TRENTON, NJ — Dirt Modified veteran Mike Iles and youthful URC 360 Sprint driver Eddie Strada, Jr. are among the 120 drivers ready to challenge the clay track being created on the floor of the CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton, N.J. The event, the East Coast Indoor Dirt Nationals, will be held this Thursday, Friday and Saturday, December 13th – 15th.
Though he has largely curtailed his outdoor racing career, Iles filed an entry for Trenton driving a car owned by Bill Drill. Iles, who lives in Medford, NJ, is a past big-block Modified champion at N.J.’s Bridgeport Speedway. He is also an Indoor Racing Series concrete track winner in Providence, RI, on March 6, 2009.
“I always enjoy racing indoors,” Iles, who earned the nickname ‘Medford Mad Dog’ for his fierce driving style.
“Indoor racing on dirt is a really exciting challenge.”
Iles was extremely competitive in last year’s inaugural event in Trenton before getting involved in a tangle that sent him flipping over several times. Iles, who jumped from the car quickly without injury, would love nothing better than winning the 50 lapper finale on Saturday night, the huge silver bowl trophy and a $5,000 first place prize.
Strata, of Hamlin, PA, is a third generation racer. He finished fifth in the URC Sprint 360 season standings as a rookie driver this season. Prior to that he was a heavy hitter in Micros and 305 Sprints.
Strada will be suiting up to drive a car owned and built by Mark Manieri, of Easton, PA., who has been an active and successful 600 Micro builder.
“Mark wants to give his Dirt Micro business a boost and running a car in Trenton is a good way to do that,” Strada said. “This is a car that can win. With my Micro experience, it should be an advantage.”
The First Annual East Coast Dirt Car Nationals was won by 36-year-old Staten Island, N.Y. resident Whitey Kidd, III who executed a late race pass on Alex Bright, Collegville, PA, to win the thriller over Brian Carber, New Holland, PA, Tim Buckwalter, Douglassville, PA and Austin Quick, Etters, PA.
Many other Midget, Sprint and Dirt Modified regulars have entered the event including Brian Montieth of Phoenixville, PA, Erick Rudolph of Ransomville, NY., Lucas Wolfe of Mechanicsburg, PA, Tim Buckwalter and his cousin Steve of Royersford, PA, Scott Kreutter of Buffalo, NY, Mike Maresca of Potsdam, NY, Billy Pauch, Jr., of Frenchtown, NJ, Matt Roselli from Brodheadsville, PA, Dominic Buffalino of Sayreville, NJ, Eric Heyenreich of Bloomsburg, PA, and Joe Trenca of Clay, NY
This year’s schedule calls for heat races with passing points and four A-qualifier feature races for split fields on both Thursday and Friday night. On Saturday, with all 120 cars on hand, Alphabet mains are scheduled, with racers having the opportunity to advance from G, F, E, D, C, and B, will precede the 50 lap A-Main. Racing will start at 7 PM on Thursday and Friday, 5 PM on Saturday.
Slingshots will run a complete program of racing on Thursday night culminating in a 20-car, 20-lap feature. On Friday, Champ Karts are the co-feature, with the same field, same distance feature on the docket.
Information, including ticket and hotel links, is available at indoorautoracing.com. Tickets are also available daily at the CURE Insurance Arena box office.
-Len Sammons Productions Press Release
-Photo credit: Indoor Auto Racing Series