SCHERERVILLE, Ind. — Eddie Hoffman survived a late-race scare and a stern challenge from Mike White to conquer the field in Saturday’s opening-night late-model feature at the ASA-sanctioned Illiana Speedway.
Hoffman was able to take the lead from Jeff Cannon with 12 laps remaining when he, Cannon and White were in a bunch in Turn 4 and heading in the direction of the lapped car of Shawn Bourdelais. “Yeah, I saw that one coming,” Hoffman said. “I went, ‘Ohhhhhh boy!’ I tried to give Jeff room and I thought maybe we could squeeze through there, but I didn’t know. I wasn’t sure it was worth the risk.”
Cannon was sure it wasn’t, and backed out of the side-by-side battle. “Yeah, I probably would have done the same thing,” Hoffman said of Cannon. “But I don’t know… it was going to be hard to get by him.” The beginning of the race saw John Nutley outgun front-row partner Danny Darnell. Nutley stayed in front until lap six, when Cannon roared by on the outside.
Cannon would enjoy a fairly good lead for several laps before Hoffman, who came from four rows back, was able to close and draw underneath. With White lurking behind both, it was primed to be a real battle until the trio encountered Bourdelais.
“I just saw the hole closing up,” a frustrated Cannon said afterward. “It was either wreck or try to make it through and go with Eddie. It’s not worth it right now. I guess we need to make sure we’ve got radios out there.”
It was a single-file finish, with Hoffman, White, Cannon, Nutley and Anthony Danta all within a car-length of two or one another.
A wild turbo stox feature saw Jacob McKown hold off Matt Arvia and Pat Ligue. Bobbie Jean Wall, who led for several laps, finished fourth.
Garrett Harris overtook Alex Arelano on the backstretch on lap 15, and went to capture the 20-lap Legends feature.
Chris King made a last-lap pass of Arelano to claim second, with Paul Shafer Sr. and Andy Jones completing the top five. Alex Treptrow prevailed over a large field in the pure stocks feature, beating Colin Robinson with a last-lap pass.