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Trenton’s East Coast Indoor Dirt Nationals Winner To Receive Special Rob Vivona Memorial Trophy, Named after Inaugural Race Winner

Trenton, NJ – Rob Vivona, whose courageous run to victory as “Whitey Kidd III” in the first East Coast Indoor Dirt National at Trenton’s CURE Insurance Arena in 2017 will never be forgotten. When the fifth annual winner is decided on Saturday, February 24th the victor will receive a special Rob Vivona Memorial Trophy.

Vivona, who inspired friends and fellow racers by racing while battling cancer, passed away in March of 2023 at the age of 41 after battling cancer for eight years. He died just weeks after the running of the fourth annual event last year.
“Rob’s effort just to compete at the event was remarkable, for him to pull off the late race pass for the win was both incredible and emotional,” said Len Sammons, who promotes the Indoor Auto Racing Series events. “At the time we weren’t able to tell the story of his courageous battle, but we promised to tell it when the time was right and from this point forward Rob Vivona will be honored in victory lane.
While the Indoor Series statistics had shown the winner of the December 2017 East Coast Dirt Nationals as ‘Whitey Kidd III’ it was Vivona who took the dramatic win after passing then leader Alex Bright with two laps remaining.
Unknown to most in attendance, Rob was extremely ill from colon cancer. At the time, he thought it was best not to be “in the news” as Rob Vivona so he competed as “Whitey Kidd III”.
A native of Staten Island, NY, the Vivona family was aware of the lure of “Whitey Kidd”, an alias used by an undercover New York City police officer. During the 1970s, the original Whitey Kidd owned the dirt Modified No. 125 driven by Roger Laureno. Thus, Vivona was aware of the name and decided to race at that event and others that followed as “Whitey Kidd III”.
The night he won at Trenton was particularly rough for Rob. He literally sequestered himself away from crowds and stayed bundled up against the cold temperatures.
But when it came time to race, he gamely strapped into the green & yellow “Kidd Racing” No. 46 and captured his B-main to qualify for the 50 lap race. He then drove forward from 13th on the grid into the history books as the first Indoor Dirt Nationals A-main winner.
“I couldn’t possibly be any happier than I am right now,” said Rob in victory lane, physically and completely exhausted.
In January of 2014, Vivona competed on the Indoor Auto Racing ‘Concrete’ Series in the Gambler’s Classic at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall. He had been diagnosed with cancer the year prior and hadn’t raced in six months.
But, showing the inner strength that defined him, Rob finished third in the opening Friday night A-main. That run came in his signature No. 46, this one a TQ Midget that good friend Anthony Sesely created for him “from a frame” just nine days before.
“As happy as I am to win, I’m happier for Rob,” reflected Sesely post-race after his victory that Friday at Boardwalk Hall.
Rob Vivona/Whitey Kidd III wasn’t done racing after that historical win in Trenton. He came back to race in the Dirt Nationals in 2018 and won a Friday night A-main Qualifier 20-lap race. He ran the event for the final time in 2020, the event was not held for next two years due to the pandemic.
This year’s East Coast Indoor Dirt Nationals will be held over two days, Friday and Saturday, February 23rd and 24th with feature events being held both days for the first time.
Saturday’s doors open at 4 PM with a special autograph session on the concourse at 5 PM for drivers already qualified for the A-Main. Racing action begins at 6 PM with alphabet soup transfer races. The twin E, D & C-Mains transfer the top five. The twin B Mains are each 15 laps with top seven in each joining the back half of the 24 car field that will take the A-Main green flag.
As a bonus, Friday night’s top ten performers will race in a new Bob Hilbert’s Sportswear $500 to win Cash Dash on Saturday before lining up in the A-Main event.
A schedule addition for 2024 finds a Friday night feature event among that day’s top performers. After four 16-car split field 15 lap qualifier races and a pair of B-Main, a 24 car A-Main will be held over 25 laps. Doors open at 6pm with racing at 7pm on Friday night.
Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com or indoorautoracing.com. Tickets are also available daily and on the days of the event at the CURE Insurance Arena box office.
For those who cannot attend, the event will be available on DirtTrackDigest.TV Pay-Per-View for $64.99 for the weekend or $29.99 for Friday and $39.99 for Saturday.

For more information about the BELFOR Property Restorations East Coast Indoor Dirt Nationals visit http://www.indoorautoracing.com

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