By DTD STAFF
OCALA, FL – Thursday night saw Erick Rudolph and Stewart Friesen participate in an all-out slugfest for the Short Track Super Series win at Bubba Raceway Park. On Friday night, the two fought once more, with Friesen coming out victorious after another race-long battle with Rudolph. In an opposite scenario from yesterday, Friesen took the lead from Rudolph late in the 40-lap event for the $6,000 victory.
A third-to-first move on the initial start put Billy Pauch Jr. in the early lead, with Rudolph slipping into second. Pauch held tough through some early restarts, but on lap nine, Rudolph pried his way under Pauch to take the top spot. Maresca followed through for second, and Pauch’s fun ended there, as Pauch got crossed up and fell out of the top five.
Friesen was making ground during all this, blasting the top and getting to second before a lap 12 yellow. Once racing resumed, Rudolph and Friesen went to battle, a continuation of Thursday night. With Friesen high and Rudolph low, Friesen took the lead just prior to a lap 16 yellow. Rudolph tossed a pair of sliders on the restart, but Friesen was able to respond to both and keep his car in first. Another yellow on lap 27 saw Friesen get an awful restart, allowing Rudolph to regain the top spot. Friesen remained locked to Rudolph, while Maresca battled David Schilling and Billy Decker for third.
A lap 33 caution gave Friesen another swing at Rudolph, barely nipping Rudolph at the line before another yellow the next time by. This pass counted, meaning Friesen was in control of the coming restart. With Friesen up top, Rudolph kept trying down low. While Rudolph stayed within striking distance, Friesen was consistent up top, enough to keep Rudolph at bay.
A pair of yellows with three and two laps left gave Rudolph a final shot, but Rudolph pushed up the track and surrendered second to Maresca. At the checkered, it was Friesen winning over Maresca, Rudolph, Max McLaughlin, and Decker.
“It’s definitely a big time unique race track,” Friesen said. “It moved all over tonight, there was grip up top in two that wasn’t there last night. The track was definitely a little wider than last night too. The key tonight was all the restarts, I just needed to make sure my tires were clean and not blow them off in the greasy slick. The restarts and cautions fell where we needed late and we were able to get the win.”
Maresca backed up his solid fifth from Thursday with a runner-up on Friday. Maresca’s new team seems to be mixing well together, as the group has ran strong on both nights. Maresca had less cars to pass tonight, starting 12th on Friday rather than 18th on Thursday.
“A lot of what we did yesterday was still relevant today,” Maresca said. “Luckily we had a pretty similar racetrack to what we had yesterday, it just cleaned off a little more and got some different lanes. The track was definitely more dynamic tonight, it moved around more than Thursday.”
Thursday saw Rudolph charge late to grab the win, but Rudolph slipped late to finish third tonight. Regardless, Rudolph still led laps and show speed.
“I’m not sure what I could’ve done differently behind the wheel,” noted Rudolph. “I needed a little more from the car, I felt like I had no control over the car in the black from the exit of turn two to the entry of three. Some stuff just didn’t go our way when we needed it, like Friesen barely beating us to the line and the yellow coming out. Overall, still a positive night.”
The Short Track Super Series has one final race at Bubba Raceway Park on Saturday night. $8,000 awaits the winner of the 50-lap main, with all action available on Dirt Track Digest TV.
‘SUNSHINE SWING’ RESULTS SUMMARY – BUBBA RACEWAY PARK JAN. 29, 2021
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Modified Sunshine Swing Event No. 2 Feature Finish (40 laps): STEWART FRIESEN, Michael Maresca, Erick Rudolph, Max McLaughlin, Billy Decker, Matt Sheppard, David Schilling, Mike Gular, Anthony Perrego, Matt Stangle, Cale Ross, J.R. Heffner, Danny Bouc, Danny Creeden, H.J.Bunting, Mike Mahaney, Jordan Siri, Brett Haas, Billy Pauch Jr., Kyle Weiss, Tyler Dippel, Jeremy Smith, Rusty Smith, Brandon Hightower, Jimmy Horton, Danny Hieber, Joseph Watson, Tyler Siri.
