By MIKE MALLETT
Erick Rudolph, winner of eight TQ indoor events, didn’t add to that total this weekend at the PPL Center in Allentown, Pa., but he had a solid weekend scoring back-to-back podium finishes. The Ransomville, N.Y., driver backed up his third place finish on Friday night with a second on Saturday night.
Rudolph debuted a new Lafler Chassis this weekend. He admitted that it wasn’t perfect, but he’s got a good base going forward as he looks ahead to Atlantic City in a few weeks.
“We got third yesterday, second today,” stated Rudolph. “I guess we are moving in the right direction. Atlantic City is the one that everyone wants to win. We are coming into there with good momentum. We are still trying to figure out this new car. It’s really promising. It responds to changes really nice. We missed it a little bit tonight, but we know exactly what we would need to do. We still had a car we could have won with. Third and second with 53 cars here this weekend, you can complain about it but you have to keep it in perspective too.”
Rudolph chased eventual winner Scott Kreutter for much of the event. He restarted alongside of him on multiple occasions only to fall back in line. At one point he slid all the way back to fifth before rebounding late to get second.
“He (Kreutter) got the lead and he did a good job keeping his line and not making any mistakes,” mentioned Rudolph. “We got bounced back a few spots and had to come back a bit. The restarts you try to give it a shot. You are fighting a losing battle on the outside. I was able to hold my own and drop into second on most of the restarts.”
Bonsignore in Mix for Win; Ends Night Third
Coming off his first win on Friday night, Justin Bonsignore was in the mix to win his second consecutive indoor feature. He restarted on the outside of Kreutter late in the race but watched Kreutter drive away while he contended with a hard charging Rudolph. Rudolph was able to dive underneath him and get back to the second spot at the finish. Bonsignore had no choice but to be happy with third.
“The track peeled up way too much, more than we expected,” commented Bonsignore. “That’s just part of it. It’s like dirt racing and I don’t dirt race so it’s just a guess at keeping up with the race track. We did the best we could. Congrats to the 49 (Kreutter). That’s Teddy’s (Christopher) car that he ran last year. If we couldn’t win tonight it’s really cool for that to happen. It was a decent run. We are off to a good start. We’ll see if we can get better in Atlantic City. We’ll keep learning and we’ll go from there.”
Reid Takes the Long Way to Top Five
It was a long Saturday for Jonathan Reid and his crew. The Lockport, N.Y., pilot got behind on Friday and chased all weekend before ending Saturday night’s feature in fifth. Reid didn’t get the qualifying time he would have liked and that put him behind in the chase for points all weekend long.
He had to race his way from the B-Main into Friday’s A-Main where he got as high as third before a crash put him back in the back at the checkered. That finish caused him to start in the middle of his heat race on Saturday. He got up to second in the heat but he was sent to the pits during that heat as his car was leaking fluid. That put him in the night’s C-Main.
Reid raced his way out of the C-Main to the B-Main. He then raced his way into the A-Main earning the 22nd starting position. He advanced to fifth in the 40-lap feature earning a nice $150 bonus for his efforts.
“To be honest, this whole weekend has either been up or down,” said Reid. “I’m exhausted. I think I burned up every tire I had. I burned out my crew guys. I think I wore out my car. I’m pretty sure I hit every single car out there. My car is in one piece and to finish fifth tonight is really, really good.”
Preece Locks Up Late; Finishes Sixth
Ryan Preece had a chance late to possibly steal the win away from Scott Kreutter only for his car to roll to stop on the speedway after an extended red flag period. Preece was scheduled to restart on the outside of the front row. He was forced to the pit area to make repairs. He returned to race back to sixth.
“We had vapor lock,” commented Preece. “It’s really disappointing because we had a fast car on the outside on restarts. I was looking forward to starting outside of Scott. He had a car that Ted (Christopher) drove and my car was one of his cars. It would have been fun to have our two cars racing it out for the win.”
All Back Luck for Flores
The defending Indoor Racing Series Fueled by VP series champion Ryan Flores had nothing but bad luck all weekend long. The highlight of weekend was setting fast time in time trials on Friday night. From there, things went downhill.
Flores got the lead in Friday night’s A-Main only have a flat tire which caused him to fade back through the field. On Saturday night, he experienced a complete engine failure. Flores had just taken the lead away from Kreutter when the engine started smoking. Eventually it exploded in impressive fashion. As he came off of the second corner Flores spun as the motor let go with a huge fireball coming out of the engine.
For the second night in a row, Tommy Catalano broke a bracket in the rear of his No. 98 after starting on the pole. The Race of Champions series regular dropped out after only one lap on Friday and had the same luck on Saturday…
Tyler Thompson made Saturday night’s A-Main in a former Jimmy Blewett indoor mount. Thompson won the B-Main to get into the show. In the A-Main he was involved in multiple incidents causing him to drop out early…
Timex Morgan was involved in a frontstretch flip. Safety crews extricated him from the car carefully. As they took him out on a stretcher he gave the crowd a thumbs up and clapped at them for their support…
Ryan Tidman got upside down in turn three and slid on his side all the way around to turn four. He bounced off the wall several time. He climbed out of the car unharmed…
Andy Jankowiak again had an extremely fast car only to have bad luck befall him. Jankowiak worked his way into the top five before being involved in a multi-car crash. He rebounded to finish is the seventh position…
The next round of indoor racing takes place on January 26 and 27 in Atlantic City. The Gambler’s Classic is the crown jewel of the Indoor Racing Series.