Rudolph and Poirier Crowned Champions at the BOS – DTD Exclusive


Erick Rudolph reached two career milestones on Saturday afternoon at the Brockville Ontario Speedway. The Ransomville, N.Y., native captured his first ever 358-Modified Super DIRTcar Series win while taking home his first ever 358 Modified DIRTcar Series championship.

“This feels real good,” said Rudolph after the event. “Honestly we haven’t ran super well in the series races, I don’t even think we had top three. Maybe we had some top fives, but to get the point championship and to win it all on the same night was really nice.”

Rudolph was aided by a miscue by Syracuse 200 winner Billy Dunn. Dunn led the way early on the rubbered up speedway before missing the groove in turns one and two which sent him over the banking. This allowed several cars to get by while putting Rudolph into the lead.

“Obviously I was going as fast as I could and I know he (Dunn) probably was to,” stated Rudolph. “It looked like he made a little bit of a mistake and we were able to capitalize, we were right there.”

Over the final 20 laps several drivers dropped out with tire issues, including several drivers in the top five causing some concerns for those out front. Rudolph did what he could to keep his tire underneath him in order to make it to the finish.

“I knew we had to be close,” said Rudolph. “I started driving a little straighter and made sure I wasn’t killing the tires. As it turns out, we were pretty close.”

Joining Rudolph in the championship celebration Saturday afternoon was Quebec driver Steve Poirier. Poirier captured the Patriot Sprint Tour Canadian championship on the back of a second place effort. It is his first Patriot title and it comes on the heels of his fourth Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprint championship.

“I’ve never had a Patriot championship,” stated Poirier. “Luckily this year there was no conflict with ESS. We took advantage of that and it made out good for us.”

Poirier was running a race within in a race as he came in leading Jason Barney by three points needing to beat him in the finish. Barney started sixth, with Poirier eighth. On the first lap Barney spun after contact from behind from another car putting Poirier in front of him leading him to the championship.

Poirier nearly made a poor decision by electing to go with a soft tire in order to make an effort to pass Barney early. Fortunately he did not go with that option, choosing the harder tire, because every driver that elected to go with the softer compound would end up with a flat.

“We nearly made a really bad mistake by going to a soft tire,” said Poirier. “I was racing more against Jason (Barney) and I knew with the rubber here the top five would be the most I could get. My first idea was to put on a soft tire to get a couple spots on the start and then ride around and keep the car in rubber and keep the tire. When the 23 (Bilodeau Modified) came off with 20 laps to go the hard tire was destroyed. We decided there was nothing to gain putting the soft tire and not finishing. We put the hard tire and were pretty decent. I was a little tight but it is hard to have a perfect car with those conditions.”

Brockville Ontario Speedway Notes: 40 358-Modified entered into action on Saturday afternoon in the series finale and they were joined by 15 Patriot Tour Sprint Cars. Bryan Howland picked up the companion Sprint Car event.

As mentioned earlier, Dunn was leading the Modified race before going over the top of the speedway and falling back to eighth. He eventually drove back up into the top three to finish on the podium.

“I went to the corner like I had been the whole race and for some reason the top was really slippery,” stated Dunn. “I got over the bank and by the time I got back on the track I could see everyone else was running in the middle. I didn’t realize the rubber had moved down there.”

It was a depressing day for the racing O’Brien family on Sunday as all three got a flat tire, in consecutive order during the 100-lap feature.

Danny O’Brien got the first flat on lap 81 with Pat O’Brien having the same fate on lap 90. Then on lap 94, Tim O’Brien got a flat tire. Each time when the flat occurred they were driving inside the top ten in the event.

Mat Williamson came into the day needing some help as he trailed Rudolph by just over 50 points in the chase for the 58-Modified championship. Williamson ran third as Rudolph led, but unfortunately got a right rear flat with a lap remaining in the feature.

Erick Rudolph Wins Fall Brawl – Matt Hirschman crowned Champion…


Tioga Center, NY … As the old saying goes you work hard and keep your nose to the grindstone, good things will happen. That is exactly what happened on Sunday evening at the Shangri – La II Speedway in the 100 lap Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Tour finale.

Third generation driver Erick Rudolph of Ransomville, NY driving the Ed McGuire Motorsports entry has been chewing on the back bumper of Matt Hirschman all year long. Rudolph and McGuire just kept working hard at making their racecar faster and better at each event and the hard work paid off. Hirschman was crowned his sixth RoC title on this day where his runner-up finish was enough to accomplish the impressive feat.

On Sunday Rudolph had the car to beat and he proved it by making up a six car length advantage on Hirschman. Then after a full two laps of side by side racing Rudolph brought the crowd to their feet as he completed the winning pass exiting turn four with just 14 laps to go. After getting the lead Rudolph opened up a six car length advantage but Hirschman showing his championship form reeled Rudolph back in. Rudolph had to back off the throttle the final half a lap due to slower lap cars racing for position in a three wide formation in front of him. Hirschman gave it one final shot but came up a car length short as Rudolph claimed the $3,500 win.

Mike Leaty ended up in third with Tony Hanbury driving the Kurzejewski Motorsports entry finishing fourth and early race leader Austin Kochenash finishing fifth.

“Yes it felt good to finally pass that 60 car as we followed him enough the past two years,” said the soft spoken race winner while standing in the post-race tech area. “We had a really strong racecar today and that was proved as he (Hirschman) had a six or seven car length lead and we made that up quickly and once we got the lead we had the same amount of a lead.”

