Auto Racing: Eddie Hoffman makes it back to the front for late-model win at Grundy County Speedway
By Tony Baranek firstname.lastname@example.org August 1, 2014 11:26PM
Renee Farren (44) outduels Bill Serviss during a street stock heat race Friday night at Grundy County Speedway. | Brian Nolte/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 2, 2014 4:22PM
Eddie Hoffman’s previous late-model feature victory at Grundy County Speedway was June 27.
After capturing his fourth main event win overall Friday night, Hoffman chuckled in the tech line at the suggestion that it’s been a while.
“That’s only five weeks,” he said. “I guess that’s a dry spell. I think just about anybody else would love to have that kind of dry spell.”
Hoffman did it with precision, following closely behind leader John Nutley from laps 16 through 25 before pouncing on an opportunity when a gap opened on the bottom in Turns 3 and 4.
By the time they were in Turn 1, the pass was complete. Nutley tried to battle back, but Hoffman eventually wound up beating Brett Sontag to the finish line by 0.656 seconds.
“It was just all about working, working,” said Hoffman, who had fast qualifying time and started 10th in the 18-car field. “I had to get a fender up in there (on Nutley). You can’t really run into a guy from behind.
“We weren’t much faster. It took that one corner (3 and 4), where we finally got a nose up inside of John. It still wasn’t easy keeping it pinched down to get by him. He was pretty fast and he’s been in some hard luck, so I definitely wanted to be careful.”
Nutley, who after contact with Brett Sontag spun out in Turn 4 while leading a week earlier, yielded second place to Sontag on the final lap this time. Ricky Baker was fourth, followed by Billy Knippenberg (who led laps 3 through 14) and Brandon Clubb.
The 33-lap Ed Mahoney Candy Man Special memorial race went to Jake Bradley. Bradley, fast earlier in the night in winning a heat race, tracked down and passed Jacob McKown on lap 13, only to have a yellow flag negate the move. On the restart, Bradley followed McKown for one lap before passing him again, this time for good.
“I was pretty fast, I was consistent,” Bradley said. “I knew I was faster than him because I was on his bumper the whole time. He was nice and let me by. That’s what good racing is all about.
“I’ve got the car fine-turned and it seems to be handling really good. It felt good. I’ve never won a big race like this before.”
Bradley beat Eddie Ligue to the line by 2.082 seconds. Chris Woodall was third, followed by McKown, John Senerchia, Rita Fields and Christy Penrod.
A wild and yellow flag-filled Mid-American feature saw Kenny Benson pass Chuck Yuris on the final lap. Yuris led from laps 17 through 24 before Benson emerged from a three-wide battle that also included Joe Vinachi.
Benson beat Vinachi by 0.313 seconds. Kevin Murphy scrambled to third, while Tom Knippenberg, Yuris and Kevin Gentile completed the top six.
Zach Sontag made a late pass of Jim Gross and won his second pure stocks feature. Dan Schmeissing was third, followed by Chet Hartley, Austin Blackwell and Spencer Leake.