ALLENTOWN, Pa. — Ryan “Skip” Flores had been trying to win a race in the Indoor Auto Racing Championship Series presented by Len Sammons Motorsports Productions for many years.
Before last weekend, Flores had finished second five times in his career indoors — including the 40 lap Battle of Trenton earlier in December.
The Cornelius, N.C. native was chasing down Erick Rudolph in the final laps of the Trenton main event and he closed to the bumper coming to the checkered flag. Even though he was able to give a tap to Rudolph, he was once again a bridesmaid to the defending indoor champion.
Shortly after that feature race, Flores admitted that while chasing his toughest competitor, he learned a few things about the way Rudolph was driving the track.
And last weekend, Flores put those lessons to work — for his benefit.
He was able to complete the clean sweep at Allentown’s PPL Center, winning both the Friday night TQ Midget feature and the New Year’s Eve spectacular: the first two wins of his indoor career.
“Erick has been our Achilles heel and he was number two in northeast wins this year, second only to Stewart Friesen — so that’s some big company,” Flores said. “He’s just a class competitor. I told everyone that if I could just race with him side-by-side I could beat him.”
Last Friday night, Flores got his chance. He took the lead away from Jimmy Blewett on lap three, then held off Rudolph and others in the final stages to score the win.
The next night on Saturday, Flores had much of the same luck. He was battling Rudolph for the lead when the two got together and Tommy Catalano went three-wide and cleared the both of them. Fortunately for Flores, Catalano spun out in the lead and it gave Flores the chance he needed.
In the final laps of the New Year’s Eve main, Flores held off a hard-charging Catalano and Blewett to take down his second straight. After four years of trying — and five second place finishes — it was finally time to celebrate.
“I knew I would get my chance when we were lined up on Friday and the same on Saturday,” Flores said. “There was some contact between us, but that’s indoor racing. It was nothing other than hard racing. When you get to race against those guys the last couple of restarts, there’s so many people that have awesome stories in the summer months with what they accomplish. It’s special to be able to race with them.”
The wins and success indoors for Flores is impressive — especially since he doesn’t have time to get behind the wheel during the spring and summer months, like most of the drivers he races against indoors. During the regular racing season, Flores works as a tire changer on the Wood Brothers Racing pit crew for driver Ryan Blaney.
In the winter, he puts on the helmet and gets behind the wheel to go indoor racing — which is its own beast.