Nick Hoffman and Bobby Pierce (32) tangle headed to the checkered flag at Farmer City Raceway. (Emily Schwanke photo)

Hoffman Holds Off Pierce At Farmer City

FARMER CITY, Ill. — The checkered flag waited over an empty straightaway for the victor. Nick Hoffman’s NOS Energy Drink late model was the first car in its line of sight entering turn three, but not cleanly. He pushed up the track, allowing Bobby Pierce to sneak underneath. 

He tried to slide ahead off turn four, but Hoffman was not letting his day end like this. With all four wheels off the track, in the loose dirt, making his own lane to the outside, Hoffman edged the champion by .072 seconds to win the Illini 100 opener at Farmer City Raceway. 

The victory – his third with the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Models and second this year – came after nearly giving up on attending the event. Early Friday morning, Hoffman had two blown tires on his hauler while making the trip to Farmer City. 

Running on two hours of sleep, Hoffman overcame the issue and piloted his Tye Twarog Racing No. 9 to a career performance. He set quick time, won his heat and the 40-lap feature. 

“Last night, at 2 a.m., I blew two tires off my trailer, and I thought about going back home,” Hoffman said. “I’m running on two hours of sleep, but luckily, we’re sponsored by NOS Energy Drink, so it got us through the day. Swept the night and it’s pretty wild. I always joke and say you never win Hot Laps, but tonight, I did it all and that’s pretty damn cool.” 

Cade Dillard led the pack of 26 cars to the green flag, but Hoffman passed him for the race lead by the end of the second lap. 

The feature continued to stay under the green flag for 30 laps until two cautions struck with 10 laps to go, mounting the pressure on Hoffman to complete the night with a win. 

Sitting behind him on the restart was Bobby Pierce, who fought through the top-10 to place himself in a position to win the $10,000 prize. 

The final laps saw Hoffman do all he could to hold off “The Smooth Operator,” keeping a gap between the two drivers. However, Pierce stayed enough in tow of the No. 9 that when the opportunity to win arose, he could strike. 

That moment came on the white flag, as Hoffman made a bobble in turns three and four, opening the door for Pierce to make his move. The two drivers collided on the frontstretch, with Pierce about sideways by the finish line and Hoffman on the horse track of the raceway. 
Hoffman held enough of an advantage to score his first World of Outlaws win at Farmer City.  

“The race car was great all night and didn’t have to tune on it too much,” Hoffman said. “I won a lot of races here in my modified and turned tons of laps here in both a late model and modified. It was pretty good there, didn’t wanna make it that exciting for sure. I wasn’t gonna do it like what I did to (Chris) Madden at Volusia. 

“I knew (Pierce) was gonna try sliding me there, and I screwed up through (Turns) three and four there and hammered down to the finish line. I was impressed the scoring loop ran all the way down to the horse track because I was all the way off the track and still picked me up. Pretty wild. Not the way we wanted to win there, but I did what I had to do.” 

Nick Hoffman (Emily Schwanke photo)

Pierce finished second, originally thinking he had won the feature. Despite coming up short, he was happy with how the car performed through the abundance of lap traffic he had to navigate — giving the reigning series champion something to look forward to for Saturday night’s $20,000-to-win event. 

“The car was really good,” Pierce said. “It allowed us to come up from sixth and I rallied to third quick before I got pushed off and fell back a bit so I had to work to get them all back. At that point in time, we were really fast, but it was a challenge. (Farmer City) is always really challenging, always up on the wheel and it’s a Illinois bullring for sure. You gotta be up on the wheel the whole race, a big ole cushion in turns three and four. 

“Nick never made a mistake there and until the last corner, I didn’t expect a good chance to come. I wasn’t even close! When he bobbled and got up on the cushion and got stuck up on it, I saw it out of the corner of my eye, so I gassed it and got ahead of him, and I expected him to come down and get me on the front. I don’t know how he made it work. I thought I won because I couldn’t see him because he was so far off the track. I guess they made the right call with the transponders and congrats to him. He drove a heck of a race out of that very last corner.” 

Dillard completed Friday night’s podium finishers in third. 

“I felt like once we got in the lap traffic, that was probably the only chance we had at (Hoffman) there,” Dillard said. “I wasn’t gonna drive into him, but I did not want the last caution to fly there. We were a little bit free at the end and we’ll work on it and try to be a little better tomorrow.” 

Tyler Erb finished and Tim McCreadie completed the top five. 

The finish:

Nick Hoffman, Bobby Pierce, Cade Dillard, Tyler Erb, Tim McCreadie, Brandon Sheppard, Kyle Bronson, Dennis Erb Jr., Shannon Babb, Jason Feger, Ryan Unzicker, Chris Madden, Brian Shirley, Drake Troutman, Daniel Hilsabeck, Ryan Gustin, Dustin Sorensen, Max Blair, Brent Larson, Tyler Bruening, Tanner English, Frank Heckenast Jr., Todd Cooney, Cody Overton, Ethan Dotson, Steve Sheppard Jr.