By Joe Grabianowski
RANSOMVILLE, N.Y. – May 30, 2016 – Erick Rudolph battled a stout field of twenty-eight DIRTcar 358-Modifieds for a 75 lap Memorial Day special at Ransomville (N.Y.) Speedway on Monday to take home his second series win of the season.
Rudolph chased down ‘Mr. Small Block’ himself Pete Bicknell for a lap 35 pass. Rudolph crossed the line .02 seconds ahead of Bicknell when the No. 678 car of John Smith came to a stop on the track bringing out the caution. From there Rudolph used the high line around the speedway to build a lead and repel a hard-charging Danny Johnson for the win.
“We had a little bit of a slow start but then the car came in and after that it was super fast,” said Rudolph in Victory Lane. “The car came through lapped traffic nice.”
Pete Bicknell and Scott Kerwin battled side by side in the opening laps until Kerwin jumped the cushion and lost momentum in turn four. Robbie Krull in the No. 123 car lurked in third place but that is as high up the order as he would go. Then on lap 16 the red flag came out to remove the stranded Kenny Willis and Jeff McGinnis machines bringing the field to a halt on the backstretch. When the green flag came back out, Erick Rudolph began to apply pressure to Pete Bicknell for the top spot.
After starting sixth, Rudolph stayed within striking distance of the lead until lap 35 when he executed the winning pass on Bicknell just as a caution flag came out.
Danny Johnson drove up through the field from 12th to capture a podium finish.
“I thank my team for the all the hard work getting here today,” an appreciative Johnson told the Memorial Day crowd. The track conditions suited Johnson’s style and he was able to make passes three wide at times. “It was really racy there at the end. We were able to pass tonight.”
Happy with a third place finish Pete Bicknell was excited to see his chassis excel,
“It’s nice to see three BRP cars in the front!” Bicknell started on the pole and held off Scott Kerwin in the opening laps racing side-by-side but Rudolph’s charge proved to be too much. Bicknell too praised the track conditions. “(The) track came to life halfway through.”
The best drive of the night may have been Ryan Susice who went pit side on lap 22 and still managed to race his way up to seventh. Susice thrilled the crowd when he drove through the moat to salvage a top ten with late race passes.
Budweiser and Wendt’s Propane and Oil sponsored the 75 lap $5000 to win 358 Modified series race. The next Eastern Region 358-Modified race is on June 4th at Merritville, ONT. The 358-Modified series as a whole does not meet again until September 4th at Cornwall, ONT.
A-Main (75 Laps) – 1. 62-Erick Rudolph; 2. 27J-Danny Johnson; 3. 42-Pete Bicknell; 4. 7-Scott Kerwin; 5. 28z-Gary Lindberg; 6. 26g-Scott George; 7. 38s–Ryan Susice; 8. 3-Chad Brachmann; 9. 123-Robbie Krull; 10. 37s-Tommy Flanigan; 11. 71-Mike Bowman; 12. 111-Alan Willis; 13. 16-Lance Willix; 14. 21k-Randy Chrysler; 15. 44v-Phil Vigneri III; 16. 26-Rick Richner; 17. 21-Kenny Willis; 18. 56-Steve Schumacher; 19. 23-Joey Ladouceur; 20. 7m-Michael Maresca; 21. 72- Dave Flannigan Jr.; 22. 12j-Nick Joy; 23. 777-Tyler McPherson; 24. 28-Todd Gordon; 25. 678-John Smith; 26. 27-Jim Zimmerman; 27. 20-Jeff McGinnis; 28. 14-Russ Zimmerman
Heat One (8 laps) – 1. 21-Kenny Willis; 2. 42-Pete Bicknell 3. 21k-Randy Chrysler; 4. 71-Mike Bowman; 5. 20-Jeff McGinnis; DNQ – 23-Joey Ladouceur; 7m-Michael Maresca; 16-Lance Willix
Heat Two (8 laps) – 1. 28z-Gary Lindberg; 2. 27J-Danny Johnson; 3. 38s–Ryan Susice; 4. 123-Robbie Krull; 5. 3-Chad Brachmann; 6. 26g-Scott George; DNQ – 12j-Nick Joy; 56-Steve Schumacher; 678-John Smith
Heat Three (8 laps) – 1. 62-Erick Rudolph; 2. 26-Rick Richner; 3. . 7-Scott Kerwin; 4. 777-Tyler McPherson; 5. 111-Alan Willis; 6. 44v-Phil Vigneri III; DNQ – 72- Dave Flannigan Jr.; 14-Russ Zimmerman