ALBANY, NY – All signs indicate an exciting conclusion to the VP Racing Fuels Indoor Auto Racing Championship.
With three top-3 finishes at the Indoor events at Allentown, Pa., and Atlantic City, N.J., have enabled Justin Bonsignore to build a 28-point margin over, defending Series Champion, Erick Rudolph heading into Friday, February 9 and Saturday, February 10 — the two final rounds of competition, held in the Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y.
Bonsignore, of Holtsville, Long Island, N.Y., has his sights set on his first Indoor Auto Racing Championship. If he succeeds, he’ll earn the TC Cup, emblematic of excellence in Indoor TQ racing and presented in memory of the late Ted Christopher, an eight-time Indoor Auto Racing Series A-Main winner.
“Nobody wants to win that TC Cup more than I do,” Bonsignore said during post-race ceremonies at the Indoor event in Atlantic City.
Bonsignore and Christopher raced head to head in past Indoor Series TQ races as well as side by side on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Touring Series before Christopher’s untimely death in a plane crash.
In the three A-Mains of the 2018 Series, Bonsignore finished first and third in the two Allentown features and finished third in Boardwalk Hall during the NAPA Know How Weekend. Similar consistency will assure Bonsignore of the TC Cup.
Erick Rudolph, of Ransomville. N.Y, remains in contention for yet another championship. The dirt Modified standout is also seeking his first win of the season which would end the tie he holds for most wins with Christopher.
Rudolph, an Indoor expert the past few years, scored third-place and second-place finishes at the Allentown events, and a sixth-place finish in Atlantic City.
Matt Janisch, Scott Kreutter, Ryan Tidman, Ryan Preece, Jonathan Reid, Matt Roselli and Earl Paules round out the top ten in points heading into the Albany finale, the first ever Indoor event held in the capital city.
Kreutter and Reid are both western New York drivers, Kreutter a dirt Sprint Car driver from Buffalo and Reid at TQ expert from Lockport.
Other Empire Staters who are likely entrants in the Indoor Auto Racing Championship TQ event include Ronnie Flaim of Allegany, DJ Forbes, Jr., of Syracuse, Bobby Holmes of Lockport, Shawn and Andrew Nye of Lancaster, Timmy and Tommy Catalano of Ontario, crowd favorite Andy Jankowiak of Tonawanda, Ryan Bartlett of Watertown and Tyler Thompson of Fulton.
The wildcard for the TQ Midget drivers and their teams is the fact that the Times Union Center is a first-time venue: no one knows exactly how the track will develop and to what extent it will change over time.
While unusual, Indoor Auto Racing is not unprecedented in the state of New York.
Throughout the decade of the 90s up to and including 2002, the Niagara Falls Convention Center hosted Indoor TQ Midget events several times each winter. The development of casino gambling ended the Niagara Falls racing.
Now, through the efforts of Len Sammons’ Indoor Auto Racing Series, Empire State auto racing in the winter has been resurrected.
The TQ Midgets will be supported by the Slingshot class.
In the Indoor Auto Racing Series Slingshot points battle, Brett Bieber moved to the top of the scoring pylon with his Atlantic City win. He is just 15 points ahead of Kyle Herve and 35 markers ahead of Cody Kline. Kurt Bettler and Danny Buccafusca trail in the top five.
Top New York State Slingshot entrants include Dan Morgiewicz of Goshen, Damon Paul and Matt Hitchcock both of Stony Point, Nick DelCampo of Blauvelt, Brandon McGill of Plattskill, and Don Boonstra of Hurley.
The Friday, February 9 schedule of events calls for time trials, qualifying races and feature events for both TQ Midgets and Slingshots. Doors open at 6 PM Friday with racing beginning at 7:30.
On Saturday, February 10 doors open at 5 PM with racing beginning at 7 PM. Heat races will set the Feature event fields for both classes that will decide the championships.
Choice tickets for both days are available at the Times Union Center in downtown Albany, N.Y. contact the Times Union Center Box Office, charge-by-phone at (800) 745-3000, or visit online at Ticketmaster.com.