TRENTON, N.J. — Audio and recap by Race Chaser Online New England Corespondent Kyle Souza — Melissa Lynn Pearl photo —
Fans arrived at the Sun National Bank Center on Friday night in Trenton, New Jersey expecting to see some thrilling indoor racing, and that’s exactly what they got — courtesy of Erick Rudolph and Ted Christopher — who claimed the TQ Midget Twin 20s during the opening night of the “Battle at the Center”.
Starting Friday night’s action at the Sun National Bank Center was Time Trials for the TQ Midgets. More than 70 cars took to the small indoor facility and multiple slid sideways all around the track. Andy Jankowiak’s lap of 7.104 seconds was fastest, with Ted Christopher clocking in second at 7.130 seconds. Completing the top five in Time Trials was Erick Rudolph (7.153), Shawn Nye (7.192) and Kyle Reinhart (7.216).
The Time Trials set the lineups for the heat races that followed during the evening. With twelve laps and six spots open to the main events, drivers knew they had to put it all out on the line. A battle behind Ted Christopher and Lou Cicconi in heat four headlined the qualifying. To no one’s surprise, the two drivers swapped the lead back and forth for much of the heat race — with Christopher coming out victorious.
The first TQ Midget 20 lap Sprint rolled onto the race track following the Champ Kart B-Main with Joey Payne and Erick Rudolph on the front row bringing the field to green. Rudolph came into the night as the defending winner of the Battle of Trenton, scoring the victory back in February. The early laps of the main saw Rudolph move by Payne on the outside lane and hold him off not once, but twice on several early restarts for incidents that included multiple drivers.
Andy Jankowiak was the fastest driver in the early part of the day, but fell victim to multiple incidents throughout the race and was forced to the pits before the finish.
Rudolph went on to hold off Mike Lichty and drive away to the win in the first TQ 20 Sprint.
“We will celebrate this one tonight but come back focused tomorrow night and try to win another,” Rudolph said in Victory Lane. “That’s what it’s about.”
The second TQ Midget 20-lap feature event was brought to the green by Ted Christopher and Earl Paules. Christopher shot from a cannon on the original start and drove away only to see the lead erased when Mike Osite spun in turn three on lap one.
The field doubled back up and Christopher went right back to the races, with Paules hot on his tale. The two raced closed together until a yellow came out for Steve Craig, who went over the wall and towards the stands. Thankfully, all the fans were okay — as was Craig — after the incident.
A second major incident later on saw Lou Cicconi, who was third at the time, hop Jimmy Blewett’s wheel on a restart and go flying, hitting the outside fence in turn two head on. Like Craig, Cicconi walked away unhurt as well.
Once the race went back green, Christopher held off challenges from Paules and Blewett to grab his first Indoor win of the season. Blewett hung on to finish second.
The Champ Karts joined the TQ Midgets as the supporting division on Friday evening and had their own thriller. The 20-lap feature was brought to the green by Stephen Beattie from the pole, but he was sent spinning in turn two of the opening lap.
That handed the lead over to Joseph Pacovich, who was on a mission for the early stages. He opened a gap on the rest of the field with Chris Daley hot on his tail. After several laps however, Pacovich suffered the same fate as Beattie — as he went spinning from the lead.
From there, it was all Daley, who hung on and drove away with the win.
Indoor Racing at the Sun National Bank Center will continue on Saturday night, with a 40-lap TQ Featured A-Main and the supporting slingshot class.
For more event information, visit the Trenton Indoor Racing page at aarn.com.
RESULTS: “Battle at Trenton”; Trenton Sun National Bank Center; Dec. 19, 2014
TQ Time Trials (Top-10): 1. Andy Jankowiak (7.104), 2. Ted Christopher (7.130), 3. Erick Rudolph (7.153), 4. Shawn Nye (7.192), 5. Kyle Reinhart (7.216), 6. Anthony Sesely (7.224), 7. Rob Neely (7.303), 8. Matt Janisch (7.323), 9. Pat Eberling (7.327), 10. Matt Roselli (7.352).
Audio with Quick Timer Andy Jankowiak:
TQ Sprint Race No. 1 (20 laps): 1. Erick Rudolph, 2. Patrick Emerling, 3. Mike Licthy, 4. Zane Zenier, 5. Joey Payne, 6. Andy Nye, 7. Richie Pratt, 8. Jon Reed, 9. Ryan Flores, 10. Marc Rogers, 11. Rob Neely, 12. Pat Bealer, 13. Kyle Reinhardt, 14. Avery Stoehr, 15. Andrew Krause, 16. John Gambuti, 17. Luke Thomas, 18. Andy Jankowiak, 19. Buddy Sload, 20. Ryan Tidman.
TQ Sprint Race No. 2 (20 laps): 1. Ted Christopher, 2. Jimmy Blewett, 3. Shawn Nye, 4. Anthony Sesely, 5. Geoff Sutton, 6. Mike Isles, 7. Neil Williams, 8. Tony DiMattia, 9. Earl Paules, 10. Matt Janisch, 11. Matt Rosselli, 12. Tim Buckwalter, 13. Kyle Hieber, 14. Mike Osite, 15. Lou Cicconi, 16. Steve Yankowski, 17. Steve Craig, 18. Brett Michalski, 19. Ryan Susie.
Audio with TQ Sprint No. 2 Winner Ted Christopher:
Audio with TQ Sprint No. 2 Runner-Up Jimmy Blewett:
Champ Kart Feature (20 laps): 1. Chris Daley, 2. Joe Pacovich, 3. Andrew Swisher, 4. Cale Ross, 5. Danny Bouc, 6. John Berger, 7. Ron Midford, 8. A.J. Desantis, 9. Jon Handley, 10. Alex Colasanto, 11. Brianna Page, 12. Stephan Beattie, 13. Mike Schickner, 14. Dakota Kessler, 15. Ricky Collins, 16. D.J. Doyle, 17. Jessica Little, 18. Dalton Rovira, 19. Paul Hartwig, 20. Anthony Colandro.