ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — What makes racing worth watching?
That is a question that promoters, drivers, fans and even those who don’t like racing often find themselves asking when it comes to motorsports.
For some people, it is the atmosphere, the roaring of the engines and the distinct racing fuel aroma. A racetrack can be a unique environment during a weekend from home. Then, of course, there is the excitement factor, stemming from intense on-track action, wild crashes and competitive finishes.
As for me, I have to admit, the wrecks can be exciting sometimes (so long as no one is injured, of course) and also give the event a feeling like no other. Honestly, nothing compares to 20 or more racecars, with all unique drivers, speeding into a turn.
Yes, when a field is separated by less than a second on a restart, contact is bound to happen and that certainly creates uncertainty for someone watching.
But it goes farther the just wrecks and contact. What’s better than two drivers, both biting at the other’s rear bumper, with just a few laps remaining? Especially when money, fame and the trophy all are on the line? It is quite intense, even as a fan in the grandstands.
Now, wait. Where is this racing at on a consistent basis?
Foremost, before I get too far into this blog, I want to reassure people reading this that NASCAR and the surrounding divisions do have some exciting events throughout their schedules. But, let’s be honest, some of those long-distance and limited action races in the higher levels can be just plain boring.
So, again, where can a race fan find a interactive and intense racing scene — with all the action that even the higher series can only put on a few times a season?
Look no further than indoor racing.
Wait… what did I just say?
Yes, that’s right. Indoor racing — with engines, racing fuel, tires, and the whole outside racing environment. Just indoors.
Now, some people reading this might have not even known indoor racing existed, but it does. And it is a wild, wild thing to watch. Truly, it is something incomparable to other forms of motorsports.
Recently, I received the opportunity to attend the Gambler’s Classic in Atlantic City, which is hosted by the Len Sammons-promoted Indoor Auto Racing Championship Series.
This was not my first rodeo in the indoor ranks, however, as I had made the trip to the same event inside Boardwalk Hall during the 2015 season. But this time, I gained a really strong appreciation and passion for the indoor leagues.
The entire weekend was an absolute blast. Even if I was there as a media member, I felt like a race fan at heart as I watched veterans and rookies duke it out on an indoor track — which, by the way, takes about seven or eight seconds to zip around.
Just as in 2012, I watched dirt big-block Modified regular Erick Rudolph steal the Third Quarter (TQ) Midget feature and triumph. It did not come in easy fashion, however.
Rudolph survived multiple cautions, late race restarts and a last lap push from Zane Zeiner to capture the checkers. In fact, the race ended up being a photo finish — .012 was the official margin of victory in the end.
Along with the eventual feature on Saturday night, the weekend-long event also includes heat races, qualifier events and last chance qualifier races. Now, for a moment imagine an eight-car field competing for two spots to transfer into the main event. Not to mention the race is indoors and the eight second laps are winding down quick.
If that alone doesn’t draw an appeal for you, I don’t know what will. It is a unique experience, for sure.
Beyond just the event inside Boardwalk Hall, the Indoor Auto Racing Championship Series also hosts two other events during the break from the regular racing seasons. Those two races are in Allentown, Pa. and Trenton, N.J., which helps make up the three-race points series.
This past weekend in the Gambler’s Classic, Monster Energy Cup Series team member Ryan Flores took the overall championship, allowing him to celebrate his first racing title.
So, this brings me to another point in this blog.
For one, at his juncture, I hope I have convinced at least someone to look into attending an indoor event next season (again, trust me, it is not going to break the bank and is worth the experience). But also, I have a request to the series.
Add more races.
Of course three races is a quick, competitive little season and draws some immediate attention during the winter months. However, it is time expand. Indoor racing has potential and it needs to be shown on a larger scale.
Imagine an indoor event in New York! Or how about in another Northeast state? The potential is limitless.
Over the past few seasons, the Indoor Auto Racing Championship Series has become a must-see event for race fans in Atlantic City, Allentown and Trenton. Now, however, it is time to bring the indoor racing to a new audience and strengthen the schedule for its next season.
More people need and deserve to see this racing.
This past weekend at Boardwalk Hall, the stands were packed, much like at Allentown and Trenton. Fans from multiple states came to see the event. Even though it was a four-hour trip. from my Ocean City, Md. home, it was definitely worth it.
Indoor racing is an unreal experience. It is something that does not compare to other auto racing. Next season, when the indoor schedule rolls around, I beg fans to get out and experience the show in person.
And, finally, let’s add more races. It’s time to show some more areas what indoor racing is all about.
For me, I look forward to being at all three (hopefully more, if other shows are added) indoor racing events next season. Because frankly, it’s some of the best racing around.
More information on the Indoor Auto Racing Championship Series can be found at indoorautoracing.com.
The opinions expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of Race Chaser Online, Speed77 Radio, the Performance Motorsports Network, their sponsors or other contributors.
About the Writer
Marshall Gabell is the Mid-Atlantic Correspondent for Race Chaser Online, and handles public relations needs in multiple outlets of motorsports, including for tracks and drivers. Gabell is currently attending Stephen Decatur High School in Ocean City, Maryland, completing his junior year. He is 16 years old.
Email Marshall at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow on Twitter: @MarshallGabell
Email Race Chaser Online: email@example.com
Follow RCO on Twitter: @RaceChaserNews