Hoffman completed the clean sweep of the entire program by passing race long leader and pole-sitter, Anthony Danta on Lap 104 of the extended distance 125-lap Feature and from their, the Current ASALMS Northern Division Points Leader, made it two for two in North competition by bringing home the Feature Victory!
“This is such a special race for me, Tom (Car Owner Tom Kmak) and the entire T.K. Racing Team, it’s such an honor to win even one of these races and now we have four Appleton’s. I’m a little speechless right now!” An emotional Hoffman relayed in victory lane.”
“I knew the outside groove was coming in during the USPRO Cup Series Feature and with this race going 125 laps, I knew patience would be the key here.” Hoffman continued. “I knew Robbie (Pyle) would be taking off, so I just went to the outside groove and this car stuck! Tat normally doesn’t happen here!”
Prairie State driver, Anthony Danta and Mike Heiss led a star-studded 26-car field to chief starter, Tom Powell’s green flag to begin the extended distance 125-lap Feature as Danta would beat Heiss to the first corner to take the early lead while the rest of the field jockeyed for position on the tight 1/3 mile in Morris, Illinois.
Four cautions in the first 32 laps kept Danta from building any momentum as the most serious incident of the night involved Defending ASALMS Northern Division Champion, Trent Snyder who was involved in two of the cautions, the second the most serious as he and Alec Carll collided in Turn Two causing heavy damage to Snyder’s machine and ending his night.
All the while Danta continued to lead the field while Hoffman, who started eighth,
followed veterans, Nathan Haseleu and Robbie Pyle into the Top Seven as the trio
bided their time while the field sorted themselves out.
In the meantime up front, 15-year-old Brett Moffitt began showing some muscle and
challenged Heiss for the runner-up spot. After a lengthy battle Moffitt moved into
second place and began challenging Danta for the lead!
While that was going on, Pyle and Hoffman began their charge to the front after the
½ way signal was given while Haseleu faded and eventually dropped out with
Mechanical troubles. Pyle and Hoffman got up to the third and fourth spots and
Hoffman then began working the outside line and got around Pyle for third and
challenged Moffitt for second.
Hoffman again went to the outside of Moffitt and each time, Moffitt slammed the door
on the home track favorite. Finally Hoffman took the 15-year-old to school coming
out of Turn Two on Lap 96 and got by the Hawkeye State teenager with Pyle following
in his tire tracks and taking over the third spot.
Danta, who had pulled away from the pack while the action behind him had heated
up began feeling pressure from Hoffman and soon the Wheaton, Illinois driver was
on Danta’s back bumper! On Lap 104, Hoffman made the winning pass to take over
the lead with the crowd on their feet saluting the three-time Appleton Memorial Winner.
Pyle also got around Danta for second spot, but by that time, Hoffman began working
lapped traffic as the lapped car became a factor for the first time all race long with just
10 laps to go.
Hoffman lost Pyle in the lapped traffic and from their, the 48-year-old from Wheaton,
Illinois took home his second straight Feature of the day, his second consecutive ASALMS North Feature Win of the season, and fourth Appleton Memorial triumph!
His second straight North win followed his triumph in the 2008 ASALMS Northern Division Season Opener back on April 25, 2008 at O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis in the GunBroker.com 100 Presented by ASI Limited! In winning at his home track, Hoffman has a whopping 66-point lead heading to Toledo Speedway!
“There’s some really good competition this season in the Northern Division and we’ve been pretty fortunate too win the first two shows.” Added Hoffman in his post-race interview in victory lane. “We’re going to Toledo and LaCrosse for the next two in the North and then after that, we’ll see where we’re at and decide the rest of our North schedule.” Smiled the Illinois veteran.
Pyle finished second in one of his select ASALMS appearances and was happy with the results of the race. “We really enjoy running in the ASA Late Model Series and tonight sure was a lot of fun for us.” The Columbus, Ohio veteran, who now calls Oak Brook, Illinois home stated.
“Eddie is a great competitor and he’s tough to beat here, so we’ll take a second place.” The 39-year-old continued. “We’re running select shows in the North and Challenge Divisions and now we’ll get ready for Berlin and defend our title there.” He ended as he referred to the next ASALMS Challenge Division race on Saturday, June 14, 2008 at Berlin Raceway in Marne, Michigan.
Danta finished a career high third after leading the first 103 laps and was very happy with his finish despite leading all those laps. “It felt really good to lead so many laps and I knew those guys were coming, it was just a matter of when.” The Orland Park, Illinois driver said.
“I tried to not look in my mirror or look at the scoreboard to see who was where. We just wanted too win! I owe everything I have to my Father, Frank Danta. Without him I wouldn’t even be here!” Danta continued. “This is a family-owned team and to run with these guys and have a chance at a win is truly an accomplishment.” He ended.
Moffitt earned the $1000.00 Gift Certificate from Appleton Rack and Pinions by finishing as the Rookie of the Race in coming home a career high fourth. Mike Heiss finished off the Top Five in fifth. J.J. Motorsports teammate and rookies, Michael Pickens and Jeremy Miller were sixth and seventh while Dave Gentile Jr., Jesse Saunders, and Derek Neville completed the Top 10.
Earlier in the afternoon, Hoffman broke the track record for the ASALMS Northern Division over the 34-car field when he toured the 1/3 mile semi-banked paved oval at a 15.147 which measures out to 79.144 MPH. Jesse Saunders previously held the track record which was a 15.214.
In the 25-lap GM Performance Parts Shootout, Wes Griffith Jr., from near-by Frankfort, Illinois led all 25 laps to earn the 25th starting spot in the 10th annual George Appleton Memorial 125.
Only two cautions slowed things down and each time Griffith Jr., in his SteelDynamics.com Ford Fusion would get a good jump on 18-year-old Cody Smith and go on too win his first career ASALMS Win of any kind in three years of running in the ASALMS Northern Division.
Smith settled for second but more importantly earned the 26th and final starting spot in the 10th annual George Appleton Memorial 125. Griffin McGrath was the first car on the outside looking in as he finished third ahead of Kyle Hayden and 16-year-old Chad Finley, who completed the Top Five.
The next race for the ASALMS Northern Division is the third race of 12 on the 2008 schedule and will be the rescheduled Glass Breaker 125 set for this Sunday, June 1, 2008 at the fast ½ mile high-banked paved oval of Toledo Speedway, located right across the Michigan / Ohio state line in Toledo, Ohio.