Marshall Gabell – January 31, 2017
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Erick Rudolph remained atop his Three Quarter (TQ) Midget game during the Gambler’s Classic at Boardwalk Hall this weekend, a race in which he earned his sixth career win in the Len Sammons-promoted Indoor Auto Racing Series Championship.
Rudolph, 25, led the event wire-to-wire — defeating Zane Zeiner in a photo finish — en route to becoming the second driver to reach three wins inside the historic Boardwalk Hall.
“It means a lot. It means a lot, especially after the last outing here [in Atlantic City] where we weren’t able to get any wins, when we were in really good contention and had the best car,” Rudolph said after the triumph. “Tonight, maybe not the best car but nevertheless get it here in victory lane.”
Along with inching closer to evening up with veteran Ted Christopher for the all-time wins record (8) in the indoor series, Rudolph also is now booming with confidence as he returns to his usual ride during the racing season.
Hailing from Ransomville, N.Y., Rudolph had an impressive campaign across multiple series last season in Northeast big-block Modified competition, scoring wins in over three unique and competitive divisions.
In fact, the hotshoe tallied victories in The Modified Tour (5), Super DIRTcar Big Block Modified Series (1) and the DIRTcar 358-Modified Series (4) last season.
Having those performances under his belt, along with becoming the inaugural champion in The Modified Tour, a 10-race big-block Modified division, last September, Rudolph is even more excited to begin another jam-packed schedule — looking to continue furthering his reputation in the dirt ranks.
“I’ll tell you what, everything is really starting to come together here for this season,” Rudolph said. “It is looking like we have our weekly things figured out, running Ransomville and Canandaigua shows most of the time. And then we are going to run the BPR Series [The Modified Tour Inc.], some Super DIRTcar Series races and then [the Short Track Super Series] shows.”
“Of course, if there is a big race somewhere, and we feel like going there, then we will go. We will probably run about as many races as we did this season — about 80 or so. We are very excited, the car is coming together nicely. We have four cars that will be in rotation.”
Racing between multiple tracks and series, Rudolph will also travel across four or more states in competition this season and continue to make a living from his performances on the racetrack; which is something he would not trade for a thing in the world.
“I would not be able to do this without the help from some great people,” Rudolph explained. “I just feel very, very blessed and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. To be able to support myself [through racing], I just feel totally blessed.”
Despite the thriving success on the dirt side, Rudolph does not have plans, however, to continue his asphalt career, which has included four seasons and 50 races in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour (he recorded a win and seven top five finishes in that span).
Rudolph competed in just one Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Tour event last season, where he finished seventh.
“Right now, I have no plans to get back on asphalt,” Rudolph said. “You never know what is going to happen, but obviously my bread and butter is the dirt modifieds. And that is what I’m going to stick with.”