Story By: ERNIE SAXTON / SAMMONS PRODUCTIONS – ALLENTOWN, PA – Erick Rudolph, a three time Indoor Auto Racing Series Fueled By VP champion (2012, 2015, and 2016) is ready to contend for the 2019 Series crown.
The Ransomville, N.Y. wheelman, who finished second in the points the last two seasons, will begin his title hunt when the TQ Midgets race on the concrete floor of the PPL Center in Allentown, Pa. The fourth annual Ironton Telephone race weekend will be held on Friday and Saturday January 4-5th with complete shows each night.
But first, Rudolph, will compete in the second annual East Coast Indoor Dirt Nationals set for Thursday, Friday and Saturday, December 13-15, 2018 inside the CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton, NJ. For this non-point event, Rudolph has secured a dirt 600cc Micro Sprints ride owned by Tom Fraschetta as a teammate to 410 Sprint car legend, Brian “The Edge” Montieth.
Rudolph spent his formative years in racing on pavement before switching to dirt tracks. The 26 year-old is coming off a career season finishing second in points on the tough Super DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Series. He also won track titles in New York State at Ransomville and Canandaigua.
During the season Rudolph won ten Dirt Modified features at seven different race tracks over three states and one Canadian province.
A five time A-Main Indoor Series winner on concrete, Rudolph and master TQ Midget car builder Mark Laflter struggled a bit last season with a newly designed chassis. The two are back together this year with hopes of returning to victory lane and claiming a fourth title together.
Justin Bonsignore, who earned his first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series title in October, grabbed his first Indoor Auto Racing Series championship in 2018. The Holtsville, Long Island, N.Y. driver started his championship season with a victory at the opener last January in Allentown.
Other experienced Indoor TQ drivers filing entries for Allentown include Anthony Payne of Fairlawn, N.J., a first time winner on last year’s series. Other entries include Ryan Tidman, Holland, PA; Tyler Thompson, Fulton, NY; Matt Roselli, Brodheadsville, PA; Jon Reid, Lockport, NY; and the Catalano brothers, Tommy and Timmy from Ontario, NY.
Rudolph won the inaugural event in January of 2016 in front of a sold out crowd. Ryan Flores of Cornelius, NC swept both nights of the December 2016 events. Bonsignore and Dirt 360 Sprint driver Scott Kreutter from Buffalo, NY had the hot hands indoors last January.
The Slingshots will join the TQ Midgets on Saturday’s docket and the Champ Karts will be part of Friday’s double-header. The two divisions will run qualifying races and feature events both nights.
After Allentown attention shifts to historic Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ for the running of the prestigious 17th Annual NAPA AUTO PARTS Racing Weekend on January 25-26, 2019. The series finale takes place at a new venue, the New York State Fairgrounds Exhibition Center in Syracuse, NY. on Friday and Saturday, March 8-9, 2019.