A Brief History of Indoor Auto Racing In Atlantic City (courtesy of Program Dynamics)
Auto racing inside Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City first began in 1938 when a series of Midget car races was held during the fall of that year. The following autumn, the Midget car racing events were held once again.
With the specter of World War II hanging over the nation, many auto races were first voluntarily and later legislatively cancelled to aid in the war effort and Boardwalk Hall racing was such a casualty.
Auto racing enjoyed a tremendous post-World War II boom throughout the nation but Boardwalk Hall, while an active and thriving entertainment venue, remained silent to the roar of racing engines.
It was not until January of 1965 that Pleasantville. NJ businessman George Stockinger began the first of fifty five indoor racing events that would stretch over the course of the next fifteen winters. The featured attraction was the Three Quarter Midget, a smaller, more nimble version of the Midget car that had been action back in 1938-1939.
Because of the scheduling of these races in the dead of winter, the Atlantic City Indoor Races received widespread publicity among the auto racing media. The frenzy peaked in 1973 when six events were held, though through 1981 at least three events took place each year. The series ended as Atlantic City was in the midst of its transformation from a fabled shore town to a worldwide gaming mecca.
Big winners in the "Stockinger Era" included Doug Craig, Levittown, PA; Jack Bertling, Caldwell, NJ; Bob Cicconi, Prospect Park, PA; Nick Fornoro, Jr. Rockaway, NJ; Tony Romit, Cliffside Park, NJ; and Lenny Boyd, Farmingdale, NJ.
Twenty two years later, in 2003, Len Sammons, publisher of Area Auto Racing News, perceived a need for and a value in resurrecting the Atlantic City Indoor racing traditions. On January 18, 2003, a packed house saw the racing events and Andy Mackereth from Mississauga, Ontario, Canada won the main event.
The auto racing success was no less spectacular than the renaissance of the city of Atlantic City itself.
And so the Atlantic City Indoor Race has been reborn and thrives with fields of cars so huge that two days of qualifying are needed to provide each entrant a fair chance to earn an opportunity to compete for the biggest prize.
Support divisions since 2003 include Legends Cars, Slingshots, Micro Stocks and Champ Karts.
The 2014 Atlantic City Indoor race will be the sixty-ninth of the modern era (beginning in 1965).