Story By: JORDAN DELUCIA / DIRTCAR – PEORIA, IL – Many of Nick Hoffman’s recent DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals wins have been smooth, uncontested drives to the finish. Wednesday night at Peoria Speedway was anything but.
Dave Wietholder, veteran wheelman and Peoria semi-regular racer from Liberty, IL, had chased Hoffman up to the halfway point in the 25-lap Feature when he began to reel him in. Held up by some lapped traffic, Hoffman’s lead shrank quickly from over one second down to a car-length.
“I was following [the lapped car], hoping he’d peel-off the wall and try to get back to the bottom,” Hoffman said. “He entered higher into Turn 1 and I missed the rubber pretty big into 1. That’s when Dave was able to drive underneath me.”
Wietholder suddenly saw a gap open under Hoffman heading into Turn 1 and took it, but was denied due to an untimely yellow flag with 13 laps complete. This cleared traffic from Hoffman’s path, though the race wasn’t over.
“I was kinda hoping with 8-to-go on that last restart that I wouldn’t get back to lapped traffic, but we did with 2-to-go,” Hoffman said. “[Stick man] showed me I had a little bit of a lead at that point, and I just followed [the lapped car]. I couldn’t drive by him; I was gonna have to run into him to pass him.”
Hoffman took the green on the restart and did reach the tail of the field again in the closing laps. Wietholder reeled Hoffman in yet again and tried one last-ditch effort in Turns 3-4, getting underneath Hoffman’s NOS Energy Drink #2, but to no avail. Hoffman gassed it out of Turn 4 and crossed the stripe for his 59th Summit Modified victory.
Notably, Wietholder races a chassis built by Hoffman at Elite Chassis in Mooresville, NC. The two have crossed several times in the past on the track, and the respect is real.
“He’s strong here, at Spoon River, and a lot of other places,” Hoffman said. “He races a lot of races over the year, and even comes to Florida, so he gets around and ventures out. I think that says a lot about his program to be as strong as he is everywhere he goes.”
The Summit Modifieds take Thursday off before getting back into action at Tri-City Speedway on Friday, June 17.
Feature 25 Laps
1. 2-Nick Hoffman; 2. 05-Dave Wietholder; 3. 25-Tyler Nicely; 4. 8-Kyle Steffens; 5. 8A-Austin Holcombe; 6. 79D-John Demoss; 7. 77-Ray Bollinger; 8. 130-Chase Allen; 9. 36-Kenny Wallace; 10. 777-Trevor Neville; 11. 89-Noah Faw; 12. 26D-Derick Doerr; 13. 242-Brandon Bollinger; 14. 6M-Carl McKinney; 15. 82-Shane Kelley; 16. 17D-Degan Dozard; 17. 73-Mark Rhoades; 18. 10J-Steve Jones; 19. 2B-Erik Bruce; 20. 2D- Asa Dillon; 21. 69-Derek Roberts; 22. 25W-Allen Weisser