The agenda for Erick Rudolph this racing season had two particular goals: hit the road and have fun. Sunday night Rudolph did just that and achieved another career milestone at the same time, winning in the Short Track Super Series. It is also the first win for “The Firestarter” in his first visit to Susquehanna Speedway (PA), where he also collected quite a bit of tire money, $10,000 to be exact in the York County Nationals for the STSS South Region.
Stewart Friesen was the dominator over much of the 50-lap feature, but Rudolph struck on a late restart to nab the win for the Randy Chrysler owned No. 25R team.
“Really excited about getting down here. We’ve been having a lot of fun hitting the road, visiting different tracks and this is probably right up there with one of my favorites that we’ve hit so far this year,” Rudolph said in victory lane after the race. “Success goes to my team, crew chief, all the sponsors we have on the car. I want to thank Randy Chrysler for letting me drive his car the last handful of years, it’s probably our biggest win to date, can’t be happier for our team.”
After Friesen blasted from fourth to first on the race’s opening lap, Rudolph settled into the second position. While multiple yellows slowed the field throughout the event, Friesen would pull out a lead on Rudolph on nearly every restart. As the race entered its final stages Rudolph was able to shadow Friesen at closer distance, then after a yellow on Lap 39 Rudolph dropped the hammer, matching Friesen on the restart and getting the superior run on the outside through turns one and two to take the lead. After banging wheels with Friesen on one final restart, Rudolph hit his marks and held off a final challenge to score the victory.
“Stewie ran me clean, had a lot of fun there. He would jump out on every restart by several car lengths there and we kind of kept our distance,” Rudolph stated. “I knew we were just as fast as him, it was just a matter of how the race unfolded and how the cards were laid out. This time we won.”
For Friesen, who has too many runner-ups for his liking in the past month, the disappointment was noticeable in his post-race interview.
“We had a good race car, I just let him jump me and let him drive into the side of me on the next restart,” Friesen said. “It’s a tough deal to restart here. Hats off to him, he did what he had to do, it was hard racing.”
Behind the duo of Rudolph and Friesen raged a battle for the remaining top-five spots for most of the night with two and three-wide racing. Craig Von Dohren claimed the podium race for third with Jeff Strunk and Frank Cozze rounding the top five.
The Short Track Super Series is back in action on Tuesday, August 15 for North Region points in the series’ visit to New York’s Capital region at Albany-Saratoga Speedway.
For an on-demand replay of Sunday’s Trackside Now coverage presented by JRI Shocks, click here.
-By: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com CT, MA & Long Island Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com/MoJo Photos
York County Nationals Unofficial Results
Susquehanna Speedway (NY) – July 30, 2017
|3||14s||Craig Von Dohren|
|10||1||Billy Pauch Sr.|
|12||323||David Vanhorn Jr|
|22||51||Billy Pauch Jr.|
|23||28rp||Richie Pratt Jr|