Syracuse, NY — October 11, 2008 – By Dave Medler, DIRTcar Racing NorthEast Series Correspondent
*George Smith Photo
High School Honor Roll student and third-generation racer Erick Rudolph out of Ransomville, New York had never turned a lap at the Syracuse Mile coming into Super DIRT Week XXXVII. By time he left he turned in one of the most dominating performances ever seen in the Town Mechanical 30-lap Hoosier Tire Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Series event. The win was worth $4,000 and Rudolph padded his pocket by claiming Blue Moon Potatoes Rookie of the Race and Dig Safely New York Halfway Race Leader bonuses.
Rudolph took advantage of a miscue by early leader Matt Hulsizer coming out of turn four to complete lap five to forge the lone lead change. From there, even with a pair of caution periods and lapped traffic, Rudolph, in the Jipp Ortiz-owned no. 0 Pizza Logs-Lee-Heil-Ed’s Garage entry, put the car in overdrive winning by a half-mile at the checkers.
“That was amazing, I never expected this,” said the excited Rudolph. “I really have to thank Jipp (Ortiz) for putting me in his car. The crew worked their butts off all week to get this car ready, I can’t thank them enough.”
Fellow race rookie Hulsizer out-raced pole-sitter and 2007 TWI Super DIRT Week champion Sammy Reakes IV to the first turn to lead the opening lap of the 30-mile grind. Rudolph also slipped by Reakes and set his sights on Hulsizer by the time one lap was completed.
With three in the books, Hulsizer and Rudolph ran nose-to-tail, opening a two-second lead on the rest of the field. Reakes ran alone in third while Kevin Ridley and Mike Ruggiero fought it out in the top-five.
With Hulsizer running a steady pace and Rudolph in tow, the Street Wise No.55 of the runner-up suddenly exited turn four and got into the cinders losing traction as Hulsizer slid up the track. That was all Rudolph needed as he blasted by to be scored the leader on lap five.
By lap 10 Rudolph had opened up a full straightaway lead on the “Moody Mile” as Hulsizer and Ridley contested bumper-to-bumper and side-by-side for the runner-up spot. Reakes, Mike Ruggiero and Mark D’Ilario waged their own battle in the front-five.
At the halfway point, lap 15, Rudolph was making easy work out of lapped traffic while cruising out front by 3.0-seconds. Hulsizer and Ridley were still having a tight race for second with Ruggiero right there lap after lap. On lap 17 Ruggiero made contact with the back straight wall bringing out the first yellow of the race.
On the restart, James Friesen got into John McAuliffe’s mount going into turn one and the contact turned McAuliffe, forcing him into the turn one outside wall hard which resulted in heavy damage to his machine.
When the green came back out, Rudolph sprinted away to open up a 1.5 second lead on the field. Hulsizer and Ridley resumed their battle with D’Ilario still in the hunt.
With starter Dave Farney showing the field the 10 to go sign, Rudolph was on the hammer opening up the biggest lead during the race. Hulsizer was able to open some distance on Ridley for second as D’Ilario and Reakes ran a distant fourth and fifth.
On lap 22 Ridley closed the distance on Hulsizer, setting up on his back bumper and making this the tightest battle at the front of the pack. Three laps later Rudolph was cruising all alone on the track with his motor running almost wide-open even in the tricky and narrow Syracuse turns.
With four to go trouble suddenly struck current Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Series points leader Chris Raabe as he pulled his car onto the cinder track on the back straight and out of harms way. Raabe would be scored with a 21st-place finish.
With no yellows the rest of the way to tighten up the field, Rudolph was first under the checkers winning by almost a half a mile (13 seconds) at the finish. Hulsizer, Ridley, D’Ilario and Reakes complete dthe top five. The second five included Mat Williamson, Todd Town, Eric Gugiere, Ryan Forte and Corey Anderson. Rookie of the race Jean Boissonneault came home 11th after the Frenchman rallied from 30th on the original 32-car grid.
“My dad (Charlie Rudolph, 1986r Mr. DIRT Big-Block Champion) is such a big influence on my life both on the track and off,” added Rudolph, after a most successful maiden voyage on the Moody Mile. “I’m so glad he could be here to see this.”
Round number 15 of the Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Championship Series is slated for Thunder Mountain Speedway on October 17 before teams close out the trail the next night in the Eastern States finale at Orange County Fair Speedway.
