ALBANY, NY February 5, 2018 . . . Marc Johnson, the 2016 Modified champion at Albany-Saratoga Speedway, has entered the Indoor Auto Racing Series Fueled By VP Racing Fuels (Three Quarter) TQ Midget competition this coming weekend, February 9-10, 2018 at the Times Union Center in downtown Albany, N.Y.
Johnson will be driving the highly regarded Sharpe-Shifter Motorsports No. 21 TQ Midget owned by Ken Sebring. The effort will be supported by BOSS Mechanical.
“It’s a great opportunity for me to race in front of a hometown crowd,” Johnson said. “I’ve never run a TQ Midget and never run indoors but I do have Quarter Midget experience and have run a Modified at Albany-Saratoga a few times when they went back to asphalt for a year. That should count for something. I know the car is a good, fast piece.”
Car owner Ken Sebring is enthused to obtain the services of proven winner Johnson so late in the game.
“From everything I know about Marc and from talking to him when he came my shop, I think we can be very competitive. Bobby Holmes, my regular driver who raced the car in Allentown, won’t be able to make the Albany race because of work commitments. There were a lot of different guys who had called about the ride in my car but to me, Marc is the best. He’s a proven competitor and he really wanted to do this race since its right in his backyard,” Sebring said.
Johnson said that his hometown of Guilderland is no more than fifteen minutes from the Times Union Center.
“It’s a home game for me,” Johnson said. “That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to do it. To be honest, I don’t have any expectations, want to qualify for sure and then have a good race.”
Another Capital District area entrant is Albany-Saratoga Modified 2018 feature winner Demetrios Drellos of Queensbury, N.Y. Drellos has entered the competition in the Slingshot division, which is where he first excelled before moving into Dirt Modified racing two years ago.
On the TQ side, Donnie Preece, owner of the No. 6 TQ Midget driven by his nephew Ryan in Allentown and Atlantic City, will have past NASCAR Whelen Modified Touring Series champion Ron Silk behind the wheel.
The driver who will be chased the most in the TQ Midget ranks is the one with the most at stake, Indoor Auto Racing Series point’s leader Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville, Long Island, N.Y.
Bonsignore, who finished third in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour points last year, has his sights set on the championship. If he succeeds, he’ll earn the TC Cup. emblematic of excellence in Indoor TQ racing and presented in memory of the late Ted Christopher, an eight time Indoor Auto Racing Series A-Main winner.
Erick Rudolph, a dirt Modified super star from Ransomville. N.Y. and the 2016 Indoor Series champion, remains in close contention.
Bonsignore and Rudolph will be joined by fellow Empire Staters Scott Kreutter of Buffalo, Jonathan Reid of Lockport, Ronnie Flaim of Allegany, DJ Forbes, Jr., of Syracuse, Shawn and Andrew Nye of Lancaster, Timmy and Tommy Catalano of Ontario, crowd favorite Andy Jankowiak of Tonawanda, Ryan Bartlett of Watertown and Tyler Thompson of Fulton.
The wild card for the TQ Midget drivers and their teams is the fact that the Times Union Center is a first-time venue: no one knows exactly how the track will develop and to what extent it will change over time.
While unusual, Indoor Auto Racing is not unprecedented in the state of New York.
Throughout decade of the 90s up to and including 2002, the Niagara Falls Convention Center hosted Indoor TQ Midget events several times each winter. The development of casino gambling ended the Niagara Falls racing.
Now, through the efforts of Len Sammons’ Indoor Auto Racing Series, Empire State auto racing in the winter has been resurrected.
The TQ Midgets will be supported by the Slingshot both nights and the Champ Karts were recently added as a Saturday night bonus. Both of the undercard divisions have full fields of 30 teams registered.
Top New York State Slingshot entrants include Dan Morgiewicz of Goshen, Damon Paul and Matt Hitchcock both of Stony Point, Nick DelCampo of Blauvelt, Brandon McGill of Plattskill, and Don Boonstra of Hurley.
The Champ Kart class, are led into battle by Cale Ross of Lambertville, N.J., who has won both Indoor Auto Racing Series run to date. Karters from New York State who have 2018 Indoor Auto Racing Series experience include area drivers Ryan Kendall of Troy, Ryah Swartz of St. Johnsville, Jordan Modiano of Schenectady, and Dominic Roselli of Highland Lake.
Central and western New York entrants include Tyler Brown of Fulton, Taylor Caprara of Watertown, Gene Gregoric of Tonawanda, and James Shutts of Syracuse. Long Islanders running Karts are Vinny Delaney, Eric Zeh. Anthony Colandro, Brian Chin, and Richie Davidowitz,
The Friday, February 9 schedule of events calls for time trials and qualifying races for both TQ Midgets and Slingshots. Doors open at 6:30 PM Friday with racing beginning at 7:30.
On Saturday, February 10 doors open at 6 PM with racing beginning at 7 PM. All three divisions the TQs, Slingshots and Champ Karts will compete on Saturday night.
Choice tickets for both days are available at the Times Union Center Box Office, charge-by-phone at (800) 745-3000, or at Ticketmaster.com.