ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – Three Quarter Midget drivers Ryan Flores and Tommy Catalano left the Allentown, Pa., Indoor Auto Racing doubleheader with the best results of their driving careers.
It made the long ride home to North Carolina for Flores and up-state New York for Catalano much quicker.
The pair will now head to historical Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 27-28 with renewed confidence. They’ll be pre-race favorites when the 2016-2017 Indoor Auto Racing Series fueled by VP finale, the biggest race of them all – the 15th annual NAPA Know How Gamblers Classic, is the feature attraction.
Flores, of Cornelius, N.C., swept both Allentown TQ A-Main 40-lap features, the first TQ Midget wins of his career, after finishing second no less than five times in past years.
“I always come to these races with the intentions of winning,” said Flores, a full-time employee and tire changer for the Team Penske Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series team. “To win, you have to beat Erick (Rudolph) but I would like to have done it without him crashing.”
Rudolph, the defending series champion and winner of the event this year in Trenton, NJ, lost battles for the lead with Flores both nights in Allentown.
Catalano failed to qualify for the feature field on Friday in Allentown and then nearly won on Saturday. Talk about a rebound.
Catalano shocked everyone when he made a three wide-pass for the lead under Rudolph and Flores mid-way through the feature. A spinout, however, sent him to the rear but he never gave up. He drove back to finish a close second.
“This was great,” Catalano said. “I spun there all on my own while in the lead but came back through. It is a great day for me and my family.”
Anthony Sesely, who has won four times in Atlantic City including last year’s Gambler’s Classic, is also one of the pre-event favorites.
Atlantic City will determine the champions of the Indoor Auto Racing Series. Flores is the leader in the TQs over Rudolph. Cale Ross has a thirty point spread on Champ Kart point’s runner-up D.J. Doyle, and Kurt Bettler has a five point advantage over Danny Buccafusca in the Slingshot class standings.