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Auto Racing: Pat Kelly regrets ‘bad decision’ in Grundy feature

Updated: September 23, 2012 6:08AM



Pat Kelly didn’t mince any words.

He wasn’t happy with what happened on the final lap of Friday night’s Karen and Tom Magnabosco Memorial at Grundy County Speedway, when he and Eddie Hoffman had contact while battling for the win and both wound up spinning.

Both had to go to the back. Both lost a chance at the big money. It all went to Robbie Pyle.

Kelly pointed a stern finger of blame — at himself.

Sometimes that’s harder to do than actually drive a late-model it seems. I’d guess 95 percent of time when there’s a crash involving two cars, I’m always hearing about how the other guy “didn’t give me enough room.”

But not this time. Not Pat Kelly. You can blame him for what happened, but you can’t say he wasn’t man enough to accept said blame.

But before the quotes, the race in a nutshell saw a few early leaders in James Gregait, Joe Einhaus and P.J. Polcyn. Hoffman took the lead from Polcyn just two laps from the 35-lap midpoint break.

The second half of the race was pretty much all Hoffman until Kelly reeled him in with 10 laps or so remaining. Kelly seemed faster, but not fast enough to try the outside.

With one lap remaining, and thoughts about winning the race for Tom and Karen — who at one time were his car owners — Kelly took a chance and tried to force the issue. It ended disastrously, as both drivers wound up out of shape. Hoffman tried to save it but spun to the infield in Turn 2, bringing out the yellow.

Pyle, sitting in third, inherited the lead and had no trouble holding off Polcyn. D.J. Weltmeyer was third.

“That was stupid. That was a dumb, bad decision on my part,” a disconsolate Kelly said. “I tried to get in there a little bit, like (Hoffman) did to me last week in the first 30-lap race, when he wiggled me loose and got up alongside me.

“I thought I could do the same thing. I don’t know if he was real loose or how I turned him sideways like that. I just tried to get in there, get him loose, and I wasn’t talented enough to do it.

“I hate to do what I did. It was just poor racing on my behalf. It was the family’s race and I tried a little harder than I probably should have. I’m sure I’ve got one coming back.”

Hoffman’s reaction equally was surprising. He could have exploded, but didn’t. He could have been critical, but wasn’t. He didn’t even say that Kelly has one coming.

“What happened, happened,” Hoffman said. “He did what he did, and life goes on.”

Let’s hope. We don’t need another mess Friday.

The lady’s a champ

Well, for one night, anyway. Saturday was the biggest night of 22-year-old Illiana Speedway turbo stocker Bobbie Jean Wall’s career. She won both the fast heat and the feature race — the latter of which was her second, officially, but the first in which she crossed the line first. In 2008, she was declared a feature winner when the apparent victor was disqualified.

“This feels so good. It’s been so long,” Wall said. “The first feature I don’t even really count because it was a disqualification.

“I’ve been so close so many times this year, and it just never seemed like it would happily. Finally. Thank goodness.”

Wall took the lead from Matt Arvia on lap three and pulled away from the pack. Jacob McKown finished a distant second, followed by Cheryl Hryn and Bill Serviss.



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