The nature of indoor racing relies heavily on making the best of the situations dealt. Western New York racer Andy Jankowiak has been taking advantage of such an element lately with a win in the December Battle of Trenton and now a victory at Boardwalk Hall (NJ) in the first TQ Midget feature of the Atlantic City Indoor Race weekend on Friday night.
The Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Tour regular started from the front row after losing a match race to pole winner Matt Janisch earlier in the evening to set the top four rows. He would not let that happen again from the get go and before the next time around had sole possession of the lead.
“Indoor racing is just about being at the right place at the right time and we just keep finding ourselves with opportunities and situations that we have been able to capitalize on,” Jankowiak told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “We will enjoy it while we can.”
For the remaining circuits in the 30 lap feature, Jankowiak enjoyed a battle for the win with fellow respected regional hot-shoe, Erick Rudolph. Jankowiak used his advantage on the inside line on a track that has gone through some changes in conditions compared to recent years. He attributes the success to more than that though.
“The motor we’ve got is just so good on the bottom,” answered Jankowiak. “All I try to do is capitalize on situations and just try to make the thing work the best we can and that’s just my part. Trey Hoddick and Karl Hehr built the best car in this building, and basically it’s just my job not to lose.”
Rudolph felt satisfied with his result and the Lafler team has some notes on what to do with their strong performing chassis going into Saturday.
“It is a confidence booster knowing that we had the second best car tonight and we have some good ideas for how to be better for tomorrow,” said the Ransomville, New York driver. “With the track surface we’ve got this weekend it’s a little bit slippery than in years past. It’s really hard to make an outside move, but the track is still plenty racey.”
Despite very few being able to make the outside groove work, Rudolph thinks that there may be ways to get the job done in the longer distance 40-lap Gambler’s Classic on Saturday.
“I think maybe a slower car or lapped traffic you might be able to get something done, but I think the inside is going to be the way to go,” said Rudolph.
Ryan Flores, Patrick Emerling, and Mike Lichty rounded out the top five, and along with the remainder of the top eight, have locked themselves into Saturday’s feature.
Additionally on Friday, Gary Hieber captured his fourth straight fast time in the Slingshot division and perennial contender Danny Bouc was fastest in the Champ Karts for their Saturday A-Mains.
If it comes down to Jankowiak and Rudolph again on Saturday in the TQs, Friday night’s winner will be fine with that no matter which order they finish.
“There are a few good cars out there and if any of them get up to the front they are going to be tough, Erick especially,” said Jankowiak. “It’s comforting with Erick and same vice versa that he’s going to run me hard, but at the same time he’s not going to wreck me. It’s just good racing; it’s fun. We’re very happy to have this good fortune to win a couple of these things and see what we can get.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Fans can relive all of Friday night’s action by viewing an on-demand replay of 51’s Trackside Now coverage presented by John Blewett, Inc. Equipment & Contracting.)
-By Aaron Creed, Speed51.com Correspondent – Twitter: @Aaron_Creed
-Photo Credit: Michael Pares Photo
Gambler’s Classic (Friday Night) – TQ Midget Results
January 30, 2015 – Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City (NJ)
|TQ Midgets Unofficial Results|