BARBERVILLE, Fla. — DIRTcar Nationals UMP Modified point leader Nick Hoffman scored the win on the first of two Gator Qualifier Nights before one of the biggest crowds in DIRTcar Nationals and track history on night five of the 49th DIRTcar Nationals presented by Bozard Ford.
The fifth night of competition for the modified teams began the chase for a coveted starting spot in Monday’s $5,000-to-win Big Gator Championship.
Starting on the pole and staying out front for all 20 laps in the caution-free event, the four-time defending DIRTcar Nationals champion staked his claim for an unprecedented fifth consecutive title.
The 27-year-old standout and 2019 champion scored his second feature win of the week and his all-time career-leading 17th DIRTcar Nationals feature triumph.
“Being able to draw the pole and get out early and control the pace was really nice. Not having a caution during the race really helped as well,” Hoffman said after his win aboard his potent #2 Fox Shox / Elite Chassis machine. “Didn’t have too many issues with the lapped traffic; that was about the only thing that worried me. I just stuck to my lane and took my time with them and it all worked out tonight.”
By virtue of the redraw, Hoffman and Spencer Hughes started on the front row of the 20-lap feature, and as the 28-car field dove into the first corner, Hoffman emerged out in front. As Hoffman slowly pulled away from the pack, a battle for second brewed between Jason Hughes and Brian Ruhlman with both slipping past S. Hughes to jump up into the podium.
Before long, 2008 DIRTcar UMP Modified National Champion Jeff Leka joined Ruhlman and J. Hughes as the trio waged a war amongst themselves.
All the while, Hoffman continued to put real estate between himself and the rest of the pack. With seven laps to go, J. Hughes finally got past Ruhlman to take over second. But by then, Hoffman had hidden himself in lapped traffic and faced no pressure winning the feature in front of the huge crowd on hand.
Hughes settled for second for his best finish of the DIRTcar Nationals over Ruhlman, who tied his best finish of the week in third and completed the podium finishers. Leka also scored his best feature finish of the week in fourth and S. Hughes recorded his best finish of the week by completing the top five.
Feature (20 Laps) – 1. 2-Nick Hoffman [$1,000]; 2. 12H-Jason Hughes [$600]; 3. 49-Brian Ruhlman [$400]; 4. 3L-Jeff Leka [$350]; 5. 11H-Spencer Hughes [$300]; 6. 99-Hunt Gossum [$275]; 7. 36-Kenny Wallace [$250]; 8. 12L-Lucas Lee [$225]; 9. 18L-Michael Long [$200]; 10. 67-Garret Stewart [$200]; 11. 5-Curt Spalding [$175]; 12. 21-Taylor Cook [$140]; 13. OOD-David Reutimann [$130]; 14. 11M-Mike McGee [$125]; 15. 12-Jason Gross [$125]; 16. 22-Dale Kelley [$125]; 17. 45J-Johnny Broking [$125]; 18. 1S-Brian Shaw [$125]; 19. K19-Will Krup [$125]; 20. 17TE-Tyler Evans [$125]; 21. 1-Brenden Rassel [$125]; 22. 17T-Michael Tarlton [$125]; 23. 32-Chad Roush [$125]; 24. O1-Bryce Nichols [$125]; 25. 22T-Tony Anderson [$125]; 26. 100-Scott Fritz [$100]; 27. OO-Buzzie Reutimann [$100]; 28. 19-Chad Bauer [$100];