Orgeon, Wisc (June 16, 2001)-Brian Hoppe claimed his first RE/MAX Challenge Series, NASCAR Touring, win of the 2001 campaign, Saturday night, by winning the Havill-Spoerl 250 at Madison International Speedway. Hoppe shot past defending series ...
Orgeon, Wisc (June 16, 2001)-Brian Hoppe claimed his first RE/MAX Challenge Series, NASCAR Touring, win of the 2001 campaign, Saturday night, by winning the Havill-Spoerl 250 at Madison International Speedway. Hoppe shot past defending series champion Steve Carlson on lap 118 and cruised to a 2.653-second margin of victory. Carlson settled for runner-up honors with Eddie Hoffman, Dave Feiler, and Jeff Kendall rounding out the top five.
The win broke a six race series win streak for Carlson, dating back to the last three events of the 2000 season. "I don't know that this win was a statement," said Hoppe. "But we sure needed to prove to Steve and to ourselves that we hadn't forgot how to get to victory lane." Ron Breese, Jr led the first 13 laps from his pole starting position before giving way to the hard charging Carlson. Carlson cruised through the first 110 laps before a caution for debris on the speedway put the field under caution.
All the leaders came into pit under the caution on lap 112. Hoppe's crew put on new right side rubber and made an adjustment to the chassis. The tweak to the car's set up gave Hoppe just the advantage he needed, moving past Carlson just two laps after the field was put back under green. Two caution flags in the races second half tightened the field, but no one was able to make a serious challenge to Hoppe.
With just 10 laps to go, Hoffman and Bud Pole Fast Qualifier Feiler waged a spirited battle for the third spot. Hoffman finally took the spot, making an impressive charge from his 17th place starting spot. "That was a lot like work," Hoffman said of his run. "The car was really good all night, but my crew did a great job on our stop. I think we picked up four or five positions on pit lane."
Defending Madison International Speedway late model track champion, Eric Peterson, finished 11th and took top rookie honors while Hoppe led the most laps and laid claim to the Gatorade Front Runner award. With the win, Hoppe moved to second place in the championship point standings, 79 markers behind Carlson. The RE/MAX Challenge Series next travels to Elko (Minn) Speedway, June 22, for the running of the Race Car Engineering/Country Joe Homes 250.