BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — On a restart two-thirds of the way into Friday night’s 30-lap USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship feature at Bloomington Speedway, Chad Boespflug found himself playing defense against Chris Windom.
Some say defense wins championships, but in auto racing, a driver has to be on the offensive. And that’s exactly what Boespflug did after seeing his lead slip away on the 22nd lap. Down the stretch, Boespflug attacked the topside and went after Windom, instigating a compelling, five-lap showdown.
After ripping off lap-after-lap that appeared as if he was on a single-car qualifying run, Boespflug emerged ahead of Windom on the white-flag lap, leading the final two circuits to take his first Bloomington victory and first as a driver for the legendary Hoffman Auto Racing/Dynamics, Inc. team.
“It’s awesome to drive for the Hoffmans,” Boespflug exclaimed. “To have the success we’ve had with so far with a fourth, two seconds and now a win, it’s extra special all the way around. It’s just a great group effort. Everybody works so hard when we get to the track. They don’t complain or anything; they just do what’s needed to be done and it shows every night when we get to the racetrack. It’s an honor to get a win for Mean Green, the Hoffmans and everybody involved.”
At the start of the feature, outside front-row starter Boespflug asserted himself to grab the race lead from polesitter Dave Darland entering the first turn where he immediately settled in on the rim of the quarter-mile red clay oval.
A lap-three caution flag for Hunter Schuerenberg fell after the sixth-place-running driver came to a stop on the wrong side of the banking between turns one and two, but that only momentarily put a clamp on Boespflug’s run. On the ensuing restart, Darland held the low line while Boespflug occupied the top, which he used to pull away and extend his advantage in the early sequence.
Meanwhile, Windom, the series’ most recent winner at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway two weeks prior, was on the move. After blitzing from sixth to third on the opening lap, Windom made his next move when he disposed of Shane Cottle and Dave Darland for the second position on lap eight and now had only race leader Boespflug to contend with.
However, Windom still trailed Boespflug by more than a second at the moment, but he unrelentingly kept digging on the bottom while Boespflug remained up top when the two came upon lapped traffic. Most of the lappers occupied the low line, forcing Windom to migrate to the top where he and third-place Darland followed in hot pursuit.
A pair of yellows for the stopped cars of Josh Hodges and Max McGhee brought about a pair of yellow flags, thus creating a clear track ahead of the leaders when racing resumed. Yet, the clear track didn’t signal a utopian path to victory for Boespflug. Not only did he have to contend with Windom hot on his tracks, the uncontrollables began to enter his mind, though he let them slide to the back of his mind as he kept his thoughts focused on what he could control – the race at hand.
“About halfway through, the car got really soft on the right rear,” Boespflug explained. “I wasn’t sure if I had a tire going down or a shock broke. I had to rally through and not worry about that. I just had to worry about my race.”
The lap-21 restart, in particular, was beneficial to Windom as Boespflug took a lower than usual line into turn one, entering the middle of the track which presented Windom an opportunity he refused to let slip through his fingers. Boespflug fought to gain a foothold in the middle, but by then, Windom was wheel to wheel underneath Boespflug.