Hoosier Tire Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Series Race #14 – New York State Fairgrounds, Oct. 11, 20011 “Town Mechanical Inc. Super DIRT Week Sportsman Championship” Event Summary
FIN STR CAR# DRIVER
1 3 0 Erick Rudolph/Ransomville,NY®
2 2 55 Matt Hulsizer/Bridgeport,NY®
3 5 20X Kevin Ridley/Penn Yan,NY
4 6 08 Mark D’Ilario/Smithville,ONT
5 1 17K Sammy Reakes IV/Fulton,NY
6 8 6 Mat Williamson/St.Catharines,ONT®
7 7 17T Todd Town/Jordan,NY
8 10 67G Eric Giguere/Waterloo,NY®
9 9 B40 Ryan Forte/Blue Anchor,NJ®
10 21 96 Corey Andersen/Mullica Hill,NJ®
11 30 61X Jean Boissonneault/Granby,QUE®
12 17 44 John McClelland/Martinsville,NJ
13 15 17M Mark Olmstead Jr./Elbridge,NY®
14 25 10 Tim Currier/Auburn,NY
15 20 85 John Pietrowicz Jr./Phoenix,NY®
16 28 99$ Anthony Rizzardo/Jordan Station,ONT®
17 12 52 James Friesen/St.Catharines,ONT®
18 11 16A Aaron Jacobs/Frankfort,NY®
19 19 44V John Venuto/Elba,NY®
20 23 05 Anthony Marro/Saratoga Springs,NY®
21 18 01 Chris Raabe/Napanee,ONT®
22 24 2K Rob Knapp/St.Catharines,ONT
23 13 23 John McAuliffe/Ballston Lake,NY
24 4 4R Mike Ruggiero/Newburgh,NY®
25 31 18R Brad Rouse/St.Catharines,ONT®
26 32 19W Justin Wright/Piffard,NY®
27 14 71 Mike Bowman/St.Catharines,ONT®
28 29 29G Steve Gray/Middlesex,NY
29 22 3P Greg Panunte/Port Colborne,ONT
30 27 777 Tyler McPherson/St.Catharines,ONT
31 16 14P Jeremy Pitcher/Fulton,NY
32 26 7 Gino Postrivo/Mantua,NJ®
DNS 33 18H Todd Henderson/Canandaigua,NY
LAP LEADERS: Hulsizer (1-4), Rudolph (5-30).
CAUTIONS: 2 (lap 17, lap 17).
ELAPSED TIME: 30 mins. 36 secs.
AVERAGE SPEED: 58.808 mph.
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 13.027 secs.
BLUE MOON POTATOES ROOKIE OF THE RACE: Erick Rudolph.
DIG SAFELY NEW YORK HALFWAY LEADER: Erick Rudolph.
P&M FABRICATION HARD CHARGER: Jean Boissonneault.
GATER RACING NEWS BEST APPEARING CAR: #17T – Town Town.
NYSSCA ‘TOP MEMBER’ AWARD: Aaron Jacobs.
BUDD OLSEN SPEED SUPPLIES HARD LUCK AWARD: John McAuliffe.
P&M FABRICATION POLE WINNER: Sammy Reakes IV (33.508 sec/107.437 mph).
MOTORSPORTS SAFETY SYSTEMS OUTSIDE POLE WINNER: Matt Hulsizer (33.639 sec/107.437 mph).
DIG SAFELY NEW YORK LAST CHANCE QUALIFIERS: Tim Currier, Gino Postrivo.
RACE ROOKIES®: 20.
CARS ENTERED: 56.
Action during the 19th Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Series continues in October with the final two races scheduled back-to-back at Thunder Mountain Speedway and Orange County Fair Speedway, Friday, Oct. 17 and Saturday, Oct. 18.
2008 Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Championship Series Schedule
*All events subject to change.
DAY-DATE LAPS TRACK LOCATION/WINNER
Sat-Apr 5 50 Black Rock Speedway Larry Wight
Mon-May 26 30 Rolling Wheels Raceway Dan Wiesner
Thr-Jul 3 20 Rolling Wheels Raceway Mark D’Ilario
Thr-Jul 3 20 Rolling Wheels Raceway Todd Town
Fri-Jul 4 30 Brewerton Speedway Chris Hile
Thr-Jul 10 30 Brockville Ont. Speedway Chris Raabe
Mon-Sep 1 30 Rolling Wheels Raceway Mike Ruggiero
Sat-Sep 6 50 Merrittville Speedway Brad Rouse
Fri-Sep 12 50 Ransomville Speedway Rain-Cancelled
Sat-Sep 13 30 Genesee Speedway Rain-Cancelled
Fri-Sep 19 50 Humberstone Speedway Greg Panunte
Sat-Sep 20 45 Canandaigua Speedway Kevin Ridley
Sat-Sep 27 30 Rolling Wheels Raceway Greg Panunte
Fri-Oct 4 30 Fulton Speedway Jeremy Wilder
Wed-Oct 8 30 Can-Am Motorsports Park Rain
Fri-Oct 10 30 Rolling Wheels Raceway Steve Gray
Sat-Oct 11 30 New York State Fairgrounds Erick Rudolph
Fri-Oct 17 40 Thunder Mountain Speedway Center Lisle,NY
Sat-Oct 18 50 Orange Co. Fair Speedway Middletown,NY
The Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series for Big-Block Modifieds is brought to fans across the Northeast by several sponsors and partners, including series sponsors Advance Auto Parts and Hoosier Racing Tire. Rite Aid Corporation is a promotional partner and the contingency sponsors are Bars Leaks, Bert Transmission, Bicknell Racing Products, Bilstein Shocks, Brodix Cylinder Heads, Crane Cams, Dig Safely New York, Holley HP Carburetors, Integra Shocks, Intercomp, KSE Racing Products, Motorsports Safety Systems, Penske Shocks, Rislone Oil Stabilizer and Wrisco Industries.