Luis Torres Photo

CHAMP STRIKES FIRST: Hoffman Kicks off 50th DIRTcar Nationals with 18th Career Event Win at Volusia

Spalding pleased with runner-up after leading most, Arpin sixth in return to Volusia

There was just no stopping the five-time and defending DIRTcar Nationals champion Tuesday night.

Nick Hoffman scribed yet another chapter in his big book of DIRTcar UMP Modified dominance at Volusia Speedway Park with his 18th Feature win in event history, making the pass on eventual runner-up Curt Spalding in the second half of the race after a restart to claim victory.

Chilly temperatures and a smooth, slick racing surface made for ideal track conditions for the two-time and defending DIRTcar UMP Modified national points champion to race on.

“Normally I suck earlier in the week here. It’s normally pretty fast and I’m just not as good in that condition. For it to be this slick already this early in the week, hats off to the track prep crew. It’s way easier on equipment and makes our week a hell of a lot easier when the track is slower,” Hoffman said.

Volusia’s track surface was just recently redone, which presented each driver with a new element to take into account as they selected tire compounds for the 20-lap Feature.

“I just went harder on tire than them guys around me, so that definitely paid off by the end of the race,” Hoffman said. “My cars just work way better on a harder tire, so it was kind of a no-brainer for me.”

Hoffman, of Mooresville, NC, put those tires to the test almost immediately, taking second from his fourth-place starting spot in just five laps. Spalding, of Watervliet, MI, had jumped to the lead from the outside pole and had a decent gap on Hoffman in the opening circuits, until Hoffman turned on the jets and closed the gap to just a car-length as they approached halfway.

A caution flag on Lap 9 reset the field gave Spalding his first test on the restart, which he solidly passed by keeping Hoffman at bay behind him, but only for a few more times around. Another yellow on Lap 13 put Hoffman right behind him once more, and Spalding knew what was coming.

“I knew he was gonna banzai me,” Spalding said. “I was pretty good in [Turns] 3 and 4, and he had to get me passed in 1 and 2, and I knew it.”

Hoffman got a tremendous run to Spalding’s outside as they took the green on the restart, then blasted off again out of Turn 2 to complete the pass as they raced down the backstretch.

“I was able to roll down the hill and get the momentum on the front-straightaway, and I was actually just riding at [Spalding’s] quarter-panel, running at about quarter-throttle so that way, when he peeled-off to run the bottom, I could just gas-up and drive back by him,” Hoffman said.

Spalding was able to maintain second through the checkered flag while Hoffman cruised to the victory by almost five seconds. Despite giving up the lead in the second half, he was very pleased with his performance.

Luis Torres Photo

“We’re very happy,” Spalding said. “To unload with this caliber of cars and get the job done, we’re pretty happy.”

Tyler Nicely, of Owensboro, KY, crossed the line in third after a strong drive from fifth. The most recent Emil & Dale Reutimann Memorial winner found a hot rod early in the week with his new Longhorn by Loenbro chassis, as did fellow Loenbro pilot Steve Arpin, who placed sixth in his first race back in his own car at Volusia since 2008.

Polesitter David Stremme crossed the stripe in fourth after slipping back in the first half, but his Lethal Chassis cars looked strong, especially with fellow Lethal racer Spalding going runner-up.

The DIRTcar UMP Modified action continues from the 50th DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park Wednesday night with another 20-lap, $1,000-to-win program in race #2 of 7 for the division. Catch all the action live on DIRTVision!

DIRTcar UMP Modified Feature (20 Laps) 1. 2-Nick Hoffman [4]; 2. 5S-Curt Spalding [2]; 3. 25-Tyler Nicely [5]; 4. 35-David Stremme [1]; 5. 17X-Richard Michael [6]; 6. OOEH-Steve Arpin [13]; 7. 36-Kenny Wallace [7]; 8. 3L-Jeff Leka [10]; 9. K19-Will Krup [3]; 10. 96M-Mike McKinney [12]; 11. 6A-Ryan Ayers [27]; 12. 7-Justin Allgaier [20]; 13. O5-Dave Wietholder [9]; 14. 80-Rich Dawson [25]; 15. 12H-Jason Hughes [8]; 16. 25W-Allen Weisser [29]; 17. 49-Brian Ruhlman [19]; 18. 4T-Zeke McKenzie [11]; 19. 51-Brandon Green [18]; 20. 9-Ken Schrader [17]; 21. T9-Ryan Thomas [28]; 22. 11H-Spencer Hughes [32]; 23. 7T-Drake Troutman [16]; 24. 11J-Justin Haley [15]; 25. 67-Garret [31]; 26. 12L-Lucas Lee [23]; 27. 45H-Kyle Hammer [30]; 28. 45-Johnny Broking [24]; 29. 88-Matt Crafton [26]; 30. 23-Ryan Cripe [14]; 31. 77-Ray Bollinger [22]; 32. 99-Hunt Gossum [21] Hard Charger: 6A-Ryan Ayers[+16]

