From Jerry Reigle, image courtesy of Mudclodbob
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ — Jessica Zemken is busy preparing for the upcoming outdoor racing season with Tony Stewart Racing.
Zemken will drive for top driver and car owner Timex Morgan of Rochester, N.Y.
“She’s a great driver who knows how to adapt to the car and race track,” Morgan said. “I remember watching her race a car at the Monroe County (N.Y.) Fairgrounds, and it only took her five laps to figure out things.”
Zemken visited Boardwalk Hall once as a fan in 2007.
“It is a fun atmosphere,” Zemken said. “It can be pretty intense especially in qualifying, because you have so many cars trying to get into the feature race.”
Nearly 96 cars are expected to vie for the 26 available spots in the Gambler’s Classic, a 40-lap race that will be contested on Saturday, Jan. 30. A 30-lap preliminary race, which will have 24 cars in the starting field, will be held on Friday, Jan. 29.
“It will be quite an experience racing with all those cars on the track,” Zemken said. “A lot of experienced and great drivers will be competing to get that win.”
The entry list is filled with many experienced and successful race car drivers including Billy Pauch, a winner of more than 650 dirt Modified features; Ted Christopher, a former NASCAR Modified Tour champion and defending Gambler’s Classic winner; Lou Cicconi Jr., a multi-time indoor and outdoor feature winner; Mike Stefanik, a nine-time NASCAR series winner who was named the second-best all-time NASCAR Modified Tour driver of all time; Frank Polimeda, the defending ARDC Midget champion; and Ryan Smith, a 26-time Micro Sprint Car feature winner this past season.
Zemken has competed in 360 Sprint Car events, mainly with the Empire Sprint Series and ASCS Patriot Group, but she has recently signed to drive a Tony Stewart Racing 410 Sprint Car this season.
She plans to run a “true outlaw” schedule in 2010, competing in a variety of 410 and 360 Sprint Car races with Tony Stewart Racing.
TSR is taking Zemken’s existing No. 1z team under its wing and will provide technical assistance. Donny Schatz and Steve Kinser are TSR’s primary winged Sprint Car drivers on the World of Outlaws tour.
“Our goal is to be ready by the end of March,” Zemken said. “We don’t have any plans to race in Florida, as we’re in the process of putting together cars and getting crew help.”
Zemken is in the process of getting a new hauler and other inventory to compete outdoors this season.
Zemken competed in a Midget Car at the Chili Bowl Nationals at the Tulsa (Okla.) Expo Center a few years ago.
But the 600cc Micro Sprint Car that she’ll drive for Morgan in Atlantic City is smaller than the full-sized Midget Car she drove at the Chili Bowl Nationals.
“I’m looking forward to getting to Atlantic City,” Zemken said. “I’m interested to get the 2010 racing season started. The Gambler’s Classic is still a race that, as race car drivers, we want to win plus it is competitive and that’s where we thrive.”
Fans can purchase tickets by calling Ticketmaster at (800)-736-1420 or online at www.ticketmaster.com.
Information on the event is available at aarn.com or by calling (609)-888-3618.
Fans can also purchase tickets at the Boardwalk Hall Ticket Office. Tickets will be $2 more at the door on the day of the race.