By Mike Mallett
Erick Rudolph hasn’t competed weekly at Ransomville Speedway in 2023. He’s only made six starts, including Tuesday night’s Ron Martin Memorial Summer Nationals for the Super DIRTcar Series. It didn’t matter. Rudolph was back on his old stomping grounds.
Rudolph has enough laps around the Ransomville Speedway; I’d speculate he could nearly do a full lap at full speedway blindfolded. Home track knowledge was key to winning on Tuesday night, as he utilized a different tire compound than most everyone else in the field, excluding a handful of other Ransomville regulars. It was the right call.
“We haven’t been racing here on a weekly basis, but we’ve been here a handful of times,” said Rudolph. “So we kind of knew what to expect and how the race might play out, which I’m sure played a factor. We definitely picked the right tires to put on. We were firing all cylinders tonight.”
Rudolph traditionally hasn’t had the best of luck in Ransomville’s lone Super DIRTcar Series visit each season. Tuesday was different. He was strong from the get-go in the 75-lap feature. He went off from the front row and fell back to third before mounting a charge to the front to find himself in victory lane at the end.“We’ll run okay, but we’ve never really been a contender to win this race in years past,” said Rudolph about the event. “Then, for whatever reason, tonight we got a good draw—a good redraw—that let us start up front. Early on in the race, I wasn’t great, but we were able to just kind of maintain our spot. Eventually, we just started getting better and better.”
His charge included passing former race winner Matt Sheppard with 24 laps to go. Sheppard was starting to drift off the corners, and Rudolph was able to pounce, driving by him off the bottom of turns one and two before finalizing the pass in turns three and four. He was gone from there.
“Early on, there were a bunch of cautions that were getting me nervous, especially when we had that red flag,” said Rudolph. “I was really getting nervous if the car would respond properly after we went back green there. Later on in the race, we got some longer green flag runs. I could tell Matt’s car was starting to come unglued from the track a little bit, and ours was really starting to hunker into the track. I’m just so happy that things worked out for us tonight.”
The win was his second with the series in 2023 and his 10th career.