tonawanda, N.Y. with drive east to Syracuse fourth in the points after a disappointing AC finish, yet still very much in the title hunt. Jankowiak led both the series opener in Allentown, PA and the AC event but failed to win either.
After a second in Allentown, he worked his way to the lead in Atlantic City only to crash with 2019 series champion Erick Rudolph from Ransomville. Jankowiak rallied back from the rear to finish 12th. But thanks to a strong qualifying effort that included a Friday Night Triple 20 win, he heads to Syracuse fourth in the standings 30 points behind Buckwalter.
Scott Kreutter of Cowlesville, N.Y. also had his issues in A.C., but after going to the rear early in the race he rallied to finish fourth. Kreutter comes to Syracuse third in the series, 26 points out of first, seeking his second career Indoor Series win in front of his hometown fans. Kreutter’s first Indoor TQ win came in Allentown, PA where he finished fifth this year.
Another pre-race favorite to win is New York North Country dirt Modified driver Ryan Barlett of Watertown. Barlett, a longtime supporter of the Indoor Series, enjoyed back to back top 10 finishes this season including a 7th in AC to enter his home-state event ninth in the standings in a TQ owned by his brother Tyler, the promoter of the Can-Am Speedway.
The Hoosier Tire Champ Karts and Action Track Slingshots will make up the three division program with over 100 entries expected to compete.
A large contingent of Champ Karts will be residents of New York including AC winner Dan Marsden of Mexico. Two PA drivers, however, are currently one-two in points led by Allentown winner Jonathan Keister and JSR driver Tyler Brown.
The always exciting Slingshots have also been dominated by PA drivers Brett Bieber, Jared Silfee and Scott Neary who have finished in the same order in both 2022 series races.
The Syracuse schedule will be headlined by the Triple 20s on Friday for the TQ Midgets with the field of nearly 50 split into groups by time trial results.
Qualifying events will also be held for the TQ Midgets, Slingshots and Champ Karts. On Saturday, qualifying races will again be held for the three divisions followed by their feature events.
Remaining tickets will also be available for each race night starting at 3 PM at the Exposition Center Box office the day of the events. Wearing masks and proof of vaccination is not required.
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.