Erie, Colorado (June 7, 2003)--Eddie Hoffman won the NASCAR Elite Division, International Truck and Engine Corporation Midwest Series, Auto Trader 150, Saturday night at Colorado National Speedway. The win was his second of the season and capped...
Erie, Colorado (June 7, 2003)--Eddie Hoffman won the NASCAR Elite Division, International Truck and Engine Corporation Midwest Series, Auto Trader 150, Saturday night at Colorado National Speedway. The win was his second of the season and capped off a wild finish that saw three different leaders in the closing laps.
Steve Carlson chased Hoffman across the stripe with Justin Diercks third. Ron Breese, Jr and Jon Lemke rounded out the top five.
Pete Moore started the 150-lap race from the pole position and took the lead at the drop of the green with Ken Walter, Brian Hoppe, Michael Gallegos and Jeff Way giving chase.
Moore led the first 36 laps before Hoppe worked by. Meanwhile, Carlson quickly worked up from his 11th starting position. The three-time Colorado National Speedway series winner cracked the top-five just 27 circuits into the race.
Trevor Morrical and Walter brought out a brief caution when they spun together on the front straightaway, directly in front of the leaders.
When the field was set back underway, Hoppe led with Carlson, Lemke, Gallegos, Breese and Hoffman giving chase. After scoring his first Bud Pole fast qualifier award of the 2003 campaign, Hoffman lined up 10th after the mandatory series invert.
"It took me the first half of the race to figure out that there was an outer groove out there that was pretty good," said Hoffman.
Carlson stalked Hoppe until a lap 101 solo spin by rookie Mark Voigt tightened the field. Once back under green, Carlson wasted no time moving to the outside of the leader and quickly working past him. Hoffman learned from Carlson's move and went around Hoppe a lap later.
Three laps later Hoffman got by Carlson and his assault to the front was complete. Hoppe used the opening created by Hoffman and also went by Carlson, relegating him to the third spot.
"We were pretty fast there for awhile, the car started getting lose," said Carlson. "Finishing second is pretty good though."
Jeff Way brought out a caution late in the chase to tighten the field. Hoffman was scored the leader on the lap 135 restart but was pressured by Hoppe. With just three laps to go, Hoppe nudged Hoffman out of the way as the pair raced off of turn two and assumed the lead. Hoffman retaliated as the pair roared into turn three. Hoppe spun and Hoffman slid by to reassume the lead.
"This was a big win," said Hoffman. "It wasn't exactly the way we wanted to do it, but it's getting old getting run into. This one goes back a couple of years."
Hoppe's spin brought out the final caution of the race and, due to series rules which mandate a green-flag finish, extended the distance to 157 laps.
Carlson was unable to do anything with the leader over the green-white-checkered finish. While Hoffman, Hoppe and Carlson were dicing for the win, Diercks very quietly worked his way up to a podium finish.
"I guess I was the beneficiary of some of the crazy things that was happening up front," said Diercks. "It took me a little while to get this place figured out tonight. I watched Steve run the outside and after that I decided to move it on up a groove and when I did I got a little faster and started coming on through."
For Breese, the Midwest Series point leader, his run was very impressive. After timing in 19th, he finished second in the last chance qualifying race to earn the 18th starting spot for the Auto Trader 150.
Victory Lane Chassis Rookie of the Year contender Jeremy Lepak crashed in the last chance qualifier and was forced to take a provisional starting spot to make the main event. He and his crew did yeoman's work to make repairs to his Chevrolet. After starting 22nd, Lepak raced his way to a sixth place finish and earned the POWERade Power Move of the race award.
At seventh, Bruce Yackey was the highest finishing Colorado driver. Rookie Eric Fransen, Ryan Hanson and Moore rounded out the top-10.
Breese takes a seven point advantage in the NASCAR Midwest Series championship standings into the next event, the AC Delco 250, Saturday, June 21, at Elko (Minn) Speedway.