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Auto Racing: Tire error leads to Eddie Hoffman’s DQ at Grundy County Speedway

The 'Little Flyer' D.J. Weltmeyer (16) holds his ground against Chris King (25) Saturday racing actiIllianSpeedway. | Goodaker Photography/For Sun-Times

The "Little Flyer," D.J. Weltmeyer (16), holds his ground against Chris King (25) in Saturday racing action at Illiana Speedway. | Goodaker Photography/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: July 7, 2014 6:36AM



Tales from the pits ...

Typically, drivers are disqualified after races for doing something illegal in order to improve their chances to win.

Veteran late-model driver Eddie Hoffman was DQ’d after Friday’s feature at Grundy County Speedway for doing something quite the opposite.

According to the rules, drivers must compete in the feature race on the same tires on which they qualified. The tires are marked with a color marker by a track official.

Drivers are allowed, however, to use older tires for the heat if they desire in order to save some tread. So it was with Hoffman, who after setting fast qualifying time slapped two older tires on the right side for the heat.

After the heat Hoffman went to put his qualifying tires, but one of the two he rolled out of the trailer was the wrong one. It was a mistake he’d start to feel the effects of during the feature.

“I should have thought of it during the race because I didn’t have any traction in the back,” Hoffman said. “We definitely were slower. I had on a 90-lap tire.”

Hoffman was not his usual dominant self in the feature. He worked his way up to second, but couldn’t find a way past leader Brandon Clubb. Ricky Baker took second away from Hoffman with six laps left, before he followed Baker past Clubb to claim the runner-up spot.

It was in the tech line where Hoffman’s old, but illegal tire was discovered.

“They’re marked pretty plain and it wasn’t a green one,” Hoffman said. “I had on the wrong tire. It was unintentional, and it didn’t give me a competitive advantage, but it was against the rules.

“That’s probably the first time in a long time there was a real reason to disqualify me,” Hoffman added, shaking his head and laughing a bit. “The last one (at Grundy) was a farce when they couldn’t get the (motor) gauge right. This one, we made a mistake.”

‘Little Flyer’ is back

D.J. Weltmeyer made his 2014 Illiana Speedway debut Saturday, posting a sixth-place finish in the late-model feature in a car owned by Bob Johnson, John Brolick and Gregg Craven.

The son of multitime champion Dave Weltmeyer has been working with Team Stange Racing’s ARCA program. He’s building his own late-model.

“Hopefully, we’ll have that one roll out here in a couple of weeks,” Weltmeyer said. “We want to get some exposure at some different tracks, but we’ll be around as much as possible.”

Points well taken

It’s early, but the points battles are starting to take shape at Grundy and Illiana.

At Grundy, defending champ Baker has been dominant in the late-models, winning three of five features. He’s got a 370-353 advantage over Scott Kerner, with Hoffman and Larry Schuler not far behind.

Equally dominant in the Mid-Am class has been defending titlist Tommy Knippenberg, who’s won three of five features and leads Kevin Murphy by a 411-379 margin. Eddie Ligue (417 points) has won two features and is on top of the street stock standings over Jake Bradley (377) and Christy Penrod (373). Mikey Slabenak (354 points) and Austin Blackwell (353) are neck and neck in the pure stocks.

At Illiana, Hoffman is a two-time late-model winner and is up 504-502 on Jeff Cannon. Stan Zolodz IV holds a 506-504 edge over Paul Shafer Sr., while Chris Woodall is a two-time winner in the turbo stox and has a 522-509 lead over Ryan Moore.

Drag racing is back

Route 66 Raceway is kicking off its drag racing season with the NHRA Lucas Oil Series “Burndown at Sundown” event. For details on the three-day event, visit www.route66raceway.com or call (888) 629-7223.



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