Eddie Hoffman’s previous late-model feature victory at Grundy County Speedway was June 27.
After capturing his fourth main event win overall Friday night, Hoffman chuckled in the tech line at the suggestion that it’s been a while.
“That’s only five weeks,” he said. “I guess that’s a dry spell. I think just about anybody else would love to have that kind of dry spell.”
Hoffman did it with precision, following closely behind leader John Nutley from laps 16 through 25 before pouncing on an opportunity when a gap opened on the bottom in Turns 3 and 4.
By the time they were in Turn 1, the pass was complete. Nutley tried to battle back, but Hoffman eventually wound up beating Brett Sontag to the finish line by 0.656 seconds.
“It was just all about working, working,” said Hoffman, who had fast qualifying time and started 10th in the 18-car field. “I had to get a fender up in there (on Nutley). You can’t really run into a guy from behind.
“We weren’t much faster. It took that one corner (3 and 4), where we finally got a nose up inside of John. It still wasn’t easy keeping it pinched down to get by him. He was pretty fast and he’s been in some hard luck, so I definitely wanted to be careful.”
Nutley, who after contact with Brett Sontag spun out in Turn 4 while leading a week earlier, yielded second place to Sontag on the final lap this time. Ricky Baker was fourth, followed by Billy Knippenberg (who led laps 3 through 14) and Brandon Clubb.
The 33-lap Ed Mahoney Candy Man Special memorial race went to Jake Bradley. Bradley, fast earlier in the night in winning a heat race, tracked down and passed Jacob McKown on lap 13, only to have a yellow flag negate the move. On the restart, Bradley followed McKown for one lap before passing him again, this time for good.
“I was pretty fast, I was consistent,” Bradley said. “I knew I was faster than him because I was on his bumper the whole time. He was nice and let me by. That’s what good racing is all about.
“I’ve got the car fine-turned and it seems to be handling really good. It felt good. I’ve never won a big race like this before.”
Bradley beat Eddie Ligue to the line by 2.082 seconds. Chris Woodall was third, followed by McKown, John Senerchia, Rita Fields and Christy Penrod.
A wild and yellow flag-filled Mid-American feature saw Kenny Benson pass Chuck Yuris on the final lap. Yuris led from laps 17 through 24 before Benson emerged from a three-wide battle that also included Joe Vinachi.
Benson beat Vinachi by 0.313 seconds. Kevin Murphy scrambled to third, while Tom Knippenberg, Yuris and Kevin Gentile completed the top six.
Zach Sontag made a late pass of Jim Gross and won his second pure stocks feature. Dan Schmeissing was third, followed by Chet Hartley, Austin Blackwell and Spencer Leake.
Fast Time: Eddie Hoffman
Heat Race 1: Tony Scapelli Jr., Hoffman
Heat Race 2: Jeff Olson, Larry Schuler
Feature: Hoffman, Brett Sontag, John Nutley, Ricky Baker, Billy Knippenberg, Brandon Clubb, Scapelli Jr., Andy Jones, James Gregait, Mark Sontag Jr.
Heat Race 1: Kevin Gentile, John Ventrello
Heat Race 2: Ron Vandermeir, Cody Clubb
Feature: Kenny Benson, Joe Vinachi, Kevin Murphy, Tommy Knippenberg, Chuck Yuris, Gentile, Jim Kachel, Clubb, Luke Baldwin, Craig Stark
Fast Time: Logan Love
Heat Race 1: Jake Bradley, Eddie Ligue
Heat Race 2: Rob Scamen, Tim Stewart
Feature: Bradley, Ligue, Chris Woodall, Jacob McKown, John Senerchia, Rita Fields, Christy Penrod, Bob Davis, Scamen, Bill Serviss
Heat Race 1: Chet Hartley, Trevor Martin
Heat Race 2: Blaine Passini, Zach Sontag
Heat Race 3: Spencer Leake, Dan Schmeissing
Feature: Sontag, Jim Gross, Schmeissing, Hartley, Leake, Austin Blackwell, Justin Mikel, Mikey Slabenak, Cirk Lindemuth, Alex Clubb
– Tony Baranek for Grundy County Speedway
Photo Credit: Brian Nolte/Fourth Turn Photos