Hoffman Claims Gator Championship

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Nick Hoffman celebrates after winning the Gator Championship Monday night at Volusia Speedway Park. (Chris Dolack Photo)
Nick Hoffman celebrates after winning the Gator Championship Monday night at Volusia Speedway Park. (Chris Dolack Photo)
Nick Hoffman celebrates after winning the Gator Championship Monday night at Volusia Speedway Park. (Chris Dolack Photo)

BARBERVILLE, Fla. — Nick Hoffman continued his DIRTcar Nationals dominance Monday night as he held off Austin Dillon to score the Gator Championship and the coveted Big Gator trophy.

Hoffman drew the No. 1 starting pill in the night’s redraw but faced stiff competition from NASCAR stars Austin and Ty Dillon, and Jason Beaulieu as the green flag waved on the night’s 30-lap feature at Volusia Speedway Park.

Hoffman jumped out to a nearly two second lead early as the Dillon brothers worked to run him down. By lap 13, Ty Dillon caught Hoffman and began a multi-lap battle for the lead. With lapped traffic in play, Hoffman was able to extend his lead.

As Hoffman maintained a consistent one-and-a-half-second lead over Ty Dillon, Beaulieu began battling Austin Dillon for the third position. Billy Workman Jr. slowed to a stop on the front straight on lap 27 and bunched the field back up as the yellow flag waved.

“I was kind of hoping that thing was just going to go straight to the checkered but I just didn’t want to do what Ty did the other night and screwed up in lapped traffic or miss my marks in the last two laps,” Hoffman said. “It was nail-biting coming to that green with two to go. I knew if I could make three perfect laps that that was all it was going to take.”

When the feature returned to green with three laps remaining, Hoffman held off Ty Dillon as Beaulieu battled to the third position. It was the third win of DIRTcar Nationals for Hoffman.

“I knew all of my fate relied on that redraw but man this thing was so good I think we could have won that thing from 10th,” Hoffman said. “I knew Ty would be really tough and I just held onto it and those lappers were a little scary.”

The finish:

Nick Hoffman, Ty Dillon, Jason Beaulieu, Austin Dillon, Brian Ruhlman, Max McLaughlin, David Stremme, Jacob Hawkins, Josh Harris, Trent Young, Kenny Wallace, Will Krup, Derrick Ramey, Larry Burkins, Jackie Boggs, Dale McDowell, Justin Allgaier, Patrick Lyon, Brian Shaw, Ray Bollinger, Brandon Green, Garrett Stewart, Ken Schrader, Brian Papiez, Nate Zimmer, Jeff Matthews, Billy Workman Jr., Tony Anderson, Bryce Jewell, Tyler Nicely