Erick Rudolph & Stephen Kemery Open Bubba Raceway Park ‘Sunshine Swing’ in Victory Lane
Written by Chris Moore
OCALA, FL – After a rainout on Wednesday night, the Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled by Sunoco made a phenomenal debut at Bubba Raceway Park Thursday.
The first race of the ‘Sunshine Swing’ presented by Taylor & Messick saw a back-and-forth, tooth-and-nail battle for the lead.
When the checkered flag flew on the 35-lap main event slowed only once by a first-lap tangle, Ransomville, N.Y.’s Erick Rudolph was the man in Victory Lane. The win was “Run Run Rudolph’s” third career STSS victory, and his first since the final night of the first edition of the Sunshine Swing at All-Tech Raceway.
The win netted Rudolph a $5,000-plus payday to kick off the week in the Sunshine State.
Thursday’s feature marked the 100th Modified event in Short Track Super Series history since the series’ inception on April 6, 2014.
Rudolph led the field to green, alongside York, N.Y.’s Kyle Coffey, but it was Savannah, N.Y.’s Matt Sheppard, and Sprakers, N.Y.’s Stewart Friesen quickly charging to second and third, and stalking Rudolph up front.
Friesen snuck by Sheppard, setting the stage for an all-out war between Rudolph and Friesen. While the two traded the lead back-and-forth, slicing through lapped traffic, Potsdam, N.Y. native Mike Maresca had marched from 18th to fifth. Maresca climbed as high as fourth, but couldn’t catch the trio up front.
Rudolph led laps 1-3, with Friesen in front on laps 4-5. Rudolph regained the lead on laps 6-17, with Friesen back in front at the Danny’s Pizza Pizzazz Halfway Bonus circuit of 18. Friesen maintained the top spot through lap 25 when Rudolph took over for the final time.
As the race marched toward the finish, Rudolph began to put slower traffic between himself and Friesen, while Sheppard was coming back to life, reeling in Friesen for second.
When the checkered flew, Sheppard had gotten back to second, and was reeling in Rudolph, but ran out of time. Friesen held onto third in his Chris Larsen-owned No. 44, while Max McLaughlin of Mooresville, N.C., drove his Sweeteners Plus car to fourth, and Maresca rounded out the top-five in his Gary Simpson-owned No. 12k.
Wallkill, N.Y.’s Tyler Dippel charged late for sixth driving the Bill Pascual No. 3. Frenchtown, N.J.’s Billy Pauch Jr. finished in seventh behind the wheel of Rick Holsten’s No. 96. Anthony Perrego of Middletown, N.Y. came home with a quiet eighth-place finish in the Brian Smith-owned No. 44. Jimmy Horton of Neshanic Station, N.J., fought hard for a ninth-place finish and Pipersville, Pa.’s Danny Bouc rounded out the top-10.
Sicklerville, N.J.’s Steve Kemery grabbed his first career STSS 602 Sportsman victory to open the ‘Sunshine Swing.’ Despite a setback on a mid-race restart, Kemery rebounded to grab the $1,700 payday in the 25-lap event.
Craig Whitmoyer of Hamburg, Pa., came home second for his career-best STSS finish with Michael Schane of Lake Ariel, Pa., rounding out the podium finishers. Dagsboro, Del.’s Scott Hitchens rode the high side to a fourth-place finish with Montgomery, N.Y’s Bobby Flood rounding out the top five.
Racing resumes on Friday (Jan. 29) at Bubba Raceway Park with the STSS Modifieds racing 40 laps for $6,000 to win and Crate 602 Sportsman battling 30 laps with $2,250 on the line at the Ocala facility.
Pit bands can be purchased starting at 2 p.m. The pits will be cleared by 4 p.m. Grandstand gates open at 5 p.m. The drivers’ meeting will take place at 5 p.m. Track run-in begins at 5:30 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled for 6 p.m. and racing gets underway at 7 p.m.
Grandstand admission is $25. Kids 12 and under are FREE. Florida residents must present ID for free admission.
Pit admission is $40. Kids (ages 6-12) pay $15. Children 5 and under pay $5.
Racing continues at Bubba Raceway Park through Saturday, Jan. 30.
Complete pricing and times for the week can be found at the following link: shorttracksuperseries.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/SunshineSwing2021TimesandPricing.pdf
Bubba Raceway Park is a three-eighths-mile facility with a history of racing dating back to 1952 as both a pavement and dirt track. The speedway was converted back to a clay surface in 2008 and an overhaul was completed to include MUSCO lighting, a new sound system, modern restrooms, and a reworked pit area.
The speedway was resurfaced with 75 loads of clay in preparation for the upcoming Speedweek events.
Bubba Raceway Park is located at 9050 N.W. Gainesville Road Ocala, FL 34482. Contact the track by phone at 352.622.9400 or visit the official website at www.bubbaracewaypark.com. “Like” Bubba Raceway Park on Facebook.
To learn more about the 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, Hurlock Auto & Speed, Velocita-USA, Design for Vision/Sunglass Central, Behrent’s Performance Warehouse, Beyea Custom Headers, Bicknell Racing Products, Dirt Track Digest, EIBACH Springs, Fast Axle, Fox Racing Shocks, Henry’s Exhaust, Hig Fab, HyperCo, Kirkey Racing Fabrication, K&N, Precision Hydraulic & Oil, Belmont’s Garage, QA1, Racing Optics, Superior Remodeling, Teo-Pro Car, VAHLCO, Velocita, WELD Racing & Wilwood.
