Rick Conoyer has competed all season long at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 but had yet to go to Victory Lane. That was, until Friday night, when he led every lap of the DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals Feature, collecting his second career victory with the tour and snapping four-time and defending champion Nick Hoffman’s perfect season.
“To beat those guys, it’s phenomenal,” Conoyer said.
Prior to Friday night, The Destroyer had only one other Summit Modified victory in his career – June 30, 2018, right at I-55. Nearly four years in the making, and the Wentzville, MO-native drives back to Victory Lane in the biggest way, defeating the most stacked field of DIRTcar UMP Modifieds the track has hosted all year.
The race was 25 laps, but it seemed like an eternity in the cockpit for Conoyer, knowing Hoffman started one row behind him at the drop of the green.
“That whole race I was driving out there, the car was so good,” Conoyer said. “I was on like a Sunday cruise. But I kept looking over my shoulder like, ‘Where’s the 2 car? Where’s the 2 car? He’s gotta be coming, because I’m running like quarter-throttle, half-throttle tops.’”
Crossing the stripe with two-to-go, polesitter Will Krup was right on Conoyer’s rear bumper with a small cluster of lapped traffic in front. Conoyer dove into Turn 1 in the middle, opening the door for Krup down low. Conoyer defended down the backstretch and through Turns 3-4 with Krup right on him, using the lapped car as a pick.
“Then we got into lapped traffic and I was like, ‘Oh boy, just don’t make a stupid move,’” Conoyer said. “Will [Krup] came in there and ran me clean as a whistle, and I can’t be more happy. I just can’t.
“I just about gave it up when I saw the white flag. I was on the outside of that lapped car, and I just about went around the outside of him. If I would’ve, I’d have slid up, and he would’ve got me. So, I dove down to the bottom and just protected.”
Hoffman crossed the line right where he started, in third. This effectively ends his perfect season at seven-straight victories, though he still sits way out front in Summit Modified points.
“I just needed to be a little bit more compliant,” Hoffman said about what his car needed in the Feature. “I was way too stiff. I never really felt like my right-rear tire was in the racetrack.”
At various points through the Feature, Hoffman did get a look underneath Krup for second, but couldn’t get the bite he needed to make the pass. He eventually faded back comfortably in third, and crossed the stripe to complete the podium.
“My only shot was to try and clean that one lane up a little bit and get underneath [Krup], because he wasn’t gonna leave that middle where most of the grip was,” Hoffman said.
The Summit Modifieds are back in action Saturday night at I-55 for the St. Louis Firecracker Faceoff finale; watch all the action live on DIRTVision.
ABBREVIATED RESULTS (view full results)
Feature 25 Laps | 00:09:28.266
- 14C-Rick Conoyer; 2. K9-Will Krup; 3. 2-Nick Hoffman; 4. 8-Kyle Steffens; 5. 36-Kenny Wallace; 6. 1D- Dean Hoffman; 7. 25-Tyler Nicely; 8. 10X-Jim Black; 9. 59R-Jacob Rexing; 10. 12L-Lucas Lee; 11. J82-Treb Jacoby; 12. 130-Chase Allen; 13. 4T-Jake Trebilcock; 14. 327-Chuck Goodman; 15. 24D-Jesse Dill; 16. 18L-Michael Long; 17. 1A-Steve Meyer Jr; 18. 7P-Dennis Ponder; 19. 23-Dylan Sharp; 20. 77S-Rick Stevenson; 21. M41-Steve Maisel; 22. 96-Curtis Rodenhaber