Auto Racing: Eddie Hoffman wins Magnabosco Memorial at Grundy County Speedway
Earlier in the season Eddie Hoffman couldn’t catch a break.
Now he can’t be stopped.
The Wheaton native scored his third late-model victory of the season and second in a row Friday night at Grundy County Speedway.
It came in the longest race of the season so far, the 70-lap Second Annual Magnabosco Memorial.
Hoffman looked unbeatable behind the wheel, but he gave credit to the car that was prepared by Tony D’Ambrose.
“I don’t know if we can get it much better,” said Hoffman, who took the lead from Dave Gentile on lap 44 and continued to pace the field through several stoppages for spins, crashes and rain and eventually beat points leader Ricky Baker by 0.475 seconds.
The race was plagued by yellow flags, among them three for spinouts by Chuck Sottosanti, one for a broken shock that sent Rich Bickle into the Turn 3 wall and another when Jim Weber rode the wall from the end of the backstretch into Turns 3 and 4.
Boris Jurkovic and Gentile caused another yellow when they collided in Turn 4 while battling for second place on lap 44. Rain caused two more stoppages, the last on 56.
Josh Nelms, meanwhile, led from laps 1 through 25. He never led by much, all of them with Gentile on his bumper. Gentile finally made the pass in Turns 3 and 4.
Gentile’s reign at the top lasted 18 laps. On lap 40, he had Hoffman right behind him when he spun in Turns 1 and 2.
“I didn’t touch him but I was pretty close,” Hoffman said. “I thought I’d get the finger pointed at me (to go to the back). I was worried about it, but I knew I didn’t do it.”
The spin coincided with the appearance of rain. Track officials ruled that Gentile’s spin was caused by the precipitation and gave him his spot back for the restart.
Hoffman needed just three more laps, however, to ease by Gentile in Turn 4. He ran away from the field from there.
Baker had problems during qualifying and wasn’t able to make the outside work for a pass, but was more than pleased with a second-place finish.
“We had a miss (during qualifying) and I found a broken spark plug wire,” Baker said. “I think maybe it had a little water on it. When it dried out they at least let me get one lap. I think I was faster than Eddie at the beginning, but who knows? He probably wasn’t showing his car until the end.”
Nelms had the most remarkable finish, retiring to the pits during a lap 30 yellow for major chassis adjustments, then returning to roar from the back to claim third. Jurkovic, who had to go to the back as well after spinning with Gentile, recovered to claim fourth, ahead of D.J. Weltmeyer and Ray Brackett.
In the Mid-American Division, Ron Vandermeir Jr., who was awarded the win the previous week when apparent victor Kevin Gentile was disqualified, crossed the line first this time, passing race-long leader Chuck Yuris just two laps from the finish. Yuris quickly faded to fifth place, while Matt Clemens, Tom Knippenberg and Nelms claimed second through fourth.
Street stock points leader John Senerchia made quick work of the field in the 25-lap main, beating Tony Scalpelli Jr. by 0.881 seconds. Third went to Darrell Gay, ahead of Tim Stewart, Jeremy Clubb and Aaron Shelton.