Super DIRTcar Series standout, Erick Rudolph, took advantage of the off-season by winning the Indoor East Coast Dirt Nationals in Trenton, NJ.
The Ransomville, NY driver is no stranger to the indoor scene.
“I remember asking my dad to get me a go-kart after going to the Niagara Falls Convention Center and watched the TQ midgets run indoor,” Rudolph said. “I nagged and nagged until I got a car.”
Rudolph has been running TQ midgets since he was just 13 years old.
“I’ve been doing this for a longtime,” he said. “The last handful of years I’ve been doing the indoor gig. The team I have, we work well together. It’s a fun thing to do during the winter.”
Rudolph is proof that racing year-round keeps him at the top of his game.
“Most times I don’t have too much going on in the winter so it’s a good way for me to keep sharp,” he noted. “Some of the different skills you may pick up in the indoor racing can be applied to the outside stuff. If you can pick up a few things to take with you, it’s worth doing.”
Rudolph, the only Super DIRTcar Series regular at the East Coast Dirt Nationals, showed that he was the car to beat all weekend.
“It was awesome,” he said. “Things couldn’t have gone any better than they did.”
Rudolph, who clinched two Super DIRTcar Series victories in 2018, believes it’s all about confidence.
“Confidence and momentum and feeling like you know what you’re doing plays a big factor,” he noted. “It’s a confidence game when it comes to racing.”
Rudolph’s first year back on the Super DIRTcar Series went unexpectedly well for the young driver.
“I never would have thought going into Charlotte Id have a chance to win the championship,” added Rudolph. “I did expect to win a race or two which is what we did, but I didn’t expect to be as consistent as we were at all the different tracks I’ve only been to a few times. It was a pleasant surprise.”
Heading into the final weekend, Rudolph had a chance at knocking the reigning champ off of his throne, unfortunately, luck was not on his side.
“We blew up in one of the heat races,” he said. “We had to go to a backup car. We really just didn’t have any good showings. We weren’t where we needed to be when we hit the track. I had a great chance but was behind a little bit.”
Racing may be a confidence game, but you’ll never hear Rudolph never boast himself.
“I don’t really get too high or too low,” said Rudolph about coming up one spot short in the final point standings. “I was okay with it. You have to keep it all in perspective, I finished second place against all of those good drivers. To get second, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. I’d like to have won, but it wasn’t my goal in the first place.”
Looking ahead, Rudolph plans to run the same schedule in 2019.
“I expect to keep doing what we’re doing,” he said. “I don’t try to set expectations of winning championships because I know racing is a lot of luck. Sometimes it’s on your side, sometimes it isn’t. No matter how good you run, if you have a couple bad nights it can turn your whole season around.
"I hope to win a few more races, if not, a couple more. That’s the goal going into every race, run the best you can. I don’t see our program taking a step back. It should stay the same it was if not better for 2019.”