Erick Rudolph Hits Pay Dirt; Takes Short Track Super Series ‘Sunshine Swing’ Finale At All-Tech

Story By: CHRIS MOORE / SHORT TRACK SUPER SERIES – LAKE CITY, FL – Erick Rudolph capped off the inaugural Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled by Sunoco ‘Sunshine Swing’ by winning the 50-lap, $10,000-to-win main event on Saturday night at All-Tech Raceway.

After having strong runs in both feature’s on Friday night, one cut short for mechanical issues, the Ransomville, N.Y., hot shoe powered his big-block powered No. 25R to the front in the final 10 laps to steal the show.

Rudolph’s one prior STSS victory also paid $10,000-to-win at the ‘York County Nationals’ at Pa.’s BAPS Motor Speedway in 2017.

Sprakers, N.Y.’s Stewart Friesen grabbed the LKQ North Florida $500 ‘Sunshine Swing’ championship with a runner-up finish. He also received a set of VAHLCO Elite Series® Wheels worth $1,400.

Milford, Del.’s Jordan Watson and Sheffield, Mass., native Andy Bachetti led the field to series “starter” Joe Kriss’ green flag in front of a packed house at the Florida half-mile.

The “Wild Child,” Andy Bachetti raced into turn number one to grab the lead. Billy Dunn, of Watertown, N.Y., and Billy Pauch Jr., of Frenchtown, N.J., followed Bachetti ahead of Watson to occupy the top three spots.

The stars of night one at the ‘Sunshine Swing’ – Stewart Friesen and Mat Williamson – were on the charge again, starting eighth and 12th after the Beyea Custom Headers redraw. The two occupied the fifth and sixth spots, respectively, just five laps into the affair.

Pauch Jr. was challenging Andy Bachetti for the lead until the leaders caught lap traffic. Bachetti was able to open his advantage over the rest of the field until lap 15, when Bachetti spun out negotiating lap traffic.

Billy Dunn would inherit the lead and command the race for the next several laps as several drivers around him went pit-side, including several drivers in the top top-10.

Two drivers taking advantage of the chaos in between yellow flags were Mike Gular and Rudolph.

On lap 32, Billy Dunn relinquished the lead to Mat Williamson, and Rudolph pulled up alongside. That restart however, would belong to Mike Gular. Boyertown, Pa.’s Gular restarted fourth, and drove around Savannah, N.Y.’s Matt Sheppard and underneath Rudolph to take second.

One restart later, on lap 39, Gular would do one better, powering around Williamson to take the lead. Williamson would also lose second to Sheppard before the yellow on lap 41.

The restart that changed the race for good, ensued. Gular and Sheppard washed up the track, and Rudolph drove around Williamson and under the two leaders to take the lead for good.

Rudolph survived the remaining restarts to grab the Sunoco checkered flags. Friesen would climb all the way back to second to grab the Sunshine Swing championship. Mike Gular would hang onto third with Billy Pauch Jr., and Matt Sheppard rounding out the top five.

Phoenix, N.Y.’s Larry Wight finished sixth, Beaver Dams, N.Y.’s, Dillon Groover grabbed seventh and the Ocala Restaurant Hard Charger after starting 26th. Williamson faded to eighth, with Belle Mead, N.J.’s Brandon Grosso and Boyertown, Pa.’s Ryan Watt rounded out the top-10 driving for Rick Regalski.


Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Modified Feature Finish (50 laps): ERICK RUDOLPH, Stewart Friesen, Mike Gular, Billy Pauch Jr., Matt Sheppard, Larry Wight, Dillon Groover, Mat Williamson, Brandon Grosso, Ryan Watt, Billy Decker, Matt Stangle, Billy Dunn, Kyle Coffey, Rick Laubach, Kyle Weiss, Demetrios Drellos, Alex Yankowski, Anthony Perrego, Robert Dutton, Danny Johnson, Billy Van Pelt, Jordan Watson, Jim Rasey, David Schilling, Andy Bachetti, Peter Britten, Danny Hieber.

Did Not Qualify (Receive Mike’s Racing Heads $50 Tow Insurance): Nick Mady, Rusty Smith, Justin Haers, Scott Van Gorder, Todd Neiheiser, Ryan Riffe, Clay Tatman, Scott Hitchens, Jeremy Smith, Tyler Siri, Darwin Greene, J.R. Hurlburt, Marshall Hurd, Russell Morseman III, Darren Smith.

‘Sunshine Swing’ Final Modified Points (Top-10): 1) Stewart Friesen 295; 2) Mat Williamson 258; 3) Matt Sheppard 255; 4 – Tie) Billy Pauch Jr. & Erick Rudolph 223; 6) Larry Wight 221; 7) Billy Decker 208; 8) Anthony Perrego 207; 9) Billy Dunn 204; 10) Brandon Grosso 184.

LKQ North Florida Sunshine Swing Champion ($500): Stewart Friesen
Design for Vision/Sunglass Central Champion (Polarized Ray-Ban Sunglasses): Stewart Friesen
VAHLCO Racing Wheels Champion (ELITE Series® Wheels): Stewart Friesen

American Racer/Lias Tire Bonuses (FREE Tire): Brandon Grosso (ninth) & Kyle Coffey (14th)
Behrent’s Performance Warehouse Bonuses ($50 Gift Cards): Billy Pauch Jr. (fourth) & Brandon Grosso (ninth)
Beyea Headers Redraw Bonus ($50): Mat Williamson
Competition Carburetor Fast Time Award ($50): Mike Gular (18.409 seconds)
Design for Vision/Sunglass Central Bonus (Ray-Ban Sunglasses): Erick Rudolph (winner)
DIG Race Products Bonus ($100 Certificate): Dillon Groover (seventh)
EIBACH Springs Bonus ($100 Certificate): Mat Williamson (eighth)
ERK Steering Bonus ($50): Kyle Weiss (16th)
Henry’s Exhaust Bonus ($50 Certificate): Billy Decker (11th)
Ocala Restaurant Supply Hard Charger ($200): Dillon Groover (26th to seventh)
Sunoco Race Fuels/Insinger Performance Bonuses ($50 Certificates): Stewart Friesen (second), Matt Stangle (12th) & Billy Van Pelt (22nd)
Wilwood Brakes Bonus ($75 Certificate): Larry Wight (sixth)