Andy Jankowiak celebrates his 2020 win at Atlantic City. (LSMP photo)

Andy Jankowiak Eyes Another Indoor Win

ALLENTOWN, Pa. – The anticipated resumption of the Indoor Auto Racing Series on Jan. 7-8 cannot come soon enough for defending series champion Andy Jankowiak.

The races inside Allentown’s PPL Center sponsored by Ironton Global will be the first since the COVID-19 cancelled the 2020 season finale at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, N.Y.

Jankowiak will be returning to the Indoor Auto Racing Series with the same No. 57 he’s had much success in.

“I love the pace, the atmosphere of indoor racing, love the competition,” he said. “What I really love about it is the ability to think your way through things with the car.”

The last time Jankowiak drove his No. 57 midget, it was his win in the 2020 Gambler’s Classic in Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall. That win, as it happened, was the difference in Jankowiak’s 2020 Indoor Auto Racing Series championship after the Syracuse race was later cancelled.

“After we won the last race in Atlantic City, I did make some changes to the car, with the rear end geometry but have never had the chance to try it,” he said. “The tweaks were pretty minor actually. But you know, if you are standing still with what you race, you’re going to get passed.”

“You have to think about what you need to do to go faster,” he added. “Being in ARCA now, I have met a lot of new people, have had access to new opinions, access to new ideas.”

Jankowiak made his ARCA Menards Series debut at Daytona (Fla.) Int’l Speedway last February. His best finish was seventh at both Pocono (Pa.) Raceway and Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in seven ARCA starts in 2021.

“There are things that translate among all race cars,” he said. “The basic principles are the same. Maintenance, fatigue, things like that. With the ARCA car, the issue is longevity. Durability can be applied across all forms of racing. We go 40 laps and have to take a little crashing and banging.”

The Tonawanda, N.Y., driver admitted that not racing indoors last year was difficult for him.

“It was tough I really look forward to the indoor stuff,” he said. “The joke around here a couple of years ago was that if Daytona ARCA testing was the same weekend as Atlantic City, it was going to be a real shame to have to miss Daytona.”

Jankowiak won the 2020 Indoor Auto Racing Series TQ Midget Car champion by a slim margin over Erick Rudolph.

To be crowned champion in 2022, Jankowiak will need to best a strong field of contenders including two drivers who visited victory lane during the recent Turkey Derby at New Jersey’s Wall Stadium.

Local favorite Briggs Danner, a Lehigh Valley, Pa., native, drove a TQ midget to victory outdoors in a tune-up for indoor racing in a car owned by fellow racer Matt Janisch.

The biggest Indoor Auto Racing Series PPL Center TQ midget race winner is Ryan Flores of Mooresville, N.C.

Like Danner, Flores won a race at last weekend’s Turkey Derby in the 100-lap factory stock race.

Flores, who works for Roger Penske’s NASCAR Cup organization, will be seeking his fifth victory at the PPL Center in January, with his eyes set on becoming the winningest TQ driver in series history.

After Allentown, the series will head to Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall on Jan. 28-29 and conclude in Syracuse at the New York State Fairgrounds Exposition Center March 11-12.

For Allentown tickets, visit www.pplcenter.com.

Tickets may also be purchased in person at the arena box office, open only during events hosted at the arena including Lehigh Valley Phantoms games

Additional entries are currently being accepted by the Indoor Auto Racing Series for its trio of 2022 races.

“We expect that competitor interest in the TQ midget, champ kart, and slingshot classes will be at an all-time high since we haven’t raced at all in over a year,” series organizer Len Sammons said.

TQ midget race cars will headline all the programs with high-speed excitement competing on speedways set up on the concrete floors of three arenas. slingshots and champ karts will complete the tripleheader programs.

The Allentown schedule calls for doors opening at 6 p.m. with racing underway at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.

On Saturday, doors open and Fan Fest begins at 5 p.m., with racing starting at 7 p.m. sharp.

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