You might say it’s one of the best kept secrets in the area. The sport of dirt track racing doesn’t always get a lot of attention but it has some of the most dedicated fans and athletes around. For one area driver it’s more than just a hobby.
At age 14, Susie Rudolph of Steubenville is already an accomplished driver. Over the past eight years she has raced at tracks all over the Tri-State area. Susie says she knew at a very early age that racing would be a big part of her life.
“When I was five I saw my Dad racing and that’s when I said I want to do that. That looks fun and I want to do that. So he bought me my first car and I started then,” said Rudolph.
She says that her first time behind the wheel is an experience she will never forget.
“I was like wow these things are fast! They are cool! They are faster than I thought. It was a big shock,” said Rudolph.
Even though it was a little scary at first, Rudolph gathered the confidence to keep going.
“It was scary at first, but then I said ‘I got this,'” said Rudolph.
Susie just finished a very successful season at the 250 Speedway, just outside of Cadiz. She won her division with an impressive five first place finishes. She also took second place four times along with two third place finishes, but like with any sport it wasn’t easy.
“I was just sitting there when this kid comes up and hit me and I was like ‘oh wow, that’s nice.’ I busted my leg off the steering wheel. I hurt my back and I started crying and my leg hurt. I was like ‘can I get my Dad?’ He said ‘are you ok?” I said my leg hurt. He said ‘can you keep going?’ It’s like four more laps and I was like ‘yeah, I can do it’ and I ended up there,” said Rudolph.
The hard work doesn’t stop on the track. She spends hours working on her car to get it ready for the next race.
“A lot of people think you just jump in and drive. You have to get the motor, you have to get the bearings, you have to get the best of everything,” said Rudolph.
Rudolph is grateful to all twenty-seven of her sponsors including the Wheeling Nailers.