ALLENTOWN, Pa. – Indoor Auto Racing Series champion Erick Rudolph has a date with destiny Dec. 30-31 at the PPL Center in Allentown, Pa.
The dirt modified standout from Ransomville, N.Y., has the opportunity to tie and surpass Ted Christopher for most Len Sammons Motorsports Productions Indoor Series Three Quarter Midget feature wins.
If Rudolph should sweep the Allentown weekend, he would end the season second in northeast feature wins with 26 victories. It would also put him three-quarters of the way towards a $10,000 bonus offered by Bob Hilbert Sportswear. To pocket the challenge money, Rudolph would only then have to win the Indoor Series finale inside Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall on Jan. 28.
Rudolph’s victory earlier this month in the series opener on Dec. 10 at Sun National Bank Center in Trenton, N.J., was the seventh of his Indoor TQ midget driving career. Christopher has previously amassed eight victories, the most recent of which was two years ago, also inside the Trenton arena.
“The car was just about perfect,” Rudolph said after his Trenton victory. “It had to be because the competition has never been better. It’s the same car we won with here in Trenton in February and in Allentown back in January.”
For the 2016/2017 Indoor season, Christopher has parked his own No. 13 in favor of driving the No. 49 owned by upstate New York whiz Trey Hoddick. Christopher was running second to Rudolph in the feature in Trenton during his debut for Hoddick, but after setting the fastest lap of the feature an oil line detached from the engine erupting it in a fireball.
“I was gaining on him,” Christopher said. “I was running just as quick or quicker than he was until the car blew up.”
Aside from Christopher, a former NASCAR modified champion, there are at least five strong competitors who are in line to win for the first time over the Ironton Telephone/ Avaya Indoor TQ Midget race weekend in Allentown.
It’s only a matter of time before Ryan Flores, Jimmy Blewett, Zane Zeiner or Justin Bonsignore pull into victory lane.
Flores, Cornelius, N.C., finished second to Rudolph in Trenton. It was his fifth second place Indoor Series finish.
“I just need to work on making the car a little better,” said Flores, a full-time employee of Team Penske’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series team.
Blewett was third in Trenton and set the second fastest time in qualifying. He’s been a factor in every Indoor race he has run. Two Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania entries, Zeiner and Earl Paules, also have the experience, equipment, and talent to challenge Rudolph.
Zeiner finished third at Trenton and was competitive in the battle up front. Paules couldn’t overcome several hurdles at Trenton, but the 2015 Mahoning Valley Speedway asphalt modified champion is out to redeem himself in front of his hometown area fans.
Bonsignore missed the Trenton event to attend the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour banquet in Charlotte, N.C., to collect his second place in the standings awards. Proven to be fast last year Indoor in his No. 51, Bonsignore is expected to be another pre-racefavorite to win for the first time indoors.
CREDIT: Len Sammons Motorsports Productions