By MIKE MALLETT
Coming into Wednesday night’s Super DIRTcar Series race at Eldora Speedway, only four drivers had claimed full series wins. The list expands to six if you include drivers that have won the pair of invitational events. Now, a new driver can be added to that list. That driver is Erick Rudolph.
“We’ve only had a handful of races here and we are one of only a select few that have a win here,” commented Rudolph. “So that is special.”
Rudolph redrew the fifth starting spot for the main. It took him two thirds of the race to get the lead, but once he did, it was all over. He went on to score his 16th win of the 2019 season.
“Everything is going really good right now,” stated Rudolph. “The engine department is going near 100 percent. I’m feeling like I’m doing what I need to do steering the steering wheel and pushing the levers as best as I ever have. My crew-chief has dialed the car in better and better. It’s all a guessing game. You guess what the track is going to be, you guess with what your car is going to need, along those lines you get good at guessing.”
He’s certainly been good at guessing on setups as of late. He’s won two Super DIRTcar Series races, a DIRTcar 358-Modified race as well as a BRP Modified Tour event. He also won an open show. The team is hitting their stride at the right time and it continues to work out.
“I hope to have years better than this, doing whatever I might be doing,” mentioned Rudolph. “This is certainly a great year. We are in full song right now. The beginning of the year was tough. We had some engine failures and with the rain, we just couldn’t get in full momentum. The weather is good and everything is staying together and the team is just jelling.”
Rudolph is one of the few drivers this season that has been able to conquer the Matt Sheppard machine. Sheppard has amassed over 20 wins already in 2019. Rudolph passed him on lap 75 to get the lead and eventually the $10,000 win.
“I think I passed him on the bottom, which is unusual because the whole race I was running the top,” cited Rudolph. “It was just the way it worked out that I snuck by him on the bottom. He’s the best in the sport right now. To get a win over him is good for our team.”
The only possible hiccup occurred with eight laps left in the event. A caution bunched the field; which required him to keep both Billy Decker and Mat Williamson behind him. He was up to the challenge.
“You don’t really know what to expect,” he said of the restart. “You don’t know if you are fading or you are still at full song striding. You’d rather not see it, but when the caution does come out you keep a level head and stick to your guns and do what you did before. You just keep doing whatever got you there before.”
He did it without any problems and continued to find his way to victory lane; as things continue to be good for Rudolph. He’ll look to continue that as he heads back to weekly action this coming weekend.