Erick Rudolph entered Saturday night’s Battle of Trenton with two goals in mind: win the battle and win the war. If he were to accomplish the first of those two goals, he knew that the second – winning the overall Indoor Auto Racing Series championship – would take care of itself. At night’s end, everything had gone according to plan for the Ransomville, New York driver.
Rudolph displayed speed during Friday night’s time trials, earning him the fast qualifier award and a top starting spot in Saturday’s A-Main. Rudolph started from the outside of the front row and pounced right at the start taking the lead on the outside going into turn one from Ryan Susice. From there, Rudolph managed to keep fan-favorite Jimmy Blewett behind him on multiple restarts to win the Battle of Trenton.
“It helped having a nice redraw, starting outside pole, and in the dash race we were able to make the outside work right off the bat there,” Rudolph told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. We were able to keep our second-place starting spot. For whatever reason it stuck on the outside there and we never looked back. I don’t know how big of a lead I had, but stayed I focused and ran every lap like it’s the last one.
“I know (Blewett) was right there. It seemed like I’d beat him down the frontstretch and all you can do is run some decent laps.”
The win was the second win for Rudolph in the three round indoor racing series. Following his win in Allentown, Rudolph failed to capitalize on a strong run in Atlantic City. Following Friday’s qualifying races and Saturday’s heats and consolation races, the championship came down to Rudolph and Blewett, with Rudolph’s win giving him the clear edge for his second title in a row.
“It feels great to make it two in a row as defending champ, I have a lot to be proud of.”
Blewett captured the awe of those at the Sun National Bank Center on Friday after a thrilling duel with Patrick Emerling in the second 20-lap qualifier. It had many picking Blewett to win his first and long awaited indoor TQ Midget feature Saturday. Even with Rudolph having the advantage from the start, Blewett gave it his all but admitted that Rudolph was just too much.
“I did everything I could, (Rudolph) was better all the way around,” Blewett said. “That’s him; he’s fast, he’s light, his car’s light, nothing really I can say. He’s a class act when it comes to indoor racing.
“I gave it everything I had on all those restarts, so I did the best I could to get underneath him on that last one. I knew it was a green-white-checkered, the only thing I could do is throw that thing in there, hope it would stick, and it didn’t. I got alongside of him but it wasn’t enough.”
Blewett originally fell to third on the last lap when he was passed by Tony Dimattia, but Dimattia was disqualified for having an oversized motor in post-race inspection. Blewett retained second with Scott Kreutter, Patrick Emerling, and Jonathan Reid rounding out the top five.
More information from Saturday’s Battle of Trenton can be found by visiting Speed51.com’s Speed Central coverage.
Battle of Trenton Official Results
February 28, 2016
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com CT, Long Island, MA Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51.com/Daryl Canfield