‘SUNSHINE SWING’ RESULTS SUMMARY – BUBBA RACEWAY PARK JAN. 28, 2021
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Modified Sunshine Swing Event No. 1 Feature Finish (35 laps): ERICK RUDOLPH, Matt Sheppard, Stewart Friesen, Max McLaughlin, Michael Maresca, Tyler Dippel, Billy Pauch Jr., Anthony Perrego, Jimmy Horton, Danny Bouc, Mike Mahaney, Billy Decker, Kyle Coffey, Joseph Watson, Mike Gular, Brett Haas, David Schilling, Danny Hieber, Danny Creeden, Danny Johnson, J.R. Heffner, Marshall Hurd, Matt Stangle, H.J.Bunting, Rusty Smith, Peter Britten, Rob Pitcher, Tyler Siri.
Did Not Qualify: Andy Bachetti, J.R. Hurlburt, Jordan Siri, Tim Buckwalter, Jacob Dgien, Cale Ross, James Hill, Kenny Hammond, Kyle Weiss, Eric Williams, Scott Kurtzner, Nick Petrilak, Scott Ferrier, Ron Cartwright Jr., Brandon Hightower, Jeremy Smith, Bob Hentschel, Chris Ostrowsky
American Racer/Lias Tire Bonuses (FREE Tire Certificates): Danny Bouc (10th) & Kyle Coffey (13th)
Behrent’s Performance Warehouse Bonuses ($50 Gift Cards): Max McLaughlin (fourth) & Jimmy Horton (ninth)
Beyea Custom Headers Redraw Bucks ($50): Rob Pitcher (Redrew 11th)
Bill Brown & Company Heat-Race Hard Charger ($50): Joseph Watson (9th to 2nd)
Competition Carburetion Fast Lap Award ($50): Matt Sheppard(15.803 seconds)
Danny’s Pizza Pizzazz Halfway Leader ($100): Stewart Friesen
Dave Prime Jr. MAC Tools Hard Charger ($500 Certificate): Michael Maresca (18th to fifth)
Downstate Dirt & Deals Hard Charger ($100): Michael Maresca (18th to fifth)
DIG Race Products Bonus ($100 Certificate): Anthony Perrego(eighth)
ERK Steering Repair Bonus ($50 Certificate): Brett Haas(16th)
Henry’s Exhaust Power Position ($50 Certificate): Mike Mahaney (11th)
Sunglass Central/Design for Vision Winner’s Bonus (Oakley Holbrook Sunglasses): Erick Rudolph
Sunoco Race Fuels/Insinger Performance Bonuses ($50 Certificates): Matt Sheppard (second), Billy Decker (12th) & Marshall Hurd (22nd)
Tom Perrego Memorial Heat-Race Winners ($50 Each): Peter Britten, Danny Bouc, Max McLaughlin, Erick Rudolph, Rob Pitcher
TKS Painting Front-Row Cash: Erick Rudolph (Pole – $50) & Kyle Coffey (Outside Pole – $25)
Wilwood Brakes ‘Lucky 7’ Bonus ($75 Certificate): Billy Pauch Jr. (seventh)
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Crate 602 Sportsman Sunshine Swing Event No. 1 Feature Finish (25 laps): STEPHEN KEMERY, Craig Whitmoyer, Michael Schane, Scott Hitchens, Bobby Flood, Brian Calabrese, Finch Fenton, Ryan Heim, Tanner Van Doren, Brian Fish, Peyton Talbot, Jeff Brown, Kyle Smith, Michael Ballestero, Anthony Tramontana, Michael DuBois, Lance Irwin, Addison Bowman, Dale Welty, Shawn McPhee, Josh Allen, Chas Wolbert, Matt Sobiech, Brendan Gibbons, Derek Webb, Jim Passino, Kenny Bock.
Did Not Qualify: Marty Kelly III, Aidan Elliott, Ray Bliss, Jr., Jim O’Hara, Aaron Jacobs, Gene Boyter, Tommy Rascoe, Phil Beavers, John Redner, Maverick Eldridge
American Racer/Lias Tire Bonuses (FREE Tire Certificate): Brian Fish (10th)
Beyea Custom Headers Redraw Bucks ($25): Brian Calabrese (Redrew 13th)
Chesapeake Paving Winner’s Bonus ($250): Stephen Kemery
Competition Carburetion Fast Lap Award ($50): Stephen Kemery (16.788 seconds)
DIG Race Products Bonus ($100 Certificate): Ryan Heim (eighth)
ERK Steering Repair Bonus ($50 Certificate): Michael DuBois (16th)
Evergreen Fuels Inc. High Temperature Bonus ($60): Stephen Kemery (winner)
Fastline Performance Heat Winners ($50 Each): Stephen Kemery, Brian Calabrese, Bobby Flood & Michael Schane
Greg Hitchens Services Hard Luck Award ($125): Kenny Bock (27th)
“Man with the Red Chair” Winner’s Bonus ($200): Stephen Kemery
Medicare Senior Services Hard Charger ($150): Ryan Heim (24th to eighth)