ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Lou Cicconi, Jr., scored his second Gambler’s Classic 40-lap TQ Midget victory at Boardwalk Hall Saturday night, joining Joe Payne, Jr., as the only two-time winners of the event.
Named the Gambler’s Classic because the drivers can place a bet to collect more money should they win, Cicconi made the house pay out once again, earning an additional $3,000 more than the regular first-place purse, taking home $5,000 for his night’s work.
Cicconi was chased to the finish by nine-time NASCAR series champion Mike Stefanik, who was making his first Atlantic City start. Stefanik won December’s Coffee Cup indoor race in Providence, R.I.
Stewart Friesen finished third, duplicating his result from the previous night’s 30-lap feature. Ryan Smith came home fourth, followed by Mike Lichty.
Cicconi started ninth and made his way to the front to take the lead from Friesen on the 11th lap. Shortly thereafter, a grinding crash and substantial fuel fire provided an unplanned intermission.
Mike Tidaback, a previous Atlantic City winner, emerged singed but without apparent injury after his car went up in a dramatic fireball in a multi-car crash on lap 19.
Following the cleanup, the track’s concrete surface offered much less grip. Stefanik hounded Cicconi for a few circuits until he lost second to Friesen on lap 32. But Friesen immediately ran high in turn three, which allowed Stefanik to reclaim the runner-up spot.
Kyle Hieber won the slingshot feature and A.J. Roderick topped the champ kart event.
Lou Cicconi, Jr., Mike Stefanik, Stewart Friesen, Ryan Smith, Mike Lichty, Joy Payne, Jr., Russ Bailey, Timex Morgan, Ted Christopher, Christopher Allen, Don Zrinski, Ian Cumens, Steve Craig, Rob Vivona, Chris DeRitis, Matt Janisch, Mike Tidaback, Davey Hamilton, Mike Iles, Jeff Kot, Glenn Heverin, Paul Lotier, Jr., Robin Johnston, Tim Adams, Tim Buckwalter, Billy Pauch.