CANANDAIGUA, NY – By: Tom Skibinski – As temperatures plummeted into the unseasonably high 40s come feature time, Erick Rudolph and Kevin Root remained hot, two recent track point champions both winning qualifying heats, redrawing the pole then leading flag-to-flag to dominate their respective feature events in the ‘Saturday Spectacular’ at Land Of Legends Raceway.
2018 Pepsi Big-Block Modified season champion Rudolph captured his first victory while defending Speed Connection Sportsman points king Root racked up a second straight win, his last coming Tuesday night on the fast Ontario Co. Fairgrounds oval.
Veteran wingman and 2019 points champion Darryl Ruggles returned to the cockpit to triumph in the Mike Emhof Motorsports 305 Sprint Car A-Main while Jimmy Grant (Street Stock) and Tyler Burnell (Hobby Stock) scored popular victories in full-fender action.
“We’ve had a string of bad luck lately, hopefully we can put that behind us,” commented Rudolph, 28, after the Ransomville rocket posted his 10th career Modified win at LOLR where his father Charlie reached victory lane 17 times from 1983-88. “Different circumstances, whether it was a flat tire or something else. Just seemed like we couldn’t put the gremlins behind us and hopefully I think we did just now.”
Rudolph was quick from the start, turning the best time in hot laps for his heat then taking the win before luck of the draw among the front four qualifiers positioned him on the point for the 35-lap Modified main. The caution-free finale did little to help his challengers, with the potent Bob Bruneau-powered no. 25 reVive Spine Center-Blue Cross/Blue Shield-Mohawk NE-NMCC/Bicknell entry creating a comfortable 12 car-length margin of victory at the stripe.
Central New Yorker Chris Hile logged his best finish at the fairgrounds, holding second until Tuesday’s winner Larry Wight rolled past running his customary high side to take second on lap 24. Billy Dunn rallied from 11th on the 25-car starting grid to grab fourth from Kyle Coffey on lap 28 while Alan Johnson remained the only driver to place among the Top-5 in the first three events.
“Track was a little slippery out there tonight,” noted Rudolph, who had little trouble getting around traffic for the duration, lapping up to 12th-place finisher Matt Farnham, with 20 of the 24 starters taking the checkered flag; Gil Tegg Jr. did not start after suffering critical engine issues. “But the car was still very maneuverable.”
“We started out on the bottom (lane) and the car seemed to like it so I stayed down there the whole time. Really proud of the car we had today, really proud of my team. Want to thank my whole crew and everybody at home that bought the pay-per-view, appreciate it. That way we can stay out here and keep doing what we’re doing. Also want to thank every sponsor on board here,” added the third-generation driver, who scored his first win of the season in Florida at All-Tech Raceway during the ‘Sunshine Swing’ in February.
Land of Legends Raceway Event Summary – June 13, 2020
SuperGen Products presents Saturday Spectacular
Pepsi Big-Block Modified
*Feature (35 laps): 1. 25-Erick Rudolph ($2,000), 2. 99L-Larry Wight, 3. 5h-Chris Hile, 4. 49-Billy Dunn, 5. 14j-Alan Johnson, 6. 19w-Justin Wright, 7. 23-Kyle Coffey, 8. 42p-Pat Ward, 9. m1-Dave Marcuccilli, 10. 3-Justin Haers, 11. 12x-Dillon Groover, 12. 7f-Matt Farnham, 13. 19-Tim Fuller, 14. 11j-James Sweeting, 15. 28p-Eldon Payne,Jr., 16. 31m-Jimmy Maier, 17. 77-Lance Dusett, 18. 21x-Eric Williams, 19. 33j-Robbie Johnston III, 20. 1L-Jeff Lawrence(SB), 21. 21-Derrick Podsiadlo, 22. 1r-Adam Hilton, 23. 14ny-Daniel Johnson Jr., 24. 29m-Ed Lawrence(SB), 22g-Gil Tegg Jr.(DNS).
Heats (8 laps)
#1: Wight, Ward, Marcuccilli, Groover, Farnham, Williams, Maier, Johnston.
#2: Hile, A.Johnson, Coffey, Dunn, Haers, Dusett, J.Lawrence,, Tegg(DNS).
#3: Rudolph, Fuller, Wright, Sweeting, Payne, Podsiadlo, Hilton, D.Johnson,
Group Time Trials (2 laps / 25 cars)
#1: Larry Wight 18.880sec. (95.339 mph), Pat Ward, Dave Marcuccilli, Dillon Groover, Matt Farnham, Eric Williams, Robbie Johnston III, Jimmy Maier.
#2: Chris Hile 19.310sec. (93.216 mph), Kyle Coffey, Alan Johnson, Justin Haers, Billy Dunn, Lance Dusett, Jeff Lawrence, Gil Tegg Jr.(-NT-).
#3: Erick Rudolph 19.295sec. (93.288 mph), Justin Wright, Tim Fuller, James Sweeting, Derrick Podsiadlo, Eldon Payne Jr., Adam Hilton, Daniel Johnson Jr., Ed Lawrence.