Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Rookie Bendeguz Molnar Wins in Debut Race Over Champ Ricky Rude at Mobile in Bandit Big Rigs

2018 European Swift Cup Champion Bendeguz Molnar won the Bandit Big Rig Series season opener at Mobile Speedway on March 23rd in his debut race in the United States. (Daniel Vining/PixelatedSPEED)

By: Daniel Vining, Twitter: @danielvining

IRVINGTON, Alabama (March 26, 2019) -- Hailing from Budapest, Hungary, Bendeguz Molnar shocked the Bandit Big Rig Series with a convincing victory in his debut performance. To get there, Molnar had to fend off reigning series champion Ricky Rude. Oh, by the way, this was Molnar’s first race in a truck, first race on an oval, and first race in the United States.

“It was exciting,” said Molnar in victory lane. “I tried to do my best and fortunately we had a great truck… thank you to the team and to  Michael (Caesars) for the great setup.”

“It’s my dream. I was really hungry to win the race, and wanted to get to the end very fast.”

“For me it’s a bit different than in Europe because I race road courses there. It’s very different. Three days ago was my first time to try a race truck, before that it was only smaller cars.”

A start in racing simulators led Molnar to an opportunity to participate in a racing talent show against other semi-pro drivers in Hungary. After winning that show, Molnar was awarded the chance to race in the FIA European Swift Cup, winning the 2018 title before coming to the United States.

Although already a championship driver, Molnar relished in the support he received from the sellout crowd at Mobile International Speedway. He participated in the driver meet and greet, the first time he’d experienced such an event.

“In Hungry for a national championship there aren’t many spectators like here so its way different. All the people are all so fun and very nice. Plus its all road courses and this is an oval. I need to learn a lot but I’m trying to do my best.”

Now, Molnar will focus on continuing his success during his rookie season in the Bandit Big Rig Series.

“I’m just trying to go for the win… it’s very different and good fun.”

“Fortunately we have worked great with Michael and the truck was very good for this moment.”

“I think we are gonna try to get some other wins here too.”

Two-time and defending Bandit Big Rig Series champion Ricky Rude put up a strong effort in his attempt at getting around the rookie Molnar, but opted to maintain a cautious approach as a counter to Molnar’s aggressive tactics.

“I had three or four chances to make the pass,” said Rude. “He was too aggressive so I just saved the truck. I’d rather finish second on my wheels tonight than back in the back torn all to pieces. Maybe he’ll learn, I just talked to him and we’ll see what he does in the future.”

“They don't’ know circle track racing, he’s a road course guy, but  e have a rule that if the truck is to your door then you’ve got to hold your line. That’s what I’ve always done, especially at the green flag. Green flags, you have to take everything you can get because you may not have another opportunity. Me, with experience, I just backed up and let him come up because there is no recourse for me other than wrecking my truck.”

Rude choosing to not push the issue against the rookie led to a solid second place finish, and early lead in the points standings after also claiming the win the Bandit Shootout, and Challenge race earlier in the day.

“I have a very good record of not doing well at the first of the year,” joked Rude. “To come down here and do as well as I did in the heat races, the Challenge race, the Shootout and to finish second… I’m good.”

As we concluded the interview, I mentioned that he now as the points lead, to which he simply responded, “Thank you, I hope I can hold on to it.”

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