HARTFORD, OH – Sharon Speedway kicked off the 87th anniversary season on Saturday night with the twice postponed 2015 “Apple Festival Nationals” night two. A large crowd watched an overflowing pit area full of race cars open the 2016 season on a picture-perfect evening as Erick Rudolph-Big-Block Mod Tour “Russ King Memorial”, Matt Latta-Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Late Model Touring Series, Joel Watson-Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds, Rob Shook-Penn-Ohio Stock Car Series, Greg Martin-Lyden/Red Line Oil RUSH Sportsman Modified Bicknell Tour, Josh Ferry-HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, and Brian Felmlee-Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks earned opening night wins.

Erick Rudolph captured his first career Sharon win in a big way taking the $2,000 “Russ King Memorial” event for The Mod Tour Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds. The Ransomville, New York racer held off a bevy of competitors including teammate Randy Chrysler, the father-son duo of Rex King and Rex King, Jr., and a late charge by Garrett Krummert.

“I was doing everything I could to keep the behind me,” stated the Empire State star. “Seemed like I was good in the longer runs, but was struggling on the restarts. The Kings were a tick better than me and all I could do was keep them behind me. I had a couple scares, but was able to get the job done. I was on cruise control until that caution with one to go, but that opened up a whole can of worms. I’d like to thank the Kings for racing me clean out there- it was a fun race. Between Randy and I myself we both had top five runs, and I’d like to thank the fans for coming out today.”

While Rudolph would lead all 35 laps, the competition was hot and heavy behind him as the 34-car field was whittled down to 26 for the starting field. The first 17 laps went caution-free as Rudolph would build up a half-straightaway lead on Chrysler. King, Jr. passed Chrysler on lap 13 for second. Though the first half of the race was clean, the second-half was marred by seven caution periods. Krummert started back in 12th and moved into third following a restart on lap 27.

Positions two and on back kept shuffling on the restarts. The elder King made a charge on the final lap to temporarily get by Rudolph for the lead only to have the caution come out and setup a one-lap shootout. When racing resumed for the final time, Krummert made a move on the final lap to take second, but it was Rudolph becoming the 86th different driver in the history of Sharon Speedway to win a big-block feature.

King was third over Chrysler and King, Jr. Brad Rapp came from 16th to finish sixth over Brian Swartzlander, Mark Flick, Jimmy Weller III from 21st, and Eric Gabany. Chrysler set fast time in qualifying with a lap of 16.285. Heat wins went to Rudolph, King, Jr., Michael Maresca, and Swartzlander, while Weller III won the B main.

The Mod Tour “Russ King Memorial” Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds (35 laps, $2,000 to-win): 1. ERICK RUDOLPH (25R) 2. Garrett Krummert (29) 3. Rex King (65) 4. Randy Chrysler (21K) 5. Rex King, Jr. (165) 6. Brad Rapp (11R) 7. Brian Swartzlander (83) 8. Mark Flick (7z) 9. Jimmy Weller III (23) 10. Eric Gabany (3E) 11. Ricky Richner (26) 12. J.R. McGinley (66M) 13. Kevin Bolland (777) 14. Jim Rasey (21) 15. Tom Glenn (83T) 16. Michael Maresca (7) 17. Rob Kristyak (00) 18. Shayne Pierce (88) 19. Shawn Kozar (3K) 20. Jim Weller, Jr. (31) 21. Dave Murdick (61) 22. Shannon Whaley (44) 23. Ron Cartwright, Jr. (2B) 24. Kevin Hoffman (00) 25. Jeremiah Shingledecker (37MD) 26. Rodney Beltz (64). DNQ: Shawn Fleeger (88F), Mark Frankhouser (03), Rick Regalski, Jr. (13), Chris Haines (35H), Erik Martin (29E), Tom Mattocks (69), Bob Warren (96B), Skip Moore (17M).



Erick Rudolph had his work cut out for him in Friday night’s season opener at the Big Diamond Speedway. The Ransomville, N.Y., driver missed the redraw in his qualifying even and had to start 14th. Rudolph clawed his way through the field to earn an impressive fifth place finish at the conclusion of the 30-lap affair.

“That is a hard earned fifth place,” stated Rudolph. “We had to work our butt off. We were a little under powered with our engine combination in the heat race. Our car handled perfect in the heat but we just couldn’t get a couple more spots. It wasn’t for lack of handling. Once the feature came around we could hang in there. In the middle of the race we were really fast but towards the end I loosened up a bit.”

Rudolph, driving his family No. 25, utilized Friday night as a test session as well for later in the season. Rudolph has plenty of experience on the Hoosier tires but Friday offered him an opportunity to run American Racer tires.

“We are going to run about a dozen or so shows with the American Racers,” he said. “We are here doing some testing for that. We definitely learned some things. We are going to write it down in our notebook for later in the year.”

Those events join a busy schedule that Rudolph has planned for the 2016 season. Besides the family team, Rudolph has several starts planned with Randy Chrysler as well as a team he competed for last season with a new number.

“Ransomville (Speedway) and Merrittville (Speedway), we’ll be there most of the time,” commented Rudolph. “That is going to be with the 62 team. We’ll be there unless there is a BRP (The Modified Tour) race or somewhere else we need to go then we’ll go, but that is our Friday and Saturday night plans. We’ll run the big-block with Randy Chrysler. There are four series or something like that in the area. We’ll go here and there and everywhere. We’ll have a busy schedule.”

The 62 team that Rudolph is running for in the 358-Modified ranks is the same team he drove for in 2015 owned by Rob Clark.

“It was the 19 car last year,” mentioned Rudolph. “I drove for him about a dozen times. We got a win at Humberstone (Speedway) and a tons of second. It’s a good runner. We have a new car with a freshened engine. I’m excited about it.”

Rudolph wrapped up his weekend with a top ten in the Hard Clay Open on Saturday night at the Orange County Fair Speedway.