The ASA Late Model Series Northern Division rolled out for their 100-lap Feature [at Dixie Motor Speedway in Michigan] and after a 30-minute autograph session and a spirited in-car / on-track driver introduction, it would be Rookie of the Year Points Leader, Josh Nelms and 2008 USPRO Cup Series Champion, Dave Gentile Jr., leading the 20-car field to chief starter, Tom Powell’s green flag.
Nelms edged Gentile Jr., to the first corner to take the early lead while the rest of the field settled in for the century grind. Chris Eggleston, who started sixth, methodically drove his way up to the second spot and began challenging Nelms for the top spot.
16-year-old Ross Kenseth, the son of 2009 Daytona 500 Winner and 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup (Now Sprint Cup) Series Champion, Matt Kenseth, worked his way up to third and was right in the thick of things while not long after that, Defending ASALMS Northern Division Champion, Current Points Leader, and New Track Record Holder, Eddie Hoffman worked his way up to the leaders as well. Eggleston had been working on Nelms all this time and finally on lap 37, made the pass for the lead bringing Kenseth with him.
Kenseth searched high and low for a path around Eggleston while trying to fight off Hoffman at the same time. Things took a dramatic turn on lap 82 when Kenseth suddenly slowed in turn four and after the caution came out, was forced to pit with a flat tire. This placed Hoffman on Eggleston’s back bumper and the top two point’s men in the ASALMS Northern Division went at it tooth and nail.
Coming into the night, Hoffman held down a slim eight point lead over Eggleston so a potential battle for the 2009 ASALMS Northern Division Championship was brewing. On lap 90, a shower of sparks suddenly few out of the back end of Hoffman’s machine forcing the veteran driver to come to a stop in turn two with suspension damage, thus ending his night.
With just 10 laps to go, Eggleston tried again to pull away from the field when 17-year-old Chad Finley, who is part of the Brad Keselowski Racing Driver Development program, pulled into second place and tried in vain to reel in Eggleston.
Eggleston, who made the long haul from Erie, Colorado had built up a good sized lead over the field on the last restart and Finley simply ran out of time as Eggleston’s H20 Fire Protection Chevrolet would take the checkered flag to win the 3rd annual Mid-Michigan Dixie Challenge 100 and take over the 2009 ASALMS North points lead in the process!
This was Eggleston’s second career ASALMS Northern Division feature win as his first ever triumph came at the Grundy County Speedway in Morris, Illinois back on May 24th in the George Appleton Memorial 125.
Finley settled for second over Nelms, who recovered to finish a season high third. Griffin McGrath, who had to go to the rear of the field early in the race, bounced back to finish fourth over 2007 Dixie Motor Speedway Sportsmen Track Champion, Kyle Hayden, who picked up a career high fifth place finish. 19-year-old Jordan Sims came home sixth while Gentile Jr., Alec Carll, 18-year-old Brad Plunkett, and Kenseth, who recovered from his flat tire, completed the top 10.
Hoffman broke the track record for the ASALMS Northern Division at Dixie with a 15.251, which beat the old record previously held by current NASCAR Camping World East Series Rookie driver, Brett Moffitt, which was a 15.403.
The ASALMS Northern Divisions’ next race is at Dixie’s sister track to the West, the Owosso Speedway on Saturday, September 5th for the running of the Labor Day Holiday Weekend 100.