DRUMMONDVILLE, QUEBEC -- July 23, 2014 -- Mere weeks after first sitting behind the wheel of his new ride, young Modified driver Erick Rudolph picked up a win in a Super DIRTcar Series race. A late-race charge took the Mike Payne owned Page Trucking No. to victory Tuesday, July 22, at Autodrome Drummond.
"Today we just hit it right on, where we needed to be," the 22-year-old out of Ransomville, N.Y., said after the 100-lap Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modified Series race Tuesday. "It started a little slow, but slowly and surely we worked up to to the front."
Rudolph, the defending DIRTcar 358-Modified Series champion, started 17th on the grid after finishing fifth in his heat and was able to make the right moves to claim the lead over veteran racer and eight-time Super DIRTcar Series champion Brett Hearn with just 10 laps to go.
Polesitter Matt Billings led the race at the green flag, followed by Steve Paine in second, Brett Hearn in third, Larry Wight in fourth and Monday's feature winner Danny Johnson in fifth. Paine and Hearn gathered momentum in the first few laps, with Paine passing billings for the lead in lap 4 and Hearn passing Paine for the lead in lap 9.
The Gypsum Express Ltd. No. 99L wheeled by Wight stopped in turn two during lap 11, bringing the first caution of the race. Hearn was strong on restarts Tuesday, and didn't give competitors behind him any opportunity to challenge his position. Meanwhile, Rudolph was working his way forward, making his way to 14th after the lap-18 restart.
A collision in lap 38 brought red-flag conditions to the race track with the No. 22c of Mario Clair flipped in turn 3. The No. 22c, as well as the No. 9H driven by point leader Matt Sheppard and the No. 54 of Steve Bernard were towed off the track.
Hearn led the next double-file restart over another veteran racer, Danny Johnson, with Rudolph running in eighth. Over the next 40 green laps, Rudolph steadily gained rank, passing Paine for fifth in lap 58 and Matt Billings for fourth in lap 74. Another caution took hold of the race track in lap 80, resulting in a single-file restart during which Rudolph gained two positions to run in second.
Billy Dunn challenged Rudolph for second in lap 88, and Rudolph powered forward, not only fending off Dunn's challenges, but also making his way closer to the leader. Rudolph ran bumper-to-bumper with Hearn and wheel-to-wheel with Dunn, until Dunn fell back and Rudolph was able to pull alongside Hearn. Rudolph took the lead in lap 90 and never looked back.
"I was able to size him up. It seemed like I was a little quicker than him," said Rudolph, whose win Tuesday marks the first Super DIRTcar Series victory of his career. "Then, when I got a run, I took the spot."
Defending series champion Hearn, while hoping for a win Tuesday, was pleased with a strong second-place finish.
"We had a very fast car. I'm really proud of how the team came here ready to race," Hearn said of his No. 20 Madsen Motorsports team. "We laid down some good laps in time trials both nights, we had good heat race runs, but we sealed the right rear tire and we got beat by a faster car at the end. It was a great race, obviously I'm disappointed, but at the same time I'm really proud."
Dunn stayed strong the remaining laps to finish third after starting sixth on the grid. A hard-charging Gary Tomkins started 28th and finished fourth. Initial race leader Matt Billings finished fifth.
The Super DIRTcar Big Block Modified Series returns to Albany-Saratoga Speedway Wednesday, July 30, for the completion of Brett Hearn's "The Big Show 6." For more information about the Super DIRTcar Series, visit www.superdirtcarseries.com.
A-Main (100 laps):
1. 7z Erick Rudolph - Ransomville, N.Y. (Winnings: $6,000)
2. 20 Brett Hearn - Sussex, N.J.
3. 49D Billy Dunn - Watertown, N.Y.
4. 84 Gary Tomkins - Clifton Springs, N.Y.
5. 74 Matt Billings - Brockville, Ontario
6. 9H Matt Sheppard - Waterloo, N.Y.
7. 98H Jimmy Phelps - Baldwinsville, N.Y.
8. 7x Steve Paine - Waterloo, N.Y.
9. 21a Pete Britten - Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
10. 8 Rich Scagliotta - Hillsborough, N.J.
11. 99 Stewart Friesen - Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
12. 27J Danny Johnson - Rochester, N.Y.
13. 25* Steve Bernier - St-Hyacinthe, Quebec
14. 3H Justin Haers - Phelps, N.Y.
15. TEN Billy VanInwegen - Sparrowbush, N.Y.
16. 91 Billy Decker - Sidney, N.Y.
17. 23b Dany Bilodeau - Victoriaville, Quebec
18. 22J Gino Clair - Drummondville, Quebec
19. 42p Pat Ward - Genoa, N.Y.
20. 63 Dominic Dufault - St-Victoire-de-Sorel, Quebec
21. 43F Keith Flach - Ravena, N.Y.
