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Auto Racing at Illiana: Fifth Musgrave Memorial win for Hoffman

Eddie Hoffman (8) passes Bobby Gash for lead Saturday night's Elmer Musgrave Memorial race IllianSpeedway. | Goodaker Photography/For Sun-Times Media

Eddie Hoffman (8) passes Bobby Gash for the lead in Saturday night's Elmer Musgrave Memorial race at Illiana Speedway. | Goodaker Photography/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: July 17, 2014 11:25AM



SCHERERVILLE, Ind. — It was a three-man race most of the night.

But it was “Fast Eddie” Hoffman who looked in control the whole time.

Jeff Cannon and Anthony Danta gave Hoffman all they could at the 13th annual Elmer Musgrave Memorial race on Saturday night at Illiana Speedway but neither driver could pass Hoffman once he took over the lead 19 laps into the race.

Hoffman led the last 37 laps in winning his fifth Musgrave Memorial trophy and second in three years.

Hoffman, who started in lane five, moved to second by the 12th lap and took the lead seven laps later from Bobby Gash.

“It took a while to get past Bobby,” Hoffman said of Gash, who led the first 18 laps. “Jeff gave me a good run but he seemed to fall off at the very end.

“The car ran pretty good. We had to make some adjustments at the beginning. It had a loose end and was tight in the middle.”

Cannon, who was seeking his first Musgrave title, pulled into second place 20 laps in and stayed there for the next 33 laps.

Cannon hoped to challenge Hoffman in the end, but concerns grew with 10 laps to go when he said the car “felt weird.”

“I was just trying to keep pace but with 10 laps left I started losing ground,” the four-time super late model track champion said. “It hurts a little bit. It seems like at the bigger races (at Illiana) there’s always something that seems to go wrong.”

After the race, it was revealed that Cannon had three studs off his left rear tire.

Danta, meanwhile, made up major ground the last half of the race. The Orland Park resident started in the back with Hoffman and Cannon and took 25 laps before he finally was in the third position. Danta passed Cannon, who finished fifth, with four laps to go and got close to Hoffman but ran out of time in finishing second for the second straight year.

Danta said a caution would have helped Saturday night. The race, however, was free of wrecks.

“I wish there was a yellow,” he said. “Sometimes you need a caution because it would have bunched us up and given us a better chance at winning. I was happy with the way the car ran. It felt fast.”

Turbo Stox division leader Chris Woodall increased his points lead with a first-place finish in his race.

Ryan Gillian won the Pure Stock race in the night’s finale.



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