Eddie Hoffman Just Keeps Winning
SCHERERVILLE, Ind. – Eddie Hoffman has had many an accomplishment over the years at the ASA-sanctioned Illiana Speedway, but he’s never won a late-model track title.
“We don’t talk about it much, but I’d imagine it’s in the sights,” Hoffman said after his eighth feature win Saturday night unofficially launched him past D.J. Weltmeyer into the points lead.
“We just race week to week,” Hoffman continued. “If it looks good the last few weeks, then we’ll have something to talk about.”
Hoffman looked plenty good on Saturday, taking the lead from Jack Kalwasinski on lap 18 and beating Mike White by 0.368 seconds.
Early on, the first five rows stayed tightly packed, with side-by-side battles eventually resulting in a two-car spin on lap six by Rita Fields and Don Sabatino in Turn 2.
Ryan Hill, pacing the field at that point, saw his lead disappear on the double-file restart when Jack Kalwasinski pushed his No. 99 to the front via the outside groove.
Hoffman, who started in the sixth row, worked his way through the field and took second place away from John Nutley on lap 15. It only took two more laps before Hoffman cruised by Kalwasinski.
Hoffman was several car-lengths in front, while White was in the process of claiming the runnerup spot from Nutley, with six laps remaining when Kelton Kaechle blew a motor in Turn 1, spewing oil on the track and forcing a red flag.
The stoppage erased what had been a pretty healthy lead for Hoffman, but after the restart, the one lap that White and Nutley battled for second place allowed him to build his edge back up again. White maintained second and Nutley third, while Paul Shafer Jr., Weltmeyer and Kalwasinski completed the top six.
Matt O’Leary powered his way to the front of the pack early, then held off fast qualifier and defending track champion Alex Arelano over the final 13 laps to claim his third Legends feature.
“The car was really good today,” O’Leary said. “It’s always harder when you’re in the lead; you don’t have anybody to chase down. But I got myself in a rhythm and I hit my marks. It couldn’t have been more perfect.”
Third place went to Garrett Harris, who was followed by Paul Shafer Sr., Michael Martin Jr., and Jacob Melvin.
Eddie Wolf and Chris Woodall, who finished 1-2 in the turbo stox division in 2011, made one of their rare head-to-head appearances in 2012 a memorable one.
Wolf took the lead from Timmy Stewart on lap 9 and took Woodall with him. The two were then glued together bumper-to-bumper for much of the rest of the race before Woodall worked his way underneath Wolf with just three laps remaining to capture the 25-lap feature victory. Jacob McKown was third, ahead of Pat Ligue, Cheryl Hryn and Bobbie Jean Wall.
Stan Zolodz, who was disqualified in the heat race for spinning out Kenny Myer in the final turn, rebounded in the feature to pass Myer with just two laps remaining. It was the eighth win of the season for Zolodz.