Mahoning Valley Speedway
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Vintage TQ Organization Event at Mahoning Valley in Honor of Doug Craig
by Dino Oberto
LEHIGHTON, Pa. -- The Vintage Division of the American TQ Midgets Racing Association will be joining the contemporary ATQMRA this coming Saturday evening, July 7 at Lehighton’s Mahoning Valley Speedway for an event that will honor the memory of the organization’s four-time champion, Doug Craig.
Craig, who perished in an aircraft accident several years ago, won four consecutive ATQMRA championships as both driver and car owner in the late 1960s before going on to a distinguished career in the ARDC Midget Series. Craig’s son, Steve, is himself currently a competitor with both the ATQMRA and ARDC. Jane Craig, Doug's wife, is flying up from Florida to attend.
Special guest announcer will be well-respected Bob Marlow who will help call the action for the Vintage Division meet.
Interest in the ATQMRA Vintage Division has been so high that organizers are expecting enough cars such that separate on-track events will take place for the “roll-cage” and “pre-roll” cage cars. To date nearly 20 restored TQ Midgets are signed up for Saturday’s event.
Vintage cars expected on track include the Trimble rear-engine Triumph No. 16, the Boyd Triumph No. 43, the Wehrle “Slingshot” No. 02 and many more.
On the same program, the incredibly quick modern TQ’s will be in action. The winged warriors set track records wherever they race and are dizzying around the tight Mahoning Valley oval. The TQ’s have been racing at Mahoning Valley since 1987.
Defending TQ champion Ryan Tidman of Levittown currently holds the all-time Mahoning track record at 8.924-seconds, becoming the first driver to ever exceed 100 mph there. The TQ’s have been so fast that they have been averaging their Mahoning main events in just over 3-minutes.
Tidman is a five time Mahoning winner including last season. He drives for car owners Lenny and Donna Boyd and heads into Saturday’s race as the ATQMRA point leader. Matt Roselli of Brodheadsville won twice there last year.
Tidman won the season opener at Mountain Speedway on April 29 and backed it with another win on May 5 at Bethel Motorsports Park. The following day at Mountain saw veteran Robin Johnston take the checkers. Tidman chocked up his third ’12 win at New Jersey’s Wall Stadium on May 19.
Jeff Kot of Doylestown scored his career first feature win with the club and Mike Roselli, Jr., of Brodheadsville, who is the car owner of the Dart chassis mount, also earned that same honor on June 9 at Mountain.
Jon Gambuti of Point Pleasant, NJ thrilled the crowd at Wall on June 16 with a sizzling run to the front of the 25-lap ATQMRA main as he won for the first time this year while at the wheel of the black & white-trimmed No. 36 fielded and prepared by Colin Martin. The race ran non-stop, in a time of 5:13.041.
This Saturday’s race is also taking place one day after the 50th anniversary of the opening of Pine Brook Speedway in Pine Brook, NJ and so that milestone will be noted as well. The Pine Brook track, the first purpose-built track for TQ Midgets, debuted on Friday evening, July 6, 1962, with Bob Dini claiming the historic first victory.
Pine Brook is also the track in which Mario Andretti recorded his early career success and was also the birth place of Micro Stock racing.
Bowing to real estate development pressures the Pine Brook track held its last race in 1989.
The Vintage Division of the ATQMRA is committed to preserving and demonstrating the long history of Eastern TQ Midget racing and the Mahoning show should be a great gathering of past and present.
Drivers already committed to attend with the Vintage class include Hank Rogers, Jr., Wayne Laucius, Bill Force, Sr., Patrick Force, Keith Majka, Karl Mondschein, Gary Mondschein, Tom Hindley, Robert Hall, Jay Young, Jim Hempfill, Drew Fornoro, Tom Berry, Bill Fisher and Nathan Stevenson.
Also on the slate will be the track’s regular divisions of Modified, Late Models, Street Stocks, Dirt Mods and 4-Cylinder Stocks. Racing starts at 6:00 p.m.
Additional news can be found on Mahoning’s website at www.mahoningvalley-speedway.com or www.atqmra.org/ You can also follow track happenings on FACEBOOK.
Mahoning Valley Speedway is located on PA route 443, two miles west of Lehighton. Race day call 570-386-4900 for latest info on events, starting times and weather.