TRENTON, NJ – Erick Rudolph will be out to defend his East Coast Dirt Nationals title when the third running of the race is held inside Trenton, N.J.’s Cure Insurance Arena on Friday and Saturday, February 21st and 22nd. The Ransomville, N.Y. dirt Modified expert won the event in his first try in December of 2018 driving for Pennsylvania car owner Tommy Fraschetta.
After making a deal by phone to drive for Fraschetta, Rudolph met him for the first time at the event. They ended the weekend $5,000 richer and best of friends.
Rudolph’s career highlight have been well documented. He’s a three-time and defending Indoor Racing Series fueled by VP Racing Fuels Champion in events held on the concrete floors of different arenas. He’s also a champion and big winner during the outdoor season in dirt Modified competition. Rudolph came to Trenton’s dirt race after previously winning on the building’s concrete floor in a TQ Midget.
Fraschetta’s career in the sport as a driver and owner has been a productive one as well, but his Dirt Nationals win with Rudolph behind the wheel of his nine year old Hyper Racing was a feeling completely apart from all else.
“It was the best thing I did as a car owner, getting hooked up with Erick,” Fraschetta, 49 of King Of Prussia, PA admits.
“He was racing TQ Midgets Indoors with Mark Lafler last year as a teammate to Tim Buckwalter who I have known for years. Tim suggested Erick drive my 600 at Trenton and it was a perfect fit.”
There’s no reason to expect that 2020 will be any different than 2019 since Fraschetta will be bringing the same Dave Orange powered 600 Sprint to Trenton for Rudolph.
Fraschetta himself had a busy outdoor season driving the same car Rudolph drove to victory in Trenton over Billy Pauch Jr. He is a long time Micro racer who favors Greenwood Valley in northern Penna. for his racing despite it being 2 hours and 15 minutes from his home.
Fraschetta also mentors the Restricted 600 Micro class that Dylan Kontra, his 11 year old nephew, races in. It’s a traveling series that is open to 12-16 year old racers, who race with a restrictor plate on their 600 motors that reduces the horsepower by half. It’s intended as a stepping stone division. Kontra won races last year with Fraschetta at Lanco and Hamlin in addition to Greenwood Valley and was a contender at Linda’s before crashing.
In last year’s East Coast Dirt Nationals, Fraschetta fielded two cars with Central PA 410 ace Brian Montieth in the second car. Montieth was in Fraschetta’s car for the 2017 running Indoor Dirt races as well.
“Brian is intending to race the car again this year but he has a potential conflict. Lincoln opens the same day and his car owner is one of the partners at Lincoln. If they don’t run because of weather, Brian plans on being in the car at Trenton,” Fraschetta explained.
The car owner anticipates finding the track in approximately the same condition as it was in last year but is prepared for something different.
“These cars are adjustable in a lot of ways,” Fraschetta said. “No matter what your set up is, you can always change it and go faster.”
In last year’s running of the East Coast Indoor Dirt Nationals, Rudolph took a car he had never before sat in, set it up to run completely the opposite of what most of his top rivals had done, then sailed to victory. He calmly won his ten lap heat race, the 20-lap A-Main Qualifier, then led every single lap of the 50-lap $5,000-to-win feature.
“Everything went together with Tom (Fraschetta) for the race,” Rudolph said, in praise of his car owner, for whom he had never raced before.
While the majority of the drivers pounded the outside cushion to make thrilling passes, Rudolph took the steady slow method determined to run the bottom.
“That’s the way I set it up, like a concrete car,” Rudolph smiled. In so doing, Rudolph spent almost all of the racing weekend glued to the bottom of the race track and it paid off.
Fraschetta’s racing operation is a small one. “It’s always been my dad, my daughter, and me when we go racing. Taylor, my daughter, is special needs and she loves racing. She’s the one who keeps me going. So I told Brian and Erick going in that if we were fortunate enough to win this thing, Taylor gets the trophy or big check or whatever they are handing out. The money’s nice, but Taylor races for the trophies.”
And Rudolph delivered putting a huge smile on her face when both the trophy and huge check were presented to her.
Rudolph started his 2020 season off on the right foot with a TQ Midget victory in the opener of Indoor Auto Racing Series fueled by VP inside Allentown, Pa.’s PPL Center.
Before the non-point Trenton dirt event, Rudolph will compete in the third round of the BELFOR ‘Concrete Series’ inside Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall on Friday and Saturday, January 31 and February 1st. He’ll then head to Florida for two weeks of dirt Modified competition before returning in time for his trip to Trenton.
Rudolph will then conclude the Indoor Racing season on Friday and Saturday March 13th and 14th in a second year return to the brand new Expo Center located on the grounds of the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse. N.Y. Rudolph is also the defending race winner of the Syracuse A-Main event.
Tickets are currently available in a range of different prices for all the Indoor Series events through links on the www.indoorautoracing.com or at the venue box offices.
Corporate sponsorship at a variety of levels is available for all remaining events. Interested parties should contact Danny Sammons at 609-888-3618 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.