22. 61 Jean Boissonneault - Granby, Quebec
23. 22P Patrick Beaumier - Granby, Quebec
24. 3 Claude Brouillard - Tracy, Quebec
25. 44 Sebastien Gougeon - Drummondville, Quebec
26. 22c Mario Clair - Drummondville, Quebec
27. 54 Steve Bernard - Granby, Quebec
28. 21 Yan Bussiere - Drummondville, Quebec
29. 35 Mike Perrotte - Plattsburgh, N.Y.
30. 99L Larry Wight - Altmar, N.Y.
Did not start:
39a Alan Therrien - Victoriaville, Quebec
97 Michel Chicoine - St-Cecile-de-Milton, Quebec
ONE David Hebert - St-Damase, Quebec
55 Dexter Stacey - Kahnawake, Quebec
5 David Cote - Acton Vale, Quebec
7 Patrice Demers - Drummondville, Quebec
124 Pierre Dagenais - L'Ange Guardien, Quebec
66w Wallace Stacey - Kahnawake, Quebec
98 Jacques Pelletier - St-Francois-du-Lac, Quebec
13 Kevin Hamel - Sorel, Quebec
112 Charlie Rice
43 Sebastien Fournier - St-Leonard, Quebec
87 Etienne Bessette - Drummondville, Quebec
VP Race Fuels : Steve Paine ($50 cash)
ASI Racewear : Jimmy Phelps ($50 cash)
Pole Position Raceway Fast Qualifier Award : Matt Sheppard ($100 cash)
Bilstein Fast Qualifier Award : Danny Johnson ($50 cash)
Bicknell Racing Products : Erick Rudolph ($100 product certificate)
Cometic Gasket : Danny Johnson ($50 cash)
Comp Cams : Rich Scagliotta ($50 cash), Erick Rudolph ($50 product certificate)
Edelbrock : Pete Britten ($50 cash)
Fox Shocks : Gary Tomkins ($50 cash)
JE Pistons : Matt Sheppard ($50 cash), Billy Decker and Jean Boissonneault (product valued at appr. $285 per awardee)
KSE Hard Charger Award: Gary Tomkins ($50 product certificate)
MSD: Erick Rudolph ($50 cash), Mario Clair ($25 cash)
Mobil 1 : Pete Britten ($50 cash), Keith Flach (20% prooduct discount)
SuperFlow : Billy VanInwegen ($50 cash)
Wrisco Aluminum : Erick Rudolph (product valued at appr. $200)
B-Main 1: Brouillard, Gougeon, Boissonneault, Beaumier, Chicoine, Pelletier, W. Stacey, Perrotte, Cote, Demers, Bessette, Hebert
B-Main 2: VanInwegen, Bussiere, G. Clair, Tomkins, Bilodeau, Hamel, Therrien, Rice, Fournier, D. Stacey, Dagenais
Qualifying Heats (8 laps; top 5 transfer, top 3 redraw)
Heat 1: Decker, Haers, Dufault, Bernier, Rudolph, Gougeon, Boissonneault, Beaumier, Demers, Cote, Bessette
Heat 2: Hearn, Wight, Billings, M. Clair, Flach, Brouillard, Chicoine, Perrotte, Hebert, Pelletier, W. Stacey
Heat 3: Sheppard, Johnson, Dunn, Phelps, Bernard, VanInwegen, G. Clair, Bilodeau, Rice, Fournier, Therrien
Heat 4: Britten, Scagliotta, Paine, Friesen, Ward, Bussiere, D. Stacey, Hamel, Tomkins. DNS: Dagenais
Time Trials: 1. Sheppard 16.948, 2. Hearn 16.970, 3. Britten 17.044, 4. Johnson 17.086, 5. Rudolph 17.162, 6. Decker 17.191, 7. Paine 17.286, 8. Scagliotta 17.323, 9. Dunn 17.352, 10. Wight 17.363, 11. Phelps 17.406, 12. Billings 17.435, 13. VanInwegen 17.437, 14. Haers 17.476, 15. Bussiere 17.506, 16. Flach 17.532, 17. Therrien 17.603, 18. Bernard 17.654, 19. Friesen 17.667, 20. M. Clair 17.691, 21. Dufault 17.709, 22. Brouillard 17.741, 23. Ward 17.788, 24. Bernier 17.791, 25. Chicoine 17.816, 26. Tomkins 17.824, 27. Boissonneault 17.851, 28. Bilodeau 17.860, 29. G. Clair 17.887, 30. Perrotte 17.976, 31. Gougeon 18.032, 32. Hebert 18.074, 33. Beaumier 18.101, 34. D. Stacey 18.101, 35. Cote 18.113, 36. Demers 18.218, 37. Dagenais 18.230, 38. W. Stacey 18.266, 39. Pellets 18.391, 40. Hamel 18.539, 41. Rice 18.789, 42. Fournier 19.033, 43. Bessette 20.341
- DIRTcar NE Release. Photo Credit: Alex & Helen Bruce Photo