Nick Hoffman is coming off a month of February that oozed domination and left people questioning whether or not he would be able to continue his hot streak into the month of March. After picking up five UMP Modified wins at the DIRTcar Nationals in Florida, the North Carolina native returned to his home track of Millbridge Speedway (NC) Wednesday night and answered that question with a resounding yes.
Starting from the outside of the third row, Hoffman drove to the front to pick up the victory in the always-competitive Mini-Outlaw Open division.
It wasn’t an easy journey to the front for Hoffman and he ultimately needed to take advantage of another driver’s misfortune to score the win. He used a well-executed restart and crossover move to get by Buddy Wise. From there, he put the medal to the pedal and showed those in attendance at the 1/6-mile dirt oval that his dominance is here to stay.
“We’ve had a really good car, no matter what I’ve driven all year. Hats off to Phantom Chassis, they gave me a great kart. Adam’s Performance built us a good motor,” Hoffman told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “Had to work for it starting sixth, it’s tough to come from there. I got to fourth right off the bat, got by third and second. On the restart I knew he’d try to protect the bottom, so I tried to roll the top and got that big run off of two. That was the end of the story after that, clean air is so important here and out stuff is really good, just making consistent laps, trying not to hit the holes and it was really fun.”
Perhaps the biggest opponent for all in attendance was the red-clay surface, which started out fast and slick during practice. The surface caught many by surprise including Carson Kvapil, who had a hard tumble in warm-ups before rebounding to make the show. Though the clay did eventually dry out, several bumps developed and caught even more drivers by surprise.
Branson Dils, the early race leader, saw his visions of Victory Lane disappear after he clipped the cushion and slammed the outside wall.
Though conditions were tricky, Hoffman felt it made the show one of the better ones you will see.
“It was still rough in the feature, but I think it made for better racing. When it’s just locked down on the top and wide open it’s so hard to pass and go anywhere. When it’s rough like that some of the guys get into holes and get tight, you see Branson (Dils) get in the fence while leading, anything can happen when you got a little bit of character spots in the race track. Hats off to Jeremy and everyone in my family for all the work we’ve put in the last few weeks to make this place what it is. It was good tonight and we’ll try to make it better for next time.”
Hoffman will race as hard as any driver that takes to the track at Millbridge on Wednesdays, but for the most part he considers it the fun part of what has become a very busy slate for the dirt racing ace.
“We’re trying to race more than we ever have,” Hoffman stated. “We ran 70 races last year and we’re trying to do more than that this year. Running Lucas Oil Late Models, World of Outlaw Late Models, kind of hit and miss with the Late Model stuff. Modifieds doing UMP, probably Summer Nationals again since we won that last year, keep the dominance up there. When we’re not racing Late Models, we’ll just play out here (at Millbridge) on Wednesday nights.”
Millbridge Speedway’s biggest event of the 2017 season, the $5,151-to-win Speed51 Open, takes place on Wednesday, May 24. Race fans will be able to watch the race via a live pay-per-view broadcast on Speed51.com.
-By: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com CT, MA & Long Island Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com