Big-Block, Big Bucks: Erick Rudolph Ends ‘Sunshine Swing’ with $10,000 Victory; Grant Hilfiger Crate 602 Sportsman Star
Written by Chris Moore
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.
The Crate 602 Sportsman went 30-laps in distance for a $1,500 payday to round out the ‘Sunshine Swing.’ Cresco, Pa.’s Grant Hilfiger started on the pole and led all 30-laps to win the race and the $500 LKQ North Florida ‘Sunshine Swing’ championship.
Despite challenges from Tony Ballestero and Tim Hartman Jr. throughout the race, Hilfiger held onto the lead for his first career STSS win.
Ransomville, N.Y.’s Jim Harbison came from 18th to finish second. Derek Webb, of Watertown, N.Y. finished third. Tim Hartman Jr., of Niskayuna N.Y. and Hamburg, Pa.’s Craig Whitmoyer rounded out the top five.
Racing resumes for the STSS on March 6-7 at Delaware’s Georgetown Speedway with the fifth running of the Melvin L. Joseph Memorial featuring the STSS Velocita-USA South Region presented by Design for Vision and Sunglass Central Modified opener (49 laps, $10,049 to win) and STSS Crate 602 Sportsman South Region lid-lifter (25 laps, $1,490 to win) and a host of other divisions.
All-Tech Raceway is located at 1024 SW Howell Road Lake City, FL 32024. To learn more about the speedway, visit www.alltechraceway.com.
To learn more about the 2020 Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco, visit www.shorttracksuperseries.com, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, check out ‘Short Track Super Series’ on Facebook or @ShortTrackSS on Twitter or Instagram.
The Short Track Super Series is presented by American Racer/Lias Tire, Sunoco Race Fuel, Insinger Performance, Bob Hilbert Sportswear, Halmar International, Velocita-USA, Design for Vision/Sunglass Central, Evergreen Fuels Inc., ATL Racing Fuel Cells, Behrent’s Performance Warehouse, Beyea Custom Headers, Bicknell Racing Products, Dirt Track Digest, EIBACH Springs, Fast Axle, Henry’s Exhaust, Hig Fab, HyperCo, Kirkey Racing Fabrication, Land Hoe Maintenance, K&N, MJK Home Maintenance, Precision Hydraulic & Oil, QA1, Racing Optics, Superior Remodeling, Teo-Pro Car, VAHLCO, Velocita, WELD Racing & Wilwood.
‘SUNSHINE SWING’ RESULTS SUMMARY – ALL-TECH RACEWAY FEBRUARY 8, 2020
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)
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Crate 602 Sportsman Feature Finish (25 laps): GRANT HILFIGER, Jim Harbison, Derek Webb, Tim Hartman Jr., Craig Whitmoyer, Payton Talbot, A-Jay Potrzebowski Jr., Jeff Brown, Blaine Klinger, Daniel Morgiewicz, Garrett Given Sr., Michael Mondak, Shawn McPhee, Carl Bittenbender, Antonio Ballestero, Scott Hitchens, Todd Buckwold, Brendan Gibbons, Kevin Chaffee, Michael Ballestero, Brian Sadler, Robert Delormier, Adam White, Bobby Flood, Kevin Sockriter.
‘Sunshine Swing’ Final Crate 602 Sportsman Points (Top-10): 1) Grant Hilfiger 290; 2) Tim Hartman Jr. 260; 3) Antonio Ballestero 242; 4) Jim Harbison 227; 5) Craig Whitmoyer 213; 6) Kevin Chaffee 205; 7) Payton Talbot 192; 8) Blaine Klinger 191; 9) Derek Webb 175; 10 – Tie) Scott Hitchens & Kevin Sockriter 174.
LKQ North Florida Sunshine Swing Champion ($500): Grant Hilfiger
Design for Vision/Sunglass Central Champion (Polarized Ray-Ban Sunglasses): Grant Hilfiger
American Racer/Lias Tire Bonus (FREE Tire): Daniel Morgiewicz (10th)
Beyea Headers Redraw Bonus ($25): Tim Hartman Jr.
Competition Carburetor Fast Time Award: Kevin Chaffee (19.467 seconds)
Design for Vision/Sunglass Central Bonus (Ray-Ban Sunglasses): Grant Hilfiger
DIG Race Products Bonus ($100 Certificate): A-Jay Potrzebowski Jr. (seventh)
ERK Steering Bonus ($50): Scott Hitchens (16th)
Evergreen Fuels Inc. Winner’s Bonus ($39): Grant Hilfiger