TRENTON, N.J. – Erick Rudolph, Ted Christopher and Ryan Flores shared the glory on night one of the fourth annual Battle of Trenton Indoor Auto Racing program on Friday evening.
They each won a 20-lap three-quarter midget feature in the first event of the 2016-2017 Indoor Auto Racing Championship Fueled By VP Racing Fuels.
The events served as a lead-in to Saturday’s full slate of qualifying events leading up to the 40-lap TQ Midget feature, known as the Battle Of Trenton. Slingshots will be the support class.
Rudolph took the lead midway through the first race with a daring outside pass of race leader Earl Paules on a restart. Rudolph, a five-time indoor feature winner, then led the rest of the way to outrun Zane Zeiner, Tommy Catalano and Paules.
“This is the same car we ran last year and it’s just as good as it was,” Rudolph said. “Making an outside pass is something that can be done with a car as good as this one.”
Jonathan Reid led the first half of the race before his car’s engine flamed out directly in front of Paules, who leapfrogged over Reid’s flaming car but continued on.
In the second 20 lapper, Christopher, the most prolific winner in the history of Len Sammons Motorsports Promotions with seven checkered flags, drove to the win in a car owned by Trey Hoddick. All of Christopher’s prior wins came in cars of his own design.
“This was a rough race,” Christopher said, surveying a winning car that has a left front wheel lug nut severed, the left side bodywork in front of the 750cc Suzuki engine bent inward and a rear bumper that was misshapen. “A bunch of people ran into me, but that’s indoor racing.”
Jimmy Blewett came from the rear of the field after involvement in an early race accident to finish second followed by top performing 600cc Micro Sprint driver Kyle Lick, who led the race with seven laps to go. Mike Iles recovered from an early race spin to run fourth and Steve Kemery was fifth, and second 600cc Micro finisher.
Flores made a successful inside pass stick against race leader Joey Payne in the third TQ 20 lapper, keeping control even after contact caused anxious moments for both while racing for the lead in front of the pack.
Andy Jankowiak, who had previously driven the car Ted Christopher is running in this year’s Indoor Series, finished second in a car owned by Bobby Holmes. Tim Buckwalter was third, three time career Indoor feature winner Anthony Sesely fourth and Scott Kreutter was fifth.
In the afternoon time trial session, Kreutter set fastest time among the 52 entrants.
Cale Ross, a youthful driver whose recent credits include winning the 2016 New Egypt Speedway Rookie Sportsman championship on dirt, proved his versatility by winning the 20-lap Champ Kart feature on the Sun Bank Center concrete. Ross edged John Berger, Dalton Rovira, Tim Gregory and D.J. Doyle to take the top prize.