Another Gambler's Classic has been reeled off in Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall.
The event held last Friday and Saturday drew a very large crowd to the resort town, and saw several drivers walk off with big wins.
In Saturday's main event, a 40-lapper for the TQ Midgets (Three Quarter Midgets), Anthony Sessly drove to his first indoor win. The young asphalt-modified driver from New Jersey has been strong at all three of this winter's indoor races, and pulled off the $5,000 win Saturday.
Sessly started on the front row, and led every lap of the race despite several serious challenges. At the finish, another New Jersey asphalt-modified star, Jimmy Blewett, was second, with Roman Pennick in third. Friday's winner, Lou Cicconi Jr., was fourth, and Baltimore winner Mike Lichty rounded out the top five. Completing the top 10 were Joey Lord, Jon Gambuti, Ryan Tidman, Matt Janisch and Erick Rudolph.
Several drivers saw good runs go by the wayside with late-race incidents. Providence winner Ted Christopher was battling for second when he climbed over another racer and flipped with just two laps remaining. Christopher was not injured. Rudolph spun out of a top-three position in another incident with two laps remaining, and local sprint-car racer Ryan Smith dropped from a top-three position in a tangle with just six laps remaining.
In Friday's 25-lap TQ race, Cicconi passed Christopher for the lead on the fourth lap and went on to win over Blewett, with Smith, Christopher and Rudolph in the top five. Rounding out the top 10 were Ryan Preece, Sessly, Tidman, Tim Buckwalter and Paul Lotier Jr.
Rudolph fared better in the 600cc micro-sprint features, with a win on Saturday and a second-place run on Friday. On Saturday, Rudolph won over Janisch, Jimmy Carpenter, Rob Vivona and James Morris.
Friday's race saw Kyle Lick come from the 13th starting spot to win over Rudolph, Brandon Azzalina, Luke Thomas and Morris.
In the Champ Karts, Providence winner Cody Sieber got his second win of the winter series. Brandon Ruseczek finished second, followed by Danny Bouc, Cody Slattery and John Hillman.
The Slingshot win on Saturday went to second-generation driver Gary Heiber, who won over Brett Beiber, Anthony Perrego, Jesse Hartman and Eddie Strada.
REINHARDT: When the indoor series visited Providence, R.I. on New Year's Eve, Kyle Reinhardt was in attendance.
Like so many others before him, Reinhardt was part of the crew who worked the infield as a corner worker.
The youngster, who has done quite well in 305 sprint competition and is moving up to 360 racing this season, liked what he saw in Providence, and found himself a ride for the Atlantic City race. A 2011 305 sprint winner at Lincoln, Reinhardt, was making his first-ever indoor start in the Gambler's Classic.
Friday didn't go quite as well as was hoped, and Reinhardt missed making the feature event after a late-race, heat-event skirmish. That tangle placed Reinhardt near the back of Saturday's C-Main.
Reinhardt raced forward in that race to advance to the rear of the B-Main, and did likewise there to garner a back-row starting spot in one of the heat-race scrambles. Again he advanced far enough to make it into the A-Main on Saturday.
Again Reinhardt started near the back, and with the first 12 laps going non-stop, he got lapped. From that point on he kept in the running and out of trouble and finished the race with a 12th-place finish.
Not a bad first time out in the indoor race, and probably a whole lot better seat than working the infield in the previous race.
FLORIDA: Race teams from the area will head south this week for some racing events.
The sprint cars start this weekend with a Thursday All Star race at Screvens, Ga. Friday and Saturday action moves to the Bubba Speedway in Ocala, Fla.
The All Stars then move on to Volusia Speedway Park on Feb. 13 and 14, before the World of Outlaws take over at Volusia Feb. 15-17.
The 360 sprints will race at East Bay Feb. 21-23.
The Volusia track, near Daytona, will be in action every day from Feb. 12 through Feb 23. After the sprint cars leave, the late models and modifieds move in. The UMP mods actually race there from the Feb. 12 until Feb. 19.
The UMP late models have shows from Feb. 18 until Feb. 20, while the World of Outlaws late models race there from Feb. 21 until the Feb. 23. The DIRT modifieds race there from Feb. 20 until Feb. 23.
PORT BANQUET: The Port Royal Speedway honored its champions on Saturday evening, and also handed out a few extra awards.
The sprint car Rookie of the Year was Nate Snyder, while Blane Heimbach was named Most Improved and Doug Esh got the Sportsmanship Award.
In the late models, Trent Brenneman was the top rookie, Brett Schadel was Most Improved and Mike Lupfer was the Sportsmanship driver.
Bryan Householder writes about dirt-track racing for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at sports@yorkdis patch.com.