Chris Whitenight and Austin Kochenash brought the field to the green of starter Steve Kellogg. Kochenash quickly jumped into the lead followed by fourth place starter Nick Pecko, sixth place starter Erick Rudolph, Whitenight, and eighth place starter Mike Leaty.

All drivers were settling into a nice groove as they were pacing themselves in the early going. Tony Hanbury moved into fifth on lap seven by running the outside groove of the concrete oval. Hanbury continued his march to the front by taking fourth on lap 21 while Leaty got past Whitenight for fifth on lap 34.

The second yellow of the event came out on lap 48 for the stopped car of Tommy Cloce in turn four. During this caution flag period 12 of the 19 cars running all pitted for new rear tires. The big winner during the pit stop was Rudolph who entered the pits in third but came out of the pits in first position of the cars who pitted.

Rudolph spoke about the great pit stop. “Usually we struggle on the pit stops, but we worked at it and got real fast and that was proved by our pit stop today as we weren’t the first ones in but we were the first ones out.”

When the race resumed Leaty was the new leader with 12th place starter Matt Hirschman in second, Whitenight in third, 15th place starter Brian DeFebo in fourth and 17th place starter Dean Rypkema in fifth.

Rudolph quickly showed his dominance as he entered fifth on lap 58 while DeFebo moved into third on lap 62. Rudolph moved into fourth on lap 63 with Pecko taking fifth on lap 65.

During a yellow flag period on lap 66 DeFebo had his strong run end with the rear end leaking grease on to the speedway. Also during this time Hirschman was seen heating his front tires up by locking his brakes up.

On the restart Hirschman was like shot out of a cannon as he motored under Leaty to get the lead entering turn one, Kochenash moved into fifth at this time.

With 22 laps to go Rudolph got past Leaty for second and set his sights on leader Hirschman who had a seven car length lead.
Hanbury moved into fifth on lap 80 by using the extreme outside groove of the speedway.

Coming down to complete lap 84 Rudolph found something extra and he pulled even with Hirschman at the line. The two drivers then raced cleanly side by side for the next two laps which brought the crowd to their feet.

“Once I made up the advantage I was able to size him up and we were able to slip by him, the car was handling perfectly today,” said Erick.

Rudolph finally took the lead for good exiting turn four to complete lap 86. Once in front Rudolph opened up a six car length lead, Hanbury moved past Pecko for fourth on lap 88.

Up front Rudolph had one last obstacle in his way and that was a three lap car battle in front of him with five laps to go. This forced Rudolph to back off just a little bit as he didn’t know where to go because of the uncertainty of what groove they were going to run in.

Hirschman seeing this mounted one last charge to try and regain the lead and on the final lap Rudolph dropped low exiting turn four and Hirschman gave it one last shot, but came up a car length short at the line.

“It felt good to get a win today especially after everyone on this team has worked very hard all year long,” said Erick. “I really wanted to get a win for Ed (car owner) McGuire and doing it in the last race of the year is good as you end the year on a high note. Plus it was nice winning here because Ed is from this area (Rome, Pa. about 30 miles away) and he had a lot of his friends and family that come here to watch his car race. To go out and win in front of them is a pleasure.”

“He ( Rudolph) was pretty strong today,” said second place finisher Matt Hirschman. “They have been second best to me the last two years and they were overdue for a win. Certain races go certain ways and there have been probably two or three races that they should have won but didn’t.”

“A lot of people have made a big deal over this win streak. I don’t know if this could ever be duplicated again by me or anyone else. They (McGuire Motorsports) went about it the right way, they worked hard at getting their car better and they didn’t give up. Some people whine and complain and call a winner a cheater. But I’m glad they were the ones who beat me because they kept quiet about me winning all the time and just worked hard at getting their car better to beat me and they deserve it.”

Qualifying for the 19 car field saw heat wins captured by Bobby Holmes, Billy Putney, and Daren Scherer.

FALL BRAWL NOTES: Austin Kochenash locked up the “Rookie of the Year” honors with his fifth place finish. Bobby Holmes was driving the Kluth Motorsports entry while Tony Hanbury related that he was honored to be asked to drive the Kurzejewski Motorsports entry. Todd “ Hollywood “ Geist made his first RoC start of the year. Part time competitor Chris Whitenight ran strong all afternoon in an impressive effort. The youth of the RoC is starting to come of age as the youngsters were all near the front racing very competitively during the feature. RoC Administrative Director Andrew Harpell assured the drivers before the racing started that there will be a RoC Tour and a Sunoco Race of Champions event in 2014. Harpell said that there is a possibility that RoC will be racing at some new facilities in 2014 with the state of Pennsylvania mentioned as a possible destination.

FINISH; Erick Rudolph, Matt Hirschman, Mike Leaty, Tony Hanbury, Austin Kochenash, Nick Pecko, Bobby Holmes, Daren Scherer, Chris Whitenight, Brandon Oltra, Doug Reaume, Billy Putney, Jim Storace, Dean Rypkema, Todd Geist, Tommy Cloce, Bryan Sherwood, Brian DeFebo, Ken Canestrari.

LAP LEADERS; Kochenash ( 1 – 48 ), Leaty ( 49 – 69 ), Hirschman ( 70 – 85 ), Rudolph ( 86 – 100 ).