SARVER, PA-Warm temperatures and a pit area containing 97 cars greeted the World’s Finest Race Fans on Friday night. And those in attendance were treated to a fantastic night of racing which featured an appearance from the Jay’s Automotive ULMS Racing Series, partaking in the $4,000-to-win ‘Willie and Conda McConnell Memorial’ which brought out a tremendously stout field of Late Model competition. Gregg Satterlee made his return to The Action Track pay off with a strong performance as he found himself in Terry Bowser Victory Lane, having bested the region’s top drivers for his second straight McConnell Memorial victory. Meanwhile, Dan Kuriger turned in a strong performance of his own in collecting his first victory of the season in the Peoples Natural Gas Sprint Car main event and Erick Rudolph made a visit all the way from Ransomville, NY and made the haul worthwhile, taking the win by a good margin in the Diehl Automotive Big Block Modified feature. Once again, Tyler Dietz, fresh off a strong 6th place finish in the Late Model main event, closed the night with his second feature win of the year, winning a late race battle with Cody Koteles that bore a strong resemblance to his opening night win, three weeks ago.
Rudolph Tames Big Blocks
Erick Rudolph can still remember days when it wasn’t so easy in his first few attempts at trying his hand at a Fab4 feature win in the Diehl Automotive Big Block Modifieds, but those memories seem so long ago now. In the present time, the Ransomville, NY pilot has been unbeatable in his visits, starting in 2020, Rudolph had gone four for four at Lernerville including two BRP Tour wins, and on Friday night, he gave yet another reminder of what to expect when is car shows up in the pits on any given race night.
Rudolph had his work cut out for him as the green flag fell as he started eighth in the 25-lap main event with all-time greats, Brian Swartzander, Dave Murdick , Jeremiah Shingledecker and Rex King Jr. starting ahead of him. Pole sitter Steve Slater brought the field to the green flag with Murdick alongside him with Murdick grabbing the early lead as Swartzlander moved quickly to the second spot in the yearly going. The two drivers were virtually neck and neck with Garrett Krummert and Rudolph making their way to within striking distance with just three laps in the books, setting up a four car dogfight at the front with some of the best pilots in the region.
Krummert was able to slip past Swartzlander for second just two laps later, however, Rudolph came with him, using the low side and capturing all the bite and momentum he could seemingly get out of his machine. Then on lap seven, Rudolph put his car ahead of both Swartzlander and Krummert to take the lead, using one set of turns and a small part of the back stretch to do so. Once out front, Rudolph wasted no time creating a comfortable margin behind him while Krummert and Murdick continued battling hard for the second spot. Krummert put himself solidly in the second spot at the halfway mark with Swartzlander, Murdick and King Jr behind him in the chase pack as Rudolph found himself in lapped traffic with 10 laps to go. The lapped cars proved to be no obstacle whatsoever as Rudolph propelled himself to over a six second lead while King Jr found more speed and made his way to the third spot past Swartzlander as the laps would down. But out front, the night belonged to Rudolph who drove nearly as perfect race as could be, taking is fifth career main event victory at Lernerville.
“We’re always excited to get down here to Lernerville Speedway,” Rudolph said. “It’s one of the nicest tracks in America in my opinion. It’s been a while since we’ve seen the track quite like this so we had to dig back in our notebook and I think we hit it right this time. Hats off to my tire guy, crew chief and father, I wouldn’t be here without them.
Diehl Automotive Big Block Modified Feature: (Finish-Name-[Start]) 1. 25-Erick Rudolph; 2. 29-Garrett Krummert; 3. 165-Rex King Jr; 4. 83-Brian Swartzlander; 5. 37MD-Jeremiah Shingledecker; 6. 11R-Brad Rapp; 7. 318-Eric Gabany; 8. 61-Dave Murdick; 9. C3-Chas Wolbert; 10. 45-Steve Feder; 11. 14S-Justin Shea; 12. 20P-Mike Kinney; 13. 13-Rick Regalski; 14. 9-Will Thomas; 15. 75-Jeff Miller; 16. 35-Steve Slater; 17. 03-Mark Frankhouser; 18. 64-Rodney Beltz; 19. 27R-Dave Reges; 20. (DNS) 777-Tyler Willard