(Dundee, NY) – Eldon Payne Jr. could taste that sweet taste of victory. After having led the first twenty-nine laps in what was a crazy thirty-lap feature for the Friendly Dodge & Ford Big Block/Small Block Modifieds, but the final caution spelled disaster for Payne.
As the field slowed for the final caution flag on lap twenty-nine, Payne’s car darted to the top of turn four and came to an abrupt stop. The rear end of the Mike’s Harder Lemonade No. 28p didn’t have one more lap left in it.
Payne’s misfortune spelled huge opportunity for Ransomville, NY driver Erick Rudolph. Rudolph, a regular at Ransomville, was off on Friday night from competition in the Niagara region and took advantage of extra track time in preparation for Tuesday’s Short Track Super Series event at Outlaw. The test and tune session sure paid off.
Rudolph started the race from position number eighteen and quickly moved his way up to the top ten. He would get help from several caution flags during the event as right rear tires were the Achilles heel of several drivers on Friday night. During a caution at the half way mark, Rudolph had advanced fifteen spots to move up into the third spot.
Payne was extremely fast with his Billy The Kid Big Block engine, speeding around the cushion and logging some fast laps while doing so. But as the race wore on, Rudolph’s car got better and he started chasing Payne down for the lead.
The two battled tooth and nail with fewer than ten laps to go, but Payne had the ponies to keep his car out front. Rudolph appeared to have the position on more than one occasion, but the caution would come out and dash his hopes for the lead.
“It seemed like I almost got by (Payne) several times but the caution kept coming out,” said Rudolph in Outlaw Speedway’s brand new victory lane. “It looked like something broke on his car when the last caution came out.”
Rudolph was correct. The rear end on the No. 28p gave way as the caution came out on lap twenty-nine, ending Payne’s night in heartbreak.
“It’s too bad we couldn’t race it out until the end there, but I will take the win for my team,” said Rudolph who also leads the points for the North Region of the Short Track Super Series.
“With Ransomville being off, we decided to bring this car down here to shake it down and I imagine we will come back on Tuesday and leave it just like it is.”
Rudolph held off Tyler Siri and Danny Johnson on the last lap to score the victory. Steve Paine finished a strong fourth from twenty-first and Penn Yan, NY pilot Derrick Podsiadlo scored his third top five in four races.
Outlaw Speedway Elm Chevrolet Night Quick Results 6/3/2016:
FRIENDLY DODGE & FORD MODIFIEDS, 23 cars (30 Laps): ERICK RUDOLPH (1), Tyler Siri, Danny Johnson, Steve Paine, Derrick Podsiadlo, Brady Fultz, Dave Rauscher, Jim LaRock, Justin Wright, Joe Dgien, Marcus Dinkins, Randy Chrysler, Daryl Hilkert, Eldon Payne Jr., Cory Costa, Gary Tomkins, Lee Bills, Donnie Lawson, Billy Van Pelt, Jordan Siri, Ron Cartwright Jr., James Sweeting, Alan Johnson
Heat Race Winners: Donnie Lawson, Eldon Payne Jr., Gary Tomkins
Lap Leaders: Eldon Payne Jr. 1-29, Rudolph 30