Eddie Hoffman Adds One More All American 200 Guitar To The Collection by Jason Buckley
Veteran Racer Takes ASA Late Model Series Checkered
Musicians always love getting new equipment. A new drum kit, a new keyboard or a new guitar always puts a smile on the face of the player, especially when it is a top-notch piece of equipment. They usually can’t wait to break in the equipment by playing loud and proud, banging on the drums or keys, or plucking the strings of the guitar.
He doesn't play the guitar... but if he wanted to start, Eddie Hoffman has plenty to choose from. (51 photos)
Eddie Hoffman is a racer, not a guitar player, but he has managed to snag three special guitars over the years by winning races at Nashville (TN) tracks. Saturday Hoffman didn’t care if he could play “Stairway to Heaven” or a ripping riff from Eddie Van Halen. All he cared about was getting the trophy for the ASA Late Model Series All American 200 win at Music City Motorplex - the famous Copley guitar. By the end of the 200 laps of racing action, Hoffman found himself in victory lane, hoisting his fourth guitar trophy over his head in celebration.
“I don’t play guitar,” said Hoffman. “I will strum a guitar and my step-son plays guitar so he has played with them. They are more of a trophy than a guitar I think, and that is how we are going to take care of them. Mine is in a glass case.”
Hoffman’s run to the special trophy started by laying down the second fastest time during qualifying. After the series inverted the top 10, Hoffman started the race from the ninth position.
“We knew we had a good car in practice,” said Hoffman. “We were off a little bit in the spring race. We sort of got it back where we needed it. We qualified well and had a good start to the race where our line went.”
While Hoffman was working his way up to the front of the field, Jeremy Miller was the benefactor from the inversion, starting the race from the pole position. The early laps of the race belonged to Miller, who appeared to be just cruising around the historic track, logging laps. With about 20 laps until the halfway break, Miller saw his chances at the victory end with a hard slap into the fourth turn wall.
“On the restart there everything felt fine,” said Miller. “I drove it down into one and everything was fine. We went down into three and I lost brakes, lost everything. I went down in there and next thing I know I was in the wall. I think we broke a hub.”
Jeremy Miller looks over the damage on his car after crashing while leading the event.
The lead was then turned over to Brian Campbell, who had been running second to Miller since the green flag dropped. Campbell led the field around to the halfway break, and by that time Hoffman had worked his way up to the second position. Once they restarted, Jacob Goede was able to snag the third-place spot from Travis Dassow, and set his sights on the leaders.
“I started from 11th and I didn’t know I would have that kind of car to drive up there,” said Goede. “During practice we could never cut a fast lap, but we seemed to stay consistently fast the whole time so I thought we might be ok.
“At the beginning of the race it was alright, but the longer we went the better it got. It was a wild race. I gained a lot of positions just from silly wrecks. That is too bad for Jeremy Miller. I am guessing he broke a hub.”
Another “silly” wreck came with just 50 laps to go in the event when the three leaders tried to negotiate their way around the lapped traffic. Campbell pinched his car down coming off turn four to avoid a slower car and ended up spinning himself out of the lead, giving it to Hoffman.
“I tried to get Brian before the break and we had that caution,” said Hoffman. “Brian was a tick better in the second half and we were a tick loose, so Brian was going to be difficult. He just ran into bad luck with the lapped car and from there we had to hold our position through lapped traffic the rest of the way, but that is a part of it.
“There is going to be other cars out there. I have had cars that are a handful to drive and it is hard to keep them in one place all of the time. It is hard to slow down because you are out there driving a race car, so I knew that (Campbell’s spin) was a possibility and it happened. We had a couple more we had to get through as the race went on.”
When all was said and done, the race came down between Eddie Hoffman (#8) and Jacob Goede (#72).
For the last quarter of the race, Hoffman had to hold off charges from behind as Goede was able to make up ground around the lapped cars, but Hoffman kept his focus weaving around obstacles until he crossed the stripe for the checkered flag.
“The #72, Jacob, was there the whole second half of the race,” explained Hoffman. “We could shake him a little bit, and then he would close up on us, so we had to be really on our toes the entire race.
“My car was loose the whole second half. I had to be real easy on the gas pedal. I was worried it was going to get looser as the race went on, but it didn’t. It just stayed that way so I just learned how to drive it. My spotter kept telling me to hit my marks and run the little bit higher line.”
Behind the two front runners, Keeton Hanks was making a run for the guitar. Starting back in 16th, Hanks didn’t have time to lollygag to get to the front, which hurt his chances late in the race.
“Starting that far back, I went,” said Hanks. “I didn’t save tires one lap the entire race and that hurt us, but I had to be smart with my position of where I was on the track. I gave people room. There was a couple of times I was trail braking it going down the back stretch just to be nice to the guy in front of me. Everyone paid that back to me.
“The lapped traffic you never know about. I was being cautious around them. I knew I could run to them. If I wanted to push really hard I could have definitely gained some more ground on them, but passing them I didn’t see that. I just maintained patience and this is what we got.”
With one eye on Hoffman in front of him and the other on Hanks behind, Goede ran out of eyes to get the right lane around lapped cars, coming up short for the trip to victory lane.
“The lappers were kind of tough,” explained Goede. “It seemed like I needed to hit the line just perfect to make a good lap. The longer I was going I would get a little tighter. He (Hoffman) was just taking it easy and didn’t want to take any stupid chances I am sure, so that is why I probably gained on him in lapped traffic. Just there at the end he was a little better and there wasn’t anything I could do with him.
Eddie Hoffman has won so many times in Nashville, he's got his own fan base... and they have their own jackets.
“I came up one position short to Eddie, but that is ok. He is “Mr. Nashville” the way it seems. Also, second place is awesome compared to last year. I drove the Waltom car down here and it was a nightmare. We struggled all weekend. I wanted to come back here and redeem myself a little bit. I am very happy with our performance. It means a lot to me to be able to do this.”
On his drive for his fourth guitar, Hoffman enjoyed driving around the lappers. For him, it added a bit more entertainment, and meaning, to the win.
“I sort of live for that picking a lane, dipping and diving,” said Hoffman. “When you are the leader the pressure is on because you are the one that can make a mistake and lose a spot. When you are in second and third you really like those spots since you can’t hurt yourself. All you do is hope for a mistake from the guys in front of you. I think that is a part of racing and I enjoy it. I haven’t been bit in a while.”
At the end of the day, Hoffman will get to strum, or just stare, at his newest addition to
his Nashville guitar trophy collection. For Hoffman, it wasn’t just getting the special trophy that made the win special. Racing and winning on one of the most famous tracks in the country appeared to make him satisfied the most.
“Nashville (Music City Motorplex) is an extremely special place,” explained Hoffman. “I think it is probably the ultimate race track for the bigger traveling series. This is real racing with real racers, and it is pretty much the pinnacle. We love coming here.”