FAIRBURY, Ill. — Nick Hoffman has had one incredible weekend at FALS.
Just days after getting the phone call to drive Dirt Late Model Hall-of-Famer Scott Bloomquist’s Drydene Team Zero Race Cars No. 0 in the 31st Prairie Dirt Classic, the three-time DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals champion went out and dominated the modified competition Saturday night at Fairbury Speedway for his 19th tour victory of the season and second Modified PDC title of his career.
“It’s just really cool to win here,” Hoffman said. “It really shows – this deal is 63 of the best guys in the country, as far as UMP Modifieds go, and to come out on top just shows how good our racecar is and how good of a season we’ve been having.”
Just as he did back in June, Hoffman sailed his Elite Chassis No. 2 around the quarter-mile high banks with ease, leading all 40 laps en route to the $5,000 payday and his 57th career Summit Modified triumph.
Hoffman set quick time in qualifying on Friday night and won his Showdown feature from the pole, setting him up for an outside-pole redraw result for Saturday’s feature. He wasted zero time in getting out front at the drop of the green, muscling the lead away from polesitter Frank Marshall on lap one.
Hoffman was never seriously challenged for the lead until the closing stages, when a 17th-starting Allen Weisser made his presence known by zooming through the top-five on the very bottom of the racetrack.
With the laps winding down and Hoffman several car lengths ahead, Weisser’s comeback was running out of time to mount a charge for the lead. But then, a real shakeup. A caution flew for a slow car on the frontstretch.
Weisser lined up right behind Hoffman for the restart and gave it one last-ditch effort. Hoffman got the jump, but Weisser stayed within striking distance as he motored even harder around the bottom.
Hoffman knew Weisser was behind him, waiting to strike at the slightest mistake. So, he moved down a groove to protect the inside line and secure the victory.
“I think I might’ve had something for him, but he just got such a good restart on that last run that he pulled me a little bit and it took me a lap or two to get going again,” Weisser said. “If we could’ve got a better restart, I think we would’ve had something for him.”
“Allen was really good around the bottom, which he always is here, if there’s just a little bit of grip down there. So, I moved down a little bit and ran the bottom in turns one and two and the [top-middle] in three and four,” Hoffman said.
Further on back, Tyler Nicely was in the thick of a battle for the final podium spot between he, Mike McKinney, Bobby Stremme and Kyle Steffens.
Nicely had worked his way up to second, at one point, from seventh and looked to be competitive for the runner-up spot. However, he got hung out on the outside, a place he’s not often found racing, and drifted back a few positions.
“We tried a few things this weekend, and I don’t think I was a big fan of it,” Nicely said. “We’re all out here trying a bunch of stuff, trying to catch Nick.”
Nicely was able to get the third spot back before the checkers with a steady line on the middle-top groove, beating out Stremme and Steffens, who each rolled the bottom.
Feature (40 Laps) 1. 2-Nick Hoffman; 2. 25W-Allen Weisser; 3. 25-Tyler Nicely; 4. 53S-Bobby Stremme; 5. 8-Kyle Steffens; 6. 96M-Mike McKinney; 7. 99-Hunt Gossum; 8. 7A-Justin Allgaier; 9. 8K-Levi Kissinger; 10. 3L-Jeff Leka; 11. 28M-Frank Marshall; 12. 1S-Brian Shaw; 13. 757-Bradley Jameson; 14. 5CS-Curt Spalding; 15. T6-Tommy Sheppard Jr; 16. 59R-Jacob Rexing; 17. 77-Ray Bollinger; 18. 4-Victor Lee; 19. 24H-Mike Harrison; 20. 242-Brandon Bollinger; 21. 1W-Bob Pohlman; 22. 37-Michael Ledford; 23. 22C-Nick Clubb; 24. 9H-John Demoss