TRENTON, N.J. — Erick Rudolph, Ted Christopher and Ryan Flores were each on top Friday night at the Sun National Bank Center.
All three drivers visited victory lane in the three 20 lap TQ Midget qualifying races used to help set the field for Saturday night’s fourth annual Battle of Trenton.
In the first race, Rudolph started in fifth spot as the defending champion of the Indoor Auto Racing Championships and quickly worked his way into the top three. The first caution flag of the race flew when Bruce Leote spun on lap 10 and then shortly after, race leader Jon Reid came off turn two and his engine went up in flames while leading the race. Luckily, with his hands up, Reid was able to get out of the way and quickly exit the car without much chaos.
In the final stages of the race that included a short dash to the end, Rudolph opened up a gap and scored yet another victory in his No. 22. “We were really chasing the car around this morning,” Rudolph said. “But we came back to what we had here last year. The main goal is to win tomorrow.”
In the second TQ 20 lap qualifying round, Ted Christopher returned to his winning ways indoors. Christopher started in sixth position, but his race quickly started taking a wrong turn when he was involved in a first lap, third turn crash. Luckily, he was able to escape it with little damage.
Jimmy “Showtime” Blewett was called to the tail end of the field just a few laps into the race after contact from his front bumper sent another car spinning in turn three. At the halfway point, it was Brett Michalski at the front of the pack, but just two laps later, he was spun facing the wrong way after contact with the second place car.
The wreckage allowed Christopher to get to third position, then pounce and find himself second by the time the field hit at lap 14. At lap 16, Christopher took the lead away from Kyle Lick and never looked back from there. Driving for the first time for Trey Hoddock, Christopher rolled the car right into victory lane.
“It’s the first time I’ve driven for these guys,” Christopher said. “We got banged up in a few accidents and the front end of the car was pretty messed up. I just can’t thank them enough for letting me drive it.”
In the third and final 20 lap feature race, Ryan “Skip” Flores took down the checkered flag after starting back in the sixth position. Pushing his way to the bottom grove in the early going, Flores did everything he could to get to the front quickly.
When he finally worked his way up to second spot, he was chasing Joey Payne, trying to find a weakness in the No. 83. When Payne slipped just a little bit coming off turn two late in the race, Flores pounced — using some contact to push his way to the point. Payne wasn’t happy about it after, but he was kicked outside the top three and out of contention for the win.
Flores went on and held off Andy Jankowiak to score the win. “I just have to thank everyone on board, everyone that helps me,” Flores said. “There was a little bit of contact there, but I didn’t think I did anything wrong.”
The Indoor Auto Racing Championship Series continues tomorrow night, with the annual feature night and the 40 lap “Battle of Trenton” feature race for the TQ Midgets. The Slingshots will also be part of the racing, with qualifying and feature action all in one night.
For more information on the series, fans can visit www.indoorautoracing.com
About the Writer
Kyle Souza is an aspiring Journalism major at the Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I. Souza is Race Chaser Online’s New England motorsports insider, covering everything from the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour to the NASCAR Whelen All American Series and the PASS North Super Late Models.
When not writing, Souza works at the Seekonk Speedway as the track’s Friday night public address announcer. Souza also writes press releases for the Granite State Pro Stock Series. Souza also works for Area Auto Racing News, based in Trenton, N.J.
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