TRENTON, NJ – Erick Rudolph passed Jimmy Blewett for the lead on the sixth lap of the 40-lap feature and raced on to victory Saturday night in the Battle of Trenton Len Sammons Motorsports Productions (LSMP) TQ Midget feature at Sun National Bank Center.
“We come to these races with the best car Mark Lafler car build and set it up the best way he knows how to,” Rudolph said. “And once I got the lead, lapped traffic was the only thing I had to worry about.”
The win was the sixth LSMP Indoor TQ victory in Rudolph’s career, second only to Ted Christopher’s standard of seven.
Ryan Flores passed Blewett on lap 19 to gain second spot and stayed there with Blewett finishing third, Zane Zeiner was fourth and Scott Kreutter ran fifth.
“He (Rudolph) was a little better than us so I have to work on it harder and get better,” Flores said. “We’re gaining on it. This is the second fifth place finish I have had in one of these races.”
Blewett said simply of third place, “the car got tight”.
The race was an attrition-plagued affair with only half of the twenty four starters taking the checkered flag at the end of forty laps.
Two red flags, bringing a stop to the action, were flown during the race.
The first red came after Joey Payne, who had started last in the race but had been moving forward, slammed into the first turn concrete Jersey barrier at top speed and flipped several times. After anxious moments, Payne was assisted from his car and walked across the infield to the plaudits of the fans.
The second red flag, on lap thirteen, occurred after Ted Christopher’s car flared up in spectacular fashion after an oil line broke and spilled fluid on the hot engine. Christopher was not hurt.
The win for Rudolph came in the first of three Indoor Auto Racing Series Fueled By VP Racing events staged by LMSP. The second is slated for the PPL Center in Allentown, Pa., on December 30-31 and the third and concluding Series event is inside Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., on January 27-28, 2017.
Finishing sixth through tenth in the 40-lap feature were Andy Jankowiak, who went to the rear on lap ten after spinning, Chris de Ritis, Tim Buckwalter, Brandon Azzalina and Mike Iles.
In the 20-lap Slingshot co-feature, Anthony Raisner, driving a car usually driven by Dylan Hoch, led all the way to win the race, hounded from start to finish by Kurt Bettler. Seth Spayd was third, Gary Hieber fourth and Kyle Herve fifth.
Danny Buccafusca, Nick Shaw, Hoch (owner of the winning car driven by Raisner), Dillon Steuer and Cole Hentschel wrapped up the top ten finishers from the twenty starters.
The top eight starting spots in the TQ Battle Of Trenton were determined by the finishes of the top eight time trialers in Friday time trials in a five lap Dash. Jimmy Blewett led from start to finish with Zane Zeiner, Erick Rudolph, Scott Kreutter, Ted Christopher, Tim Buckwalter, Tommy Catalano and Ryan Flores following.
TQ Midget qualifying heat races on Saturday night were won by Andy Jankowiak, Chris de Ritis, Anthony Sesely and teammates Mike Iles and Richie Pratt, Jr.
The second heat win by de Ritis was a thriller in that it came down to a three wide battle involving de Ritis, Rob Neely and Shawn Nye to determine the final outcome.
Jonathan Reid claimed the TQ B-Main and Geoffrey Sutton the TQ C-Main.
Slingshot heat races were won by Danny Buccafusca, Kyle Herve and Dylan Hoch.
Battle Of Trenton TQ Midget Feature (40 Laps): 1. Erick Rudolph, 2. Ryan Flores, 3. Jimmy Blewett, 4. Zane Zeiner, 5. Scott Kreutter, 6. Andy Jankowiak, 7. Chris de Ritis, 8. Tim Buckwalter, 9. Brandon Azzalina, 10. Mike Iles, 11. Richie Pratt, Jr., 12. Josh Dalrymple, 13. Ted Christopher, 14. Anthony Sesely, 15. Matt Janisch, 16. Shawn Nye, 17. Joey Payne, 18. Jason Rochelle, 19. Matt Roselli, 20. Jonathan Reid, 21. Tommy Catalano, 22. Ryan Tidman, 23. Rob Neely, 24. Aaron Bartelemy.