Larry Ott: Ransomville’s Rudolph is making a name for himself - The Buffalo News

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Larry Ott: Ransomville’s Rudolph is making a name for himself

Only Matt Hirschman ended up standing between Erick Rudolph and a hugely perfect weekend.

After winning the $13,000-to-win 358 Modified Alex Friesen Summer Nationals 100 on the dirt at Ransomville Speedway Friday night, Rudolph just missed capturing the checkered flag in the Tommy Druar/Tony Jankowiak Modified Memorial 110 Saturday on the asphalt at Elegant Builders Raceway Park in Lancaster, falling short by one position to Hirschman.

These two events are among the most prestigious on the Western New York racing calendar each year.

Hirschman, of Northampton, Pa., took the lead from Daren Scherer on lap 83 and never looked back in besting Rudolph and Chuck Hossfeld by several car lengths. For Ransomville native Rudolph, it was still a great weekend.

“You can’t complain too much about finishing second to Matt,” Rudolph said. “The win at Ransomville was pretty big and it was a nice payday. It’s my biggest dirt win that I ever had.”

Hirschman is at the top of his game again this season, finding victory lane at many different tracks across the northeast.

“I run really good here and in terms of overall performance this track is probably my best. So, right now I’ve been winning almost anywhere. So, it’s no surprise to run well here,” said Hirschman. “I always seem to get around this place real well.”

Rudolph left no doubt that he has arrived as a top runner on the dirt in earning his third win of the season at Ransomville. He came from the 15th starting position to run down, pass and then pull away from Danny Johnson, as well as a field spiced with top traveling DIRTcar standouts to win the Friesen 100.

Rudolph, who also races at Merrittville and Humberstone among other tracks, also leads the Mr. DIRTcar Championship which has just three weeks remaining. It pits local racers across the region against one another based on their 16 best finishes in their respective division at any DIRTcar Northeast sanctioned track.

Rudolph reached Johnson’s back bumper on lap 65 and used the high groove to motor around Johnson just one circuit later to execute the winning pass Friday.

“I was worried early on but all of a sudden the car came to me,” said Rudolph. “It was hooked up on the top so I stayed with it.”

Johnson settled for second over Pete Bicknell, Brett Hearn and Stewart Friesen.

No Street Stocks at EBRP

After a week of controversy at Elegant Builders Raceway Park, the Street Stock class has been suspended for the rest of the 2013 season by track promoter Ralph Galluzzi.

Following the running of the Tom Agen Memorial Street Stock race Aug. 10, concerns by some drivers about post-race tech procedures and decisions — including the car of winner T.J. Cochrane — perceived favoritism of certain drivers by some officials, and general frustration led to an emotionally charged brawl involving some of the teams that evening.

Reportedly the Cochrane team made an engine change before the race and failed to notify tech officials per the rule book. The Cochrane team eventually proved legal but some drivers still question the procedures used.

Last Saturday a meeting was held in the tech garage before the night’s racing by Galluzzi with drivers from every class present to discuss various issues involving the overall stock car program. When the meeting did not go well, nine Street Stock drivers decided to leave the track with only two cars deciding to stay and race in the heat race, including Cochrane. None of the nine drivers who left the track were involved in the previous week’s brawl.

With only two cars present, the feature was canceled.

Veteran Street Stock driver Dennis Londos stressed that there is much more involved with these issues and that the drivers in this class wanted them addressed and felt they were not. He further stated that the public should understand this before judging any of the Street Stock drivers.

Whether one sides with management or the race teams, the losers are the fans who will not get to see the close and competitive competition that the Street Stock class produces each week. Hopefully resolutions can be realized.

Pit stops

• EBRP will showcase its 24th annual drag racing Race of Champions Ironman Classic at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Any race winners from 2011 through the present are eligible as well as past champions and ROC winners. There will be competition for the No-Box and Box classes.


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