From Ernie Saxton, Chris Jones Photo
PROVIDENCE, RI — Davey Hamilton has turned many laps at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Now, he’ll try to be the best at the upcoming Coffee Cup at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, R.I., on December 4-5.
Hamilton, a nine-time Indianapolis 500 starter, is the latest entry for the upcoming two-day indoor three-quarter size Midget Car race, which drew rave reviews from competitors and fans when the same cars competed at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in March.
“I have always told people that the smaller the track, the busier and more challenging it is for the driver,” Hamilton said. “I know the speeds are not faster at tracks like Indianapolis, Texas and the other bigger-sized race tracks that I’ve raced Indy Cars, but it is more of a challenge on the smaller tracks.
“It’s more physically exhausting. You never have a time to relax like you get on a bigger-outdoor track. When you are on a short track and especially when you’re racing on one indoors, you’re on the gas, hitting the brake, turning right, turning left and worrying about the cars in front and/or in back of you.”
In other words, indoor racing is a must-see event for all. The action will take place on a concrete oval on the Dunkin’ Donuts Center floor and the cars will reach speeds close to 70 mph. The spectators will have a view of the entire racing surface, from seats overlooking the track.
Hamilton, who started 50 Indy Car events and finished second in series points twice, will drive a car built and owned by indoor race event dominator Lou Cicconi Jr.
“Lou has been a long-time friend of the family,” Hamilton said. “His family has been involved in the sport for a long time, just like mine.
“In September, I was driving a Supermodified in a race at Oswego (N.Y.) Speedway. One of the support classes was the TQ Midgets. I got watching them, and they were incredibly fast.”
Hamilton spoke with Cicconi about the feisty cars and before he knew it, Cicconi offered him a ride in one of his cars.
“I asked him where they race and Lou was telling me about some of the facilities,” Hamilton said. “Then, he said, ‘there is a race in Providence in December. Why don’t you come and race one of my cars?’”
The Coffee Cup will mark the first time for Hamilton in a three-quarter sized Midget Car.
“I’ve driven some bigger-sized cars indoors like four to five times with the USAC (United States Auto Club) Series,” Hamilton said. “I’ve never driven something that can be this quick on an arena floor.
“I’ll depend on Lou a lot on this one. I’m going to ask a lot of questions and follow his lead. I did the same in September at Oswego with the Supermodified and the guy – Otto Sitterly – who gave me the car, won the main event. I was in good hands at that race and I know Lou is one of the best indoor racers in the sport.”
The format will be similar to the one used in March. The Three-Quarter Midgets and Senior Champ Karts will headline the two-day program. Feature events for both classes are scheduled each night.
Tickets can be purchased at all Ticketmaster locations and the Dunkin’ Donut Center box office.
Ticketmaster can be reached online at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000. Information on the event will be available at aarn.com or by calling 609-888-3618.
A special hotel rate of $79 per night is available at the Hilton, which is located within walking distance from the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Racers and fans can find more information on a link at www.aarn.com or by calling 1-800-445-8667. In order to get the special rate, you must ask for the “Indoor Auto Race” rate.
The room rate block is available until it’s sold-out with a November 17 deadline.