Nick Hoffman has accomplished a lot during his racing career, but a win on Friday night at his home track of Millbridge Speedway may have been one of the biggest of them all. Hoffman started from the outside of the front row and led all but one lap to win the $5,151-to-win Speed51 Open.
“It’s pretty big. I tell everybody that I’ve raced a lot in my day from asphalt to dirt and won a lot of big races. This one’s pretty big,” Hoffman told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I tell people these Outlaw Karts are the toughest things I’ve ever drove. People think it’s funny because I’ve raced trucks, Dirt Late Models and Modifieds and stuff, but when the green flag drops in one of these Outlaw Kart races it’s time to get it on.”
Hoffman, a Modified Nationals champion and DIRTcar Nationals champion at Volusia Speedway Park (FL), is the brother of track promoter Ashly Burnett. On race nights, he can often be seen helping with track prep and is the first one to assist when another driver suffers misfortune on the race track.
But on Friday night, everything went his way on his way to Victory Lane.
“To come away with it after all the work we’ve put in this week and everybody that has put the work into this kart to make it what it is. The pole shuffle went our way and everything kind of went our way this whole week, so we got it done.”
Although he led 50 of the 51 laps, Hoffman’s win was anything but easy. He had to deal with challenges from a handful of drivers including Jesse Colewell and Tanner Thorson throughout the race.
Hoffman’s biggest obstacle came during the middle stages of the race when he made contact with the slower car of Dayne Amyx on the backstretch. Hoffman avoided spinning and survived the remainder of the race.
“It was pretty heavy contact, actually,” Hoffman explained. “Dayne Amyk was running the bottom and I just screwed up off of (turn) two and just chopped him off. He had nowhere to go and just hit me in the left rear; it actually killed the left rear wheel and we were pretty worried about it at that halfway stop. It was still holding air so we said, ‘hey, we’ll just chance it.’ I got really lucky that it didn’t actually cut a tire down.”
Tanner Thorson made a charge following the halfway break to finish second, while Colby Copeland, Jesse Colewell and three-time Millbridge champion Tom Hubert completed the top five.
NASCAR Monster Energy Cup driver Kyle Larson qualified on the pole for the race and elected to take the Back Row Bonus challenge. That put him 24th on the grid with the chance of winning $25,000, but an early-race incident sidelined him for the night.
Race fans can find on-demand coverage of Friday’s race by visiting Speed51.com’s Trackside Now coverage.
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
Speed51 Open Unofficial Results
Millbridge Speedway (NC) - May 26, 2017