Eddie Hoffman is one of the most successful racers around the short tracks of the Midwest for the last two decades. He’s known as a hard-nosed racer, who is not afraid to put the bumper to another driver to win the race. On Sunday, during the Mid-Summer Championship for the CRA Super Series at Plymouth Speedway in Indiana, he didn’t have to be aggressive. Hoffman used plenty of finesse to get to the front of the field and led the final 73 laps of the race to cross the finish line first at the conclusion of 125 laps.
“There’s just consistency in this car,” said Hoffman in victory lane. “This car just stays good on long runs; it’s done that for years. At this place, guys are good for a short time and they fall off more than we fall off for whatever reason.”
Hoffman never fell off, but in post-race tech, the infamous #8 Super Late Model fell on the scales a tad too heavy for the series’ left-side weight rule. So, the win was stripped from Hoffman and given to Ross Kenseth by CRA officials.
“We took the top-five across the scales after the race and second through fifth were all were fine,” said CRA Super Series co-promoter Glen Luckett. “Eddie Hoffman’s (car) was over at 58.4%. Our rule is 58.0; we give an allowance to 58.1, so it was way over the tolerance level.”
“It’s just a call that they had to make. I don’t argue it,” said Hoffman via a phone call on Monday. “It’s disappointing whenever something like this happens, especially when you win a race because wins are hard to come by.”
Both Hoffman and Luckett admitted to the fact that the #8 machine had been heavy on left-side weight when the car rolled across the scales earlier in the weekend, but Hoffman insists it was an honest mistake.
“This is the same car we run on Friday night’s (at Grundy County Speedway in Illinois) and we are a small team with just two or three guys,” explained Hoffman. “Well, we decided to take the car to run this race and it’s a different weight (than we normally run). So we went there (to Plymouth) and we were 58.4 in pre-practice tech. We had three or four other infractions that we had to take care of and we fixed them. And I saw the guys; we moved lead in the car and I put water and ice in the cool-box before the race and that’s on the right side of the car. I figured we were good.
“Because of the short schedule with the rain (on Sunday), we (CRA) didn’t have a pre-qualifying tech. We never took it upon ourselves to go and re-weigh the car. In the end, how we ended up over on left-side, I don’t know because I saw we actually moved the lead. It’s just something that happened. And honestly, we didn’t think we were pushing the limit. But we were off, that’s it.”
DUE TO INFRACTION, KENSETH SCORES SECOND WIN OF THE WEEKEND
Ross Kenseth certainly had an eventful race at Plymouth. The youngster received a penalty for contact with Steve Dorer while battling for a top-five spot early in the race and had to go to the rear of the field. He battled back to finish second to Hoffman with a broken left-front shock on his #25 car.
In post-race tech, Kenseth admits that he and crew chief Chris Purdy heard there might be a problem with Hoffman’s machine so they stuck around to learn of the verdict and the fact that they had been awarded the victory.
“It didn’t happen the way we wanted it to, but I thought we had a winning car,” said Kenseth on Monday. “I think we had a shot at being first one across the line, but it was tough with that broken shock.
“We knew it was a tough call, but me and Chris waited around for CRA to make the decision. They are always very fair with their rules. They always make sure that when somebody wins they are legal and are the outright winner. My guys did a great job just to put us in that position, so we are happy.”
As for the contact earlier in the race with Dorer, a sweaty Kenseth was not too pleased after the race.
“Some of those guys, they are so hard to get by because they run both lines on you,” said Kenseth. “I tried going to the top on him (Dorer) two or three times and I went to the bottom and he chopped me off. After the third or fourth time of that I wasn’t going to back out. It still worked out okay for us. He didn’t finish the race; I think he spun two or three other guys.”
If our records are correct, for Kenseth, it was his third straight win in Super Late Model competition. The week prior the youngster had captured the checker at Wisconsin International Raceway (Kaukauna) and this past Friday night Kenseth won an extra-distance Super Late Model race at Madison International Raceway (WI).
D-GRIFF NOW SCORED THE BRIDESMAID AT PLYMOUTH
Derrick Griffin may be a rookie in the CRA Super Series, but nobody would be surprised if he rattled off a win or two in the series before the end of the year. On Sunday, he recorded a strong second-place finish, his best of the season with the Welch and Wilson team, despite throttle-issues during the race.
