THOROLD, ONT – Third generation driver Erick Rudolph from Ransomville, NY was victorious in the 100 lap Brian Stevens Memorial for the 358 Modified Super DIRTcar Series on Zavitz Financial Strategies and Z.F.S. Benefit Solutions night at Merrittville Speedway. For Rudolph, it was his second win in the event that honored the two time Merrittville Speedway Modified champion.
Whitesville, NY driver John Waters claimed the $2,000 to win Sweeney Chevrolet, Buick, GMC RUSH Late Model Touring Series event. Danny Wurster from Niagara Falls, Ontario took the top prize in winning round one for the Eataly Foods Pro 4 Triple Truck Challenge. Tyler Lafantaisie from Welland, Ontario won the main event for the Van Raine Construction 4 Cylinders in round one of their Triple Crown.
“I found something on the bottom and the car handled well and it was a strong run” stated Rudolph in victory lane after the 100 lap event.
Tyler McPherson and Kenny Wills led the field to the green flag for the Brian Stevens Memorial 100 for the 358 Modified Super DIRTcar Series and it was Wills leading on the opening circuit. McPherson and Wills would battle for the lead as McPherson would regain the lead on lap three, just as Pete Bicknell passed Tommy Flannigan to take over third place. Danny Johnson and Erick Rudolph would battle for fifth place as Bicknell started to reel in race leader McPherson. Gary Lindberg slowed on the back straightaway to bring out the races first caution on lap 12. The restart would happen on lap 16 with McPherson, Bicknell and Tommy Flannigan would take over third as Erick Rudolph moved into fourth with Danny Johnson entering the top five.
At the races 1/5th point it was McPherson, Bicknell, Flannigan, Johnson, and Rudolph running in the top five. Danny Johnson would continue to move towards the front as “The Doctor” was operating on the outside to pass Flannigan to take over third place on lap 22. The caution would come back out on lap 25 as Mark D’llario came to a stop in turn one after suffering a flat left front tire. Erick Rudolph would move into second after passing Bicknell on lap 34 and Mat Williamson moved into third just one lap later, as Bicknell was fading back into fifth. Williamson and Rudolph would battle for second for several circuits with Rudolph holding off Williamson’s advances. McPherson would stretch out his lead over Rudolph near the races halfway point as the lead was 1.151 seconds for the driver of the Niagara Form Works 777. The leaders hit lap traffic on lap 46 as Rudolph would slice McPherson’s lead to just a single car length. The caution would fly as Pete Bicknell slowed on the front stretch and went into the pit area. The lap 52 restart would see McPherson continue to show the way as Rudolph and Danny Johnson moved into third. Rudolph and McPherson would battle for the lead but the caution would fly once again on lap 56 as Wayne Conn spun in turn four after contact with Mark D’llario.
The green flag would fly on lap 61 as Rudolph would take over the lead on lap 62 over McPherson. Johnson would pass McPherson on lap 71 to take over second place, after McPherson held off “The Doctor” for several circuits. Rudolph would hit lap traffic on lap 72 as he led Danny Johnson by a half straightaway with 25 laps remaining.
Rudolph continued to put distance between himself and Johnson as he had a full straightaway lead with 18 laps remaining. The time difference was over two seconds between race leader Rudolph and “The Doctor”. Johnson would start to close in on Rudolph as the leader would hit lap traffic with 15 laps remaining. As the leader pulled away, Mike Bowman would challenge early race leader Tyler McPherson for third place in the late going.
Erick Rudolph would pull away from the field to claim his second consecutive Brian Stevens Memorial. Danny Johnson would finish in second and was followed to the line by Mike Bowman, Tyler McPherson, and Chris Steele.