LINCOLN, Ill. – Even with a bit stiffer competition in the house, Nick Hoffman still reigns supreme.
The two-time and defending DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals champion locked-up his ninth feature win of the season Sunday night at Lincoln Speedway, outlasting the six-time tour champ Mike Harrison in a high-traffic battle for the lead late in the race.
Hoffman jumped to the early lead in his Justin Allgaier-owned No. 7 Elite Chassis but hadn’t yet established the big lead he so often opens up when at the head of the field. This left the door open for second-running Harrison, who pounced at the opportunity on lap nine and took the lead on the high side.
Banging his wheels off the cushion and the wall, Harrison led for the next nine laps with Hoffman right on his tail. Harrison kept favoring the high side, even in traffic, as Hoffman tried to make up the ground down low.
The two were then met with three lapped cars all in a battle of their own, occupying all three lanes on the track. Racing down the frontretch, Harrison kept it up top but made contact with Brian Diveley, sending him into the tractor tires at the edge of the outside wall. Hoffman had regained the lead at the flag stand right as the caution flag flew.
On the ensuing restart, Harrison scraped the outside wall coming out of turn four. He bobbled a bit getting into turn one and hit the wall again as he slowed in turn three and four, taking his No. 24H pit-side and retiring from the race.
This cut the pressure from behind Hoffman, and he took advantage, bringing his No. 7 all the way back home for the $1,500 victory and ninth time this year.
“I knew if I pressured him enough, I’d get him to make a mistake,” Hoffman said of his battle with Harrison in victory lane. “He’s the best there is in the country running that top side, but if I could just stay right there with him… it’s too tough and brutal up there tonight to not make a mistake.”
Fifteen-year-old Hunt Gossum came home second for his second runner-up finish in the last three days. Jeff Leka crossed the line third, while Dave Wietholder and Ray Bollinger rounded out the top-five.
1. 7-Nick Hoffman ; 2. 99-Hunt Gossum ; 3. 3L-Jeff Leka ; 4. O5-Dave Wietholder ; 5. 77-Ray Bollinger ; 6. 96M-Mike McKinney ; 7. P27-Brody Pompe ; 8. 36-Kenny Wallace ; 9. 32-Donovan Lodge ; 10. 25W-Allen Weisser ; 11. T6-Tommy Sheppard Jr ; 12. 35-Brandon Roberts ; 13. 72A-Austin Lynn ; 14. 59R-Jacob Rexing ; 15. 64-Dawson Cook ; 16. 45-Kyle Hammer ; 17. 49-Todd Bates ; 18. 14-Brian Lynn ; 19. 24H-Mike Harrison ; 20. 24-Zeke McKenzie ; 21. 11D-Brian Diveley ; 22. 14C-Rick Conoyer