BARBERVILLE, Fla. — Taylor Cook passed three-time DIRTcar Nationals champion Nick Hoffman on the white-flag lap to win Wednesday night’s modified feature during night two of the 48th annual DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park.
It was Cook’s first DIRTcar Nationals triumph, with 95 cars on hand in the class.
“I knew we had a really good car, and I knew that I could hold my own line through the traffic and try to make something happen,” Cook said. “Plus, I had the safe benefit of being behind him (Hoffman) to see what he was doing, where he was going. I knew that if it played out just right, we’d win this thing.”
Perennial contenders David Stremme and Kyle Strickler started on the front row of the massive 28-car field and once Dave Farney’s green flag flew, the battle commenced immediately between the two rivals.
It didn’t take long for something to happen; on lap two, the two battlers collided sending both up into the turn one wall. Opening night feature winner Michael Long, who was right behind the two combatants, had nowhere to go and slammed into both drivers. All three were done for the night.
This gave the lead to Hoffman, who tried to immediately pull away from the rest of the field.
Brian Ruhlman, who started fourth, and Cook, who started seventh, worked their way up to the second and third spots and began chasing down race leader Hoffman.
With five laps to go, Cook maneuvered his way by Ruhlman and set his sights on Hoffman for the race lead. With three laps to go, Cook pulled up to Hoffman and in the midst of traffic, an epic battle ensued.
As the white flag flew, Cook dove underneath Hoffman to take the lead, but Hoffman wasn’t giving up and charged back at Cook. With the checkered flag in the air, Cook was able to put just enough real estate between himself and Hoffman to secure his first career DIRTcar Nationals feature win.
Hoffman settled for second for the second night in a row after starting fifth, taking over the DIRTcar Nationals points lead. Ruhlman finished off the podium finishers in third as Will Krup and Zeke McKenzie completed the top five.
Taylor Cook, Nick Hoffman, Brian Ruhlman, Will Krup, Zeke McKenzie, R.C. Whitwell, Jason Beaulieu, Lucas Lee, Curt Spalding, Allen Weisser, Johnny Broking, Tyler Nicely, Ryan Thomas, Ryan Ayers, Gordy Gundaker, Garret Stewart, Kenny Wallace, David Reutimann, Shon Flanary, Justin Allgaier, Matt Crafton, Johnny Collins, Christopher Smith, Kyle Strickler, David Stremme, Michael Long, Troy Johnson, Will Long.