ATQMRA Honors Racers At Banquet
BETHELHEM, Pa. – Three-quarter midget racers, past and present, came together to celebrate the 2012 season during the 56th Annual American Three Quarter Midget Racing Association (ATQMRA) awards banquet held at the Best Western Plus Conference Center in Bethlehem.
The newly formed Vintage TQ Midget Racing Ass’n was also part of the gala event as they too shared in the festivities.
Noted racing announcers Bob Marlow, Earl Krause and Dino Oberto served as emcees for the gathering that was attended by drivers, owners, officials, team members, family and friends.
For 25-year old Ryan Tidman, it was repeat performance in taking his second straight title for car owners Lenny and Donna Boyd. It was the third overall championship for Tidman who also won in 2008 while driving for Dan DeRitis.
Tidman started off his title defense by taking the opening win at Mountain Speedway on April 29 and followed with victories at Bethel Motor Speedway on May 5, Wall Stadium Speedway on May 19, Mountain on August 4 and then Wall on August 18. Tidman clinched the title with his runner-up tally at Mahoning Valley Speedway on September 29.
“It’s been amazing, especially going two years in a row. Only with this team was I able to do this. They are the best team that I have been a part of and I owe a debt of thanks to each and everyone one of them,” said Tidman.
“We all just communicate so well together. Hopefully this will keep going on for the 2013 season.”
The Tidman/Boyd combination was a match made in heaven. Once Tidman got into the seat of the potent No. 1B they immediately began to progress into an elite operation.
“It was about growing as a team because technically this was our first full season together. We missed the first race of the year in 2011. This was all about getting close as a team, making sure everything went right at the race track and right now with this team I don’t think it can get any better,” said Tidman.
“Lenny and Donna (Boyd) are one in a million. They’re best friends and the best owners a driver could ask for. They’ve given me anything I could need or want to get the job done and that’s the reason we won this two years in a row.”
“He (Tidman) made racing fun for me,” added Boyd. “He’s a great person to work with. He appreciates the work that we put forth and he works as hard on the car as we do. He would come to the shop every Friday night after college and we work till midnight. And to watch him, he’s like poetry in motion.”
For Lenny Boyd, winning a second championship was a cherished accomplishment, not just as an owner but also for the fact that his roots run deep within the organization. His Father, Audie Boyd, was the owner champion in 1964 with driver Joe Kidd. Lenny also won the driver’s crown in 1987 for popular car owner Alan Mollot.
“My father was involved with this club back in the early nineteen-sixties. He was the owner’s champion in 1964 so I grew up in this and it was a dream of mine to be good at running a TQ. I had finally won the championship in 1987 and it’s very special for me to be in the record books with my father as an owner champion,” said Boyd.
To be able to repeat, Tidman had his work cut out for him as all season there was an onslaught of equally tough competition that he faced off against.
Runner-up in points, Buddy Sload tasted victory for the first time when he scored at Wall on September 15. Veterans Jon Gambuti, Robin Johnston, Jeff Kot and Joey Payne all paid visits to victory lane as did Matt Roselli.
Sload took point runner-up honors followed by Roselli, A.J. Fuge, who was named Rookie of the Year, and Frank Fischer. In top five owner points it was Sload, Mike Roselli, Sr., Denny Reider and Fischer.
“It’s kind of amazing actually because it was a lot of work to get one (title). You have to put 100% to win at anything. To win a championship is even more of an effort,” said Boyd.
“The competition today, even though the numbers of cars are less, the quality of those cars is way above. When I raced these cars back in the (nineteen) eighties the depth of really good cars was much less. Now if we come to the race track with 15 cars there are nine of them that could win the race so the competition is fierce.
The awardees where all presented superbly drawn framed replicas of their cars which were done to exact detail by Bill Force Sr.
In what was nothing short of an unqualified successfully first season, the Vintage Division of the ATQMRA, which was the brainchild of former driver Gary Mondschein, had a fantastic season as one after another more and more cars joined the fold.
Starting with a one restored car in 2011, by season’s end of this year the club boasted nearly 20 entries and that number is expected to double by next season.
“It’s what I had hoped for and it really did exceed that. We had upwards of 110 people at the banquet today, a combination of the Vintage Division of the ATQMRA and the present day ATQMRA. It was a real coming together of the eras. Tonight was a homecoming and a turning point for this club and I’d like to see it grow from this point forward,” said Mondschein, TQ Vintage president.
“I have much bigger aspirations for the Vintage club and the history and the preservation. My goal is to have the Vintage club become the premier vintage division throughout the whole East Coast and I want it to become nationally known.”
The club recognized several members for their hard work and dedication. The Dick Marlow Participation Award was given to Dave Clark, Bill Fisher, Bill Force Sr., and Jr., Jim Hempfill, Tom Hindley, Wayne Laucius, Keith Majka Jr., and Karl Mondschein.
The Jim English Sportsmanship Award was bestowed to Keith Majka Jr. Long time TQ support Robert Noll proudly gave the Service Appreciation Award to Tom Berry and the Norm Smizer Preservation Award, which was presented by his son, Ed Smizer, went to Mike Casario.