Did Not Qualify: Danny Johnson, Tim Buckwalter, Marshall Hurd, James Hill, Peter Britten, Scott Ferrier, Andy Bachetti, J.R. Hurlburt, Eric Williams, Jacob Dgien, Chris Ostrowsky, Kenny Hammond, Ron Cartwright Jr., Rob Pitcher, Kyle Coffey, Nick Petrilak, Rob Pitcher, Scott Kurtzner, Bobby Hentschel.
American Racer/Lias Tire Bonuses (FREE Tire Certificates): Matt Sheppard (sixth) & H.J. Bunting (15th)
Behrent’s Performance Warehouse Bonuses ($50 Gift Cards): Max McLaughlin (fourth) & Anthony Perrego (ninth)
Beyea Custom Headers Redraw Bucks ($50): Danny Bouc (Redrew 10th)
Bill Brown & Company Heat-Race Hard Charger ($50): Kyle Weiss (10th to fourth)
DIG Race Products Bonus ($100 Certificate): Mike Gular (eighth)
Dirt Track Digest TV Heat Winners ($50 each): Billy Pauch Jr., Mike Gular, Brett Haas, Stewart Friesen & Erick Rudolph
ERK Steering Repair Bonus ($50 Certificate): Mike Mahaney (16th)
Henry’s Exhaust Power Position ($50 Certificate): Cale Ross (11th)
Manmiller Electric Hard Charger Award ($150): Matt Sheppard (27th to sixth)
Sunglass Central/Design for Vision Winner’s Bonus (Oakley Holbrook Sunglasses): Stewart Friesen
Sunoco Race Fuels/Insinger Performance Bonuses ($50 Certificates): Mike Maresca (second), J.R. Heffner (12th) & Jeremy Smith (22nd)
TKS Painting Front-Row Cash: Cale Ross (Pole – $50) & Brett Haas (Outside Pole – $25)
Wilwood Brakes ‘Lucky 7’ Bonus ($75 Certificate): David Schilling (seventh)
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Crate 602 Sportsman Sunshine Swing Event No. 2 Feature Finish (30 laps): TANNER VAN DOREN, Addison Bowman, Kyle Smith, Peyton Talbot, Brian Calabrese, Bobby Flood, Michael Schane, Stephen Kemery, Anthony Tramontana, Derek Webb, Brian Fish, Finch Fenton, Ryan Heim, Chas Wolbert, Dale Welty, Michael Ballestero, Scott Hitchens, Jim Passino, Josh Allen, Brendan Gibbons, Jeff Brown, Craig Whitmoyer, Marty Kelly III, Matt Sobiech, Lance Irwin, Kenny Bock
Did Not Start: Shawn McPhee, Michael DuBois.
Did Not Qualify: Aidan Elliott, Ray Bliss, Jr., Gene Boyter, Aaron Jacobs, Phil Beavers, Maverick Eldridge, Jim O’Hara, John Redner, Tommy Rascoe.
American Racer/Lias Tire Bonuses (FREE Tire Certificate): Michael Schane (seventh)
Beyea Custom Headers Redraw Bucks ($25): Bobby Flood (Redrew 12th)
Bruno’s Towing Winner’s Bonus ($500): Tanner Van Doren
Chesapeake Paving Winner’s Bonus ($250): Tanner Van Doren
Dirt Track Digest TV Heat Winners ($50 each): Bobby Flood, Michael Ballestero, Peyton Talbot & Addison Bowman
ERK Steering Repair Bonus ($50 Certificate): Michael Ballestero (16th)
Evergreen Fuels Inc. High Temperature Bonus ($65): Tanner Van Doren (winner)
Greg Hitchens Services Hard Luck Award ($125): Michael DuBois
Mancini Custom Homes Hard Charger Award ($150): Derek Webb (25th to 10th)