Nicely leads opening laps, nearly passes Hoffman in home stretch
Thirteen starts. Thirteen wins. But this one was Nick Hoffman’s closest win yet.
After redrawing third-best before the debut Feature for the DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals at Circle City Raceway Wednesday night, Hoffman had his consecutive laps-led streak broken at 290 when polesitter Tyler Nicely led the opening four circuits to a three-car battle for the lead around the brand-new quarter-mile oval.
“I was really worried about that redraw,” Hoffman said in Victory Lane. “Obviously, I had to pass somebody tonight, so Facebook should be pumped up about that.”
Outside polesitter Dylan Woodling had a stellar run going on the outside and swiped the lead away on Lap 5. But soon after reaching the backstretch, his #3w appeared to lose power instantly as he slowed into Turns 3-4, giving up the lead to Hoffman still with 20 laps left.
Hoffman took off on the restart and opened up a solid gap over Nicely as he approached lapped traffic. He maintained this advantage until the closing laps, where the traffic got two and three-deep in front of him. Hoffman struggled to cleanly maneuver through them at first, and Nicely was able to close the gap completely with under five laps remaining.
“[Crew member Shawn] showed me I had a pretty decent size lead, and then it went to nothing. I could see [Nicely] down there, and I just had to use that one lapped car up off of Turn 4… I gotta go, y’know? They’re having their own race, you can’t blame them for that. It’s just, at some point, you gotta go, and I got a little aggressive with him and tore it up a bit,” Hoffman said.
Hoffman did make contact with one of the slower cars to get by, but he was able to maintain the lead. A final restart with one lap left restacked the field and gave Nicely one final chance at the three-time champ, but Hoffman pulled away at the drop of the green to his 51st career Summit Modified win – one that also tied his own record for most in a single season.
Nicely finished second while Dillon Nusbaum crossed in third. Tommy Sheppard Jr. earned the Hard Charger honors, coming from 20th to finish fourth after breaking a transmission before his Heat Race.
Feature (25 Laps) 1. 2-Nick Hoffman; 2. 23C-Tyler Nicely; 3. 17N-Dillon Nusbaum; 4. T6-Tommy Sheppard Jr; 5. 9H-John Demoss; 6. 5CS-Curt Spalding; 7. 2ND-Jake Leitzman; 8. 16C-John Clippinger; 9. 94-Matthew Cooley; 10. 15J-Jimmy Hayden; 11. JD3-Jack Dossey; 12. 1H-Ben Harmon; 13. 22W-Cody Wright; 14. 8C-Corey Bevard; 15. 38-Jeff Herbert; 16. 66W-Jack Waldfogel; 17. 44-Andy Sherley; 18. 3W-Dylan Woodling; 19. 25-Josh Lolmaugh; 20. (DNS) 77T-John Turner
For more information, visit DIRTcarSummerNationals.com