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Auto Racing: Eddie Hoffman wins late-model feature at Illiana Speedway

Jeff Cann(33) Eddie Hoffman race side by side during Saturday night's late-model feature IllianSpeedway. | Goodaker Photography/For Sun-Times Media

Jeff Cannon (33) and Eddie Hoffman race side by side during Saturday night's late-model feature at Illiana Speedway. | Goodaker Photography/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: July 2, 2014 2:51PM



Eddie Hoffman had to admit it.

The first time Jeff Cannon dipped his No. 33 underneath Hoffman’s car during Saturday night’s 30-lap late-model feature at Illiana Speedway, Hoffman didn’t know what to think.

“He had the inside and I was on the outside, so it was either going to be glory or doom at that point,” Hoffman said.

That was on lap 7. For the next 23 it was anybody’s guess what was going to happen, as the two veterans raced side by side.

In the end it was Hoffman prevailing by a slim 0.145-second margin, becoming the first two-time late-model winner of the season.

It was a reversal of typical roles for Hoffman and Cannon, the latter of whom greatly prefers running the high side in close battles.

Cannon was competitive on the bottom and crossed the line a nose in front on a couple of occasions, but was never able to get far enough ahead of Hoffman to drive up in front of him.

“I just didn’t have the drive up off the corner that I needed to clear him,” Cannon said. “He wouldn’t give up the outside at all.

“That’s pretty disappointing to run quite a bit faster and not be able to get the job done. But that’s what you get with Eddie. He’s good.”

Hoffman took the lead on lap four, going way up top to pass both fast heat winner Michael Martin Jr. and Bobby Gash. Cannon came along a short time later, setting in motion the racelong battle.

“It just worked out,” Hoffman said. “He was a tick faster inside, but my car wheeled out there (on the top) good enough to stay ahead of him. It was the only shot I had.”

Behind the top two, Bobby Gash held off Chris King for third. Martin and D.J. Weltmeyer completed the top six.

Ryan Moore ended some frustration by passing Michael Gerike on lap 8 and going on to win his first turbo stox feature. Moore beat Chris Woodall to the finish line by 1.844 seconds.

“(Woodall) had a rear end issue. I knew we had to take advantage of what we could,” Moore said. “I’m just glad we made it through. We had a little bit of damage, but it was a lot better than Monday (a late-race crash).”

Rita Fields paced the rest of the turbo stox pack to claim third ahead of Gerike, Bobby Gash III and Eddie Ligue.

Paul Shafer Sr. used a lap 13 restart to vault past Stan Zolodz IV and record his second Legends feature win of the season. Fast qualifier Matt Govert also was able to work his way past Zolodz to claim second, while fourth went to Ben Fidone.

Matt Baikie made a late move to pass Kyle Royster just two laps from the finish in the pure stocks main. Baikie became the fifth different winner in the division in five races. Royster held on for second ahead of Craig Urban and Hunter Rohweder.



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