LEBANON, TN. (November 25 2001) - Eddie Hoffman picked up one of the famed Gibson guitars Sunday afternoon at Nashville Superspeedway winning the MBNA All American Thanksgiving Classic Gatorade All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring season ...
LEBANON, TN. (November 25 2001) - Eddie Hoffman picked up one of the famed Gibson guitars Sunday afternoon at Nashville Superspeedway winning the MBNA All American Thanksgiving Classic Gatorade All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring season finale.
Hoffman, who finished eighth in the RE/MAX Challenge Series, NASCAR Touring final points standing in 2001, made his third start with this series in 2001 a memorable one. He led the most laps (56) and earned the largest posted awards in his racing career, $24,350.
Finishing behind Hoffman's Lisa Thomas Salons/Appleton Rack and Pinion Chevrolet was another RE/MAX Challenge Series driver, Erik Darnell, in his All Modes Transportation Chevrolet, Benny Gordon in his Johnny's Haulmark Trailers Pontiac, Jeff Fultz in his C & C Boilers/Clever Brooks Chevrolet and Terry Mason Jr. in his CCC Group/M & R Pipe/Hamner Engines Chevrolet.
"This is the largest win of my racing career," said Hoffman. "We just didn't push the car that hard early because I could see what was happening on the track. This was definitely a one groove track. The cement track is different to drive and it is different on tires."
"Erik came on strong towards the end and I was a little concerned about him. He is a good driver and he came from one lap down. We didn't race that much against each other this year but everyone in Wisconsin is talking about him. I would let off going in the corners and then get back in the gas on the straightaways."
"A win like this is a testament to this entire crew. We enjoy racing with this series because we are getting some superspeedway experience," continued Hoffman.
Bud Pole Qualifying was rained out on Saturday thus the field was set per the NASCAR Rule Book putting series points leader Wayne Anderson's Jani-King Chevrolet at the point for the start of the race. Randy Gentry with his Carolina Title Lending/Carolina Payday Chevrolet started on the outside front row.
Since no qualifying took place, Jeff Fultz with two Bud Poles and three outside front row starts wins the Annual Bud Pole Award over Brian Smith. Anderson was out to win his second Gatorade All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring Championship and ran strong over the first 60 laps. Then the engine developed problems and he finally parked the car after 76 laps. "This team has not lost an engine in the three years I have been driving for Frankie Grill," said Anderson when celebrating his Championship. "I knew I had to finish 26 or better should Randy (Gentry) win the race but he also had problems and eventually was involved in an accident." Anderson was not the only race leader to have problems on the one groove speedplant as Cecil Chunn and Ray Skillman also went out of the 150-lap event after being involved in accidents.
But Hoffman was the man of the day as the Wheaton, ILL. driver just stayed close to the front. He took the point for the first time from Chunn on lap 63 as the two cars raced side by side on the backstretch of the 1.333-mile oval.
When just about all the leaders pitted for fresh Hoosier Shoes and Union 76 gas, Skillman stayed on the track taking the point for this first time this year in a series event.
When the field went back to racing, Hoffman was fourth in the field behind Roger Parker and Terry Mason Jr. Five laps later he moved into second behind Skillman and had to chase the leader down. On lap 103 Hoffman went back to the point.
Ten cautions periods kept the field bunched up with almost the entire field pitting again for new rubber on lap 107. Scott Hansen assumed the lead but it only took Hoffman six laps to regain the point which he maintained for the remainder of the event.
Rounding out the top ten finishers were 2001 Wireway/Husky Corporation Rookie of the Year Charlie Braderry, rookie contender Roger Parker who turned in his best run of the season, Ronnie Sanders making a rare appearance with this series, Hansen and Dusty Williams, another new driver on the series.
Anderson won his second series title over Gentry by 82 points while Bradberry won the rookie title of Jody Lavender by three points. Hoffman led the most laps and earned the Gatorade "FrontRunner" Award with his crew chief, John Signore winning the Jasper Engines and Transmissions Crew Chief of the race award. Hoffman also earned $1,000 from Gatorade in the Gatorade Championship Performance Award Competition.
The next event for the Gatorade All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring will be the 2001 Awards Ceremony on December 15 in Atlanta, Ga.