“It was a little too much too late,” admitted Griffin, who had one of the fastest cars on the track near the end of the show. “I wish the throttle-deal got cleaned up a little earlier. It was almost like somebody was choking the carburetor up. I would roll into the corner and it wouldn’t idle down; it just kept going. I almost knocked the fence down the first time it did it because I wasn’t ready for it. It finally fixed itself there at the end and we got rolling.
“We weren’t bad by any means; I would have liked to have seen a caution to see if I had anything for Ross or Eddie.”
FISHER DIDN’T AGREE WITH PENALTY FOR CONTACT WITH JURKOVIC
Terry Fisher has been the hottest driver on the CRA Super Series during the past three races. In fact, after a third-place finish Sunday, he is now riding a streak of three-straight podium finishes, which includes a win at Angola Motor Speedway earlier this month.
Fisher had a shot at another triumph on Sunday, but he and Boris Jurkovic made contact just past the halfway mark in the event. Jurkovic’s #53 spun and CRA officials penalized Fisher for the contact by putting him to the rear of the field.
“Once we got up front I never thought we were going to have to go to the back like we did,” said Fisher who led three times for 10 laps. “I was just trying to race side-by-side, cleanly with somebody (Jurkovic) and he kept on coming down lower and lower. You can only go so low in this corner (turn three) with the bumps. He just came down so low and he went off my nose. It just sucks we got sent back to the rear, but to come back like we did feels pretty good.”
Fisher has closed the gap on Scott Hantz in the battle for the CRA SS title to only 28 points.
“I’m not thinking about the championship,” commented Fisher. “I’m just looking at the wins. I want more.”
AARON PIERCE GOES FROM WINGS TO STOCK CARS IN SAME WEEKEND
Aaron Pierce is a grizzly warrior of the Midwest short tracks and this past weekend he waged a three-day battle at two different racetracks.
Pierce drove a Sprint Car at Berlin Raceway in Marne, MI on Friday and Saturday nights. In fact, he scored a top-five finish on Friday. On Sunday, he travelled southeast to Plymouth, IN and started the Mid-Summer Championship in his CRA Super Late Model from the 13th slot. Pierce drove it pretty hard to the front of the field, but ran out of steam and a whole lot more near the end of 125-laps.
“Ran out of tires and out of liquid. This is the third straight day I’ve been in a racecar. I had a long weekend,” said Pierce, who finished fourth. “I screwed myself qualifying a little bit and I got up there a little too quick; I guess I was used to that wing on that Sprint Car. I got up there and pressed him for the lead a little bit. Then I laid back and tried to let himself wear his stuff out, but it didn’t happen.”
- 30 Super Late Models were on hand at Plymouth Speedway.
- There were ten lead changes by four drivers, Tyler Roahrig, Boris Jurkovic, Terry Fisher Jr., and Eddie Hoffman.
- There were 11 cautions in the event.
- Three-time series champion Scott Hantz scored his fifth top-five finish of the year with a fifth place run. Hantz qualified poorly (17th) and worked his way through the field mainly due to attrition.
- Tyler Roahrig was strong in his family-owned #24 for the second straight week. He led laps early and was running in the top-five when the trailing arm mount broke.
- Boris Jurkovic was fast in his former Kyle Busch Motorsports machine, but after contact with Fisher and then being squeezed by Hantz going into turn three at one point of the race, something appeared to break on his #53 machine. Jurkovic had made contact with Hantz the prior corner.
- Brian Campbell made a start in the CRA SS at Plymouth and finished 21st after getting involved in one of the 11 cautions on the day. The #21 machine he was racing is co-owned by MRN announcer Jeff Streigle. Campbell will return to his own BOYNE Machine car for the Redbud 300.
- CJ Leary was the driver of the second Welch & Wilson car (#14) at Plymouth. The open-wheel racer finished 12th.
- Former series champion Brian Ross finished 8th with a crate engine in his Super Late Model.
- Kenny Tweedy started 20th, drove to the top-three, was penalized for rough driving, went to the back and drove back up to finish sixth.
- Last year’s CRA SS Rookie of the Year Nick Gullatta scored his second straight top-10 finish.
- Brent Jack picked up his third-straight top-10 finish on the CRA SS despite making nearly ten pitstops during the race.
-The next CRA Super Series event is at Anderson Speedway on Monday, August 1st. It will be the third-consecutive year for the resurrected Redbud 300.