holds a significant place in the book of American history. Erick Rudolph of
Ransomville, NY made his own place in the book of racing history taking down
a revolutionary win in the first Battle of Trenton by leading green to
checkers for a hard fought victory in the 40 lap TQ A Main at the Sun
National Bank Center in Trenton, NJ.
Rudolph turned his weekend around after not qualifying for the Friday
night’s main events by first winning the Match Races to sit on the pole for
the Saturday night A main, avoided several cautions and maneuvered lap
traffic to stamp his name in the record books as the first TQ winner in the
Battle of Trenton.
Lichty crossed for second with Zane Zeiner third, Matt Janisch and Jimmy
Blewett rounded out the top five.
“We had a rough night last night,” confessed Erick about Friday. “We weren’t
even able to make the race and tonight you know, we were sitting real
pretty. I figured we had the best chance to win starting on the pole – I was
real confident on how the car was, but there were just a lot of restarts, I
was getting nervous but, we were able to come out on top.”
Rudolph made it look easy but when there was a stretch of green flag run, it
didn’t take long for the leaders to encounter the back of the field. “The
lap traffic, you never really know what the lap cars are going to do, but I
was able to work on them, got by a few, then the yellow came out.”
Rudolph admitted to being confident about the Mark Laffler prepared TQ. But
as with any track, indoor or out, it changes and keeping up with that was
key. “The car was sliding around a little bit but at the same time I could
see the track was a little bare as far as rubber was concerned, I think
everyone was struggling with it too.”
Not his first trip to victory lane, Rudolph was the winner at Atlantic City
two years ago. “This is our second win but we’re the first ever winners in
Trenton, NJ- going in the books.” Rudolph credits the efforts of Laffler and
the hard work of the team for getting him into victory lane.
Mike Lichty of Innerkip, Ontario, took the green seventh, got caught up in
the fast action and restarted from the back just before the half. Finishing
second at Atlantic City two weeks ago, Lichty was set on besting his spot by
one on the podium. Lichty survived the battle but lost the war.
“We had a decent starting position but once again, we did it coming from the
back,” said Lichty referring to the caution just prior to the half. “It just
gets so congested with everyone fighting for the same piece of race track.
It was no fault of anybody’s but mine, I just hit the tires on the restart
trying to get a good run on the leader – hey we’ll take it. We were
definitely junk yesterday- we found a lot wrong with the car after AC, we
had some torsion bars that were bent. I’ve got to thank everyone that works
on this car. A big thanks to BJ from Dart Performance Motors. Hoosier,
they’re really starting to work with us to make a real nice tire for indoor
racing- big thank you to Hoosier Tire East Rob Summers and Irish Saunders in
Indiana on that.” Next for Lichty? The ISMA season opener in Oswego- when
the snow melts.
His second time racing a TQ, the weekend was a long one for the Zane Zeiner
crew who never stopped working on the car to get it where they wanted it to
be. Zeiner from Bath, PA, qualified through the B Main, starting the A Main
23rd. There is incredible intensity working through the field when laps are
only 7 seconds long- in this case Zeiner admits, he had some help, finally,
a little luck fell his way.
“We were the first car out for time trials, usually that’s not a good
thing,” said Zeiner. “That started us 5th in the heat race- sort of got into
Billy Pauch, my fault, that put us in the back, and then we had to go
through the B Main. But my father always says that things happen for a
reason and I definitely found something in the B Main when I ran it there
and I think it just clicked. We took it into the feature and it worked for
“It was amazing,” said Zeiner about coming from his 23rd starting spot. “Our
clutch cable was slipping, luckily someone gave me a nice shot from behind
and popped it so I could continue racing. I was cautious about not stalling
the car at the end. When luck is on your side, it’s awesome.”
“This is my second time in one of these cars, never drove one indoors or
outdoors- you’ve got the best of the best here,” continued Zeiner. “This is
one of the hardest things I’ve ever done but it has taught me so much.”
Anthony Sesely rebounded to cross for sixth with Jonathan Reid pulling off a
seventh place finish. Rob Vivona, Patrick Emerling and Lou Cicconi completed
the top ten.
at Atlantic City, Sesely’s finish in the A main was enough to earn the
Matawan, NJ driver the Fatheadz Eyewear Indoor Racing Series championship
title. The defending champion of the series, Sesely edged out Matt Janisch
by one point to take the honors.
Ted Christopher appeared to have things turning his way after winning his
qualifying heat. That was short lived in the main, his night over with front
end damage just before the half.
NWMT champion Ryan Preece had a fast car winning a Twin on Friday night only
to not complete the A main on Saturday. Rowan Pennink’s night ended in the B
Main but not because he didn’t try hard. Hopefully the power will be
restored soon to Rowan’s folk’s house. Mark and Janice Pennink, about 20
minutes from Trenton, lost power in the ice storm that hit the area last
Wednesday. Mark had been out cleaning up after the ice storm with a chain
saw to get out of his driveway. As of Saturday night they were still without
power and a generator with probably only enough propane until Monday.
Patrick Emerling leaves Trenton with a top ten finish and will be heading to
Florida for Speedweeks.
The Len Sammons Motorsports Productions pulled off a great night of racing
at a brand new venue. The people I sat next to were pure fans of racing and
when they saw the ad in the paper about The Battle of Trenton, they came to
see what it was about. All they wanted to know at the end of the night was,
‘where’s the next one?’
Starting Friday Feb 14th modified racing starts at New Smyrna Speedway. Live
updates will be posted on The Chrome Horn- Denise and Jim Dupont and I will
do our best to keep you in the know on what’s happening at both NSS and the
UNOH Battle at the Beach.
Source: Polly Reid / TheChromeHorn.com