KEITH ROCCO TO MAKE FIRST INDOOR THREE QUARTER MIDGET AUTO RACING SERIES FUELED BY VP RACING FUELS STARTS IN ALLENTOWN, ATLANTIC CITY AND ALBANY; ACQUIRES TOP SHELF RYAN PREECE CAR FOR ALL OUT ASSAULT
Story By: Steve Barrick/LSMP
Photos By: Dave Dalesandro & Pete MacDonald/RacersGuide.com
ALLENTOWN, PA November 8, 2017 . . . New England Asphalt Modified specialist Keith Rocco has plans to run in the Indoor Auto Racing Series Fueled By VP Racing Fuels trio of races to be held this coming winter. Len Sammons Motorsports Productions received confirmation from Rocco declaring his intentions to race in the Allentown (PA), Atlantic City (NJ) and Albany (NY) races.
Rocco, who has never driven a Three Quarter Midget nor raced indoors, has acquired the car Ryan Preece has raced in recent Indoor races with considerable success.
Preece recently announced that he will drive the car now solely owned by Donnie Preece, Ryan’s uncle, in the three-race Indoor Auto Racing Series. Donnie Preece acquired sole ownership of the car from the late Ted Christopher’s wife Quinn shortly after the racing legend’s death in a private plane crash.
With a top car underneath him, Rocco, of Wallingford, CT, who won track championships this season at Waterford Speedbowl, Thompson Motorsports Park and Stafford Motor Speedway, is certain to rank among the pre-race favorites.
Rocco will be in the field when the series opens for 2018 at the PPL Center in Allentown, PA., for the Ironton Telephone sponsored events on Friday and Saturday, January 5 and 6. He will return to the NAPA Auto Parts Indoor Auto Racing Weekend in Atlantic City, NJ, on January 26 and 27. Then, Rocco will then square off in neutral territory in the first ever Indoor race event in New York State, set for February 9-10, 2018 in the Times Union Center in downtown Albany, N.Y.
To succeed, Rocco will have to go up against experienced indoor TQ Midget drivers in what is a very specialized racing discipline.
New Jersey native Ryan Flores of Mooresville, N.C., will be racing his No. 15 Lafler TQ Midget at Wall Stadium’s Turkey Derby in the TQ Midget feature over Thanksgiving Day weekend in preparation for the indoor opener.
Flores has spent his working life in NASCAR’s upper tier series. He currently works on the Woods Brothers No. 21 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series team driven by Ryan Blaney.
When Blaney moves from the Wood Brothers Ford to a third team owned by Roger Penske in 2018, Flores and the rest of the team will move with Blaney to the No. 12 car.
Also a contender for victories and the championship is Jimmy Blewett of Howell, N.J., recently crowned Wall Stadium 2017 Modified champion. Blewett has been a contender for Indoor Auto Racing Series victory for five years but has yet take the checkered flag.
You never can rule out Erick Rudolph of Ransomville, NY. An eight time winner and three time Indoor Racing Series champion, Rudolph was a close second to Flores in last year’s title chase. He will be coming off a career best outdoor season on dirt that produced 17 wins and the BRP Modified Tour championship.
Driving a TQ Midget on the Indoor Series is a perfect off-season workout for the drivers. The TQs are open wheel race cars, specifically adapted for racing in the tight indoor speedway confines. Powered by a 750cc motorcycle engine, the car and driver weigh only 825 pounds allowing them to ignite to speeds up to 75 mph. The unbelievable racing, with lap times under eight seconds, has produced huge fan attendance.
These are not cookie cutter race cars held in a box by a large rule book. The suspension and car design are open to the team, making it a throwback style of racing.
The Ironton Telephone Allentown event schedule calls for racing to start at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and 7 p.m. on Saturday.
Three Quarter (TQ) Midgets will run a full program of racing with feature events both nights. Champ Karts will be racing in a complete show on Friday night, with the Slingshots on Saturday night.
For choice tickets, contact the PPL Center Box Office by phone at 610-347-TIXX (8499), online at pplcenter.com. The 2016 event was a sell-out.
The series moves next to the NAPA Auto Parts Indoor Auto Racing Weekend in Atlantic City. For tickets, contact Ticketmaster, the Boardwalk Hall Box Office, or the Area Auto Racing News office at 609-888-3618.
The finale will be a first annual event in New York State, on February 9-10, 2018 in the Times Union Center in downtown Albany, N.Y. For choice tickets, contact the Times Union Center Box Office, charge-by-phone at (800) 745-3000, or visit online at ticketmaster.com.