The Chrome Horn News



   Last Friday the DeLange Racing team and driver Erick Rudolph of Ransomville traveled east to Oswego Speedway for the 58th Annual Race of Champions Weekend. This traditional fall classic is one of the landmark events for weekly short track racers in the Northeast.
   The first hurdle facing the DeLange team was the Motorsports Expo SST Modified 100 on Friday. Qualifying for the race was the first order of business to trim down the 56 SST cars that showed up down to the 33-car feature starting field. Erick accomplished that by winning the fifth qualifying heat. The crew then made adjustments to the racecar in preparation for the main event.
   Rudolph took the green flag in the feature from the tenth position and quickly began moving forward. He climbed to second behind race leader Pete Brittain on the 21st lap and then settled into place, planning his victory strategy. Unfortunately he never got the opportunity to implement his plan. On lap 67 under caution the #45 Original Pizza Logs/PrimeTyme Motorsports/Brigham Concrete SST slowed and Rudolph coasted into the pits, done for the night.
   "It was a disappointing way to end the race for us," explained Erick post-race. "I ran Brittain really hard at the beginning to see if I could keep up with him. But after awhile I just lagged back because I didn't think I had enough at the time. I figured I would wait maybe 20 laps and go back at him and see what happens. But we ended up with problems and had to drop out. We think the fuel pump failed but we'll check it out more thoroughly when we get back home. It's a good thing we have another race tomorrow. If it wasn't for that, I'd be thinking about this all weekend."
   Saturday brought the Modifieds to the Speedway. A competitive field of 41 cars was in the pit area. In time trials Rudolph posted the third fastest lap, moving him directly into the 200 and avoiding the risk of qualifying heat races. He drew the ninth starting position for the feature and then waited anxiously for the main event.
   The 58th Annual Sunoco Race of Champions 200 took the green and Erick settled into the top-ten. He rode patiently over the first segment of the race, climbing to fifth by the halfway mark. Shortly thereafter he made his pit stop and after some quick work by the crew rejoined the field. He climbed as high as second and was third with 50 laps remaining. A controversial pass of leader Mike Leaty by second place Tony Hirschman on a lap 188 restart brought contact between the two and ended the race for Leaty. Race of Champions officials put Hirschman back in the lead ahead of Rudolph. The multi-time Modified champion sailed under the checkered flag first with our teenage sensation a formidable runner-up in only his second Race of Champions start.
   "It was a good effort for us tonight," Rudolph noted. "I thought maybe we could even be a little faster but I could tell the car was too tight. I wasn't going all out. Because of that I couldn't tell just how tight we were. We loosened it up a little bit when we pitted, just not enough. That hurt us but a second place finish is still a good run. A lot happened up ahead of usat the end and I was hoping it might end up in our favor, but it didn't. Maybe it will the next time."
   The DeLange Racing team has a busy weekend coming up as Dunn Tire Raceway Park will be racing on three consecutive days to decide the track championships in all divisions. Rudolph is leading the SST points and is tied for the lead in Modified points. On Friday night Erick will drive both the Original Pizza Logs/PrimeTyme Motorsports/Brigham Concrete SST and Modified in features held over from a previous rainout. On Saturday the Modifieds will qualify and the SST's will run heat races and a 75-lap feature. On Sunday the highlight of the weekend is the 100-lap finale for the 2008 Race of Champions Modified Tour.


Source: Bruce Boucher / DeLange Racing PR
Posted:  September 23, 2008

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