Qualifying Flight-A 1. 12H-Jason Hughes, 18.369; 2. 3L-Jeff Leka, 18.568; 3. 9-Ken Schrader, 18.753; 4. 25-Tyler Nicely, 18.844; 5. 11-Jesse Rupe, 18.845; 6. 114-Clayton Bryant, 18.866; 7. 80-Rich Dawson, 18.869; 8. 51-Brandon Green, 18.89; 9. 97-Mitch Thomas, 18.914; 10. 15-Joey Miller, 18.948; 11. 2J-Troy Johnson, 19.056; 12. 25W-Allen Weisser, 19.066; 13. O5-Dave Wietholder, 19.115; 14. 32-Chad Roush, 19.115; 15. 44-KC Burdette, 19.117; 16. 24-Travis Dickson, 19.311; 17. 9PG-Percy Gendreau, 19.451; 18. 83-Brianna Robinson, 19.557; 19. 12-John McClure, 19.84; 20. 89W-Rick Weitekamp, 20.22; DNS. A1-Gary Bentley, NT; DNS. 78-Rich Pratt, NT; DQ. 7+7-Jeff Solinger, 20.121

Qualifying Flight-B 1. 2-Nick Hoffman, 18.118; 2. 35-David Stremme, 18.529; 3. 4T-Zeke McKenzie, 18.61; 4. 7-Justin Allgaier, 18.616; 5. 49-Brian Ruhlman, 18.624; 6. 96M-Mike McKinney, 18.661; 7. 45H-Kyle Hammer, 19.081; 8. 17T-Tyler Evans, 19.132; 9. 22T-Tony Anderson, 19.23; 10. 2A-Matt Altiers, 19.248; 11. 176-Scotty Owens, 19.251; 12. 6B-Dave Baldwin, 19.263; 13. 95-Michael Altobelli, 19.278; 14. 463-Daniel Sanchez, 19.364; 15. 88S-Chris Smith, 19.481; 16. 88-Matt Crafton, 19.485; 17. 60-Shannon Fisk, 19.489; 18. 6-Ryan Fowler, 19.782; 19. 21D-Danny Schwartz, 19.862; 20. 8-David Pinkerton, 20.001; 21. 8A-Austin Holcombe, NT; 22. 11N-Gene Nicholas, NT; 23. 77S-Jim Shipman, NT

Qualifying Flight-C 1. 36-Kenny Wallace, 18.658; 2. 23-Ryan Cripe, 18.924; 3. 67-Garret Stewart, 18.948; 4. K19-Will Krup, 19.197; 5. 99-Hunt Gossum, 19.248; 6. 77-Ray Bollinger, 19.256; 7. OOEH-Steve Arpin, 19.29; 8. 72-Todd Neiheiser, 19.32; 9. 31G-Stephen Pedulla, 19.329; 10. 15B-Dave Baker, 19.383; 11. 27G-Jason Garver, 19.564; 12. 6A-Ryan Ayers, 19.622; 13. 7F-Bryan Foy, 19.623; 14. 4-Craig Shaw, 19.755; 15. 22J-John Baker, 19.893; 16. 81-Steve Axtell, 19.975; 17. 62E-Kim Edington, 20.015; 18. O1-Earnie Woodard, 20.061; 19. 33-Ken Mihalik, 20.116; 20. 57-Mark Grosvenor, 20.166; 21. 59-Doug Stine, 20.966; 22. 27-Tom Wakefield, 21.285; 23. 27S-Paul Schloss, 22.024

Qualifying Flight-D 1. 12L-Lucas Lee, 18.979; 2. 5S-Curt Spalding, 19.106; 3. 11J-Justin Haley, 19.116; 4. 45-Johnny Broking, 19.124; 5. 17X-Richard Michael, 19.149; 6. T9-Ryan Thomas, 19.321; 7. 11H-Spencer Hughes, 19.377; 8. 7T-Drake Troutman, 19.412; 9. 7D-Brad DeYoung, 19.474; 10. 74-Mike Franklin, 19.517; 11. 47-Collin Thirlby, 19.83; 12. 20-Tyler Hendrix, 19.864; 13. M41-Steve Maisel, 19.912; 14. 22K-Dale Kelley, 19.96; 15. Z1-Zac Oedewaldt, 20.01; 16. 21S-Kenny Shaw, 20.057; 17. 11Z-Zane Oedewaldt, 20.166; 18. 11M-Tyler Morehouse, 20.206; 19. 18L-Michael Long, 20.311; 20. 88B-Chris Bolyard, 20.588; 21. 40-Shawn Reiss, 20.689; 22. 5-Jerry Foster, 20.786; 23. 73-Mark Rhodes, 21.168

Heat #1 – Flight (A) (8 Laps) – Top 3 Transfer 1. 12H-Jason Hughes [1]; 2. O5-Dave Wietholder [7]; 3. 9-Ken Schrader [2]; 4. 80-Rich Dawson [4]; 5. 12-John McClure [10]; 6. 44-KC Burdette [8]; 7. 97-Mitch Thomas [5]; 8. 2J-Troy Johnson [6]; 9. 7+7-Jeff Solinger [12]; 10. 11-Jesse Rupe [3]; 11. 9PG-Percy Gendreau [9]; 12. A1-Gary Bentley [11]

Heat #2 – Flight (A) (8 Laps) – Top 3 Transfer 1. 25-Tyler Nicely [2]; 2. 3L-Jeff Leka [1]; 3. 51-Brandon Green [4]; 4. 25W-Allen Weisser [6]; 5. 114-Clayton Bryant [3]; 6. 15-Joey Miller [5]; 7. 32-Chad Roush [7]; 8. 24-Travis Dickson [8]; 9. 89W-Rick Weitekamp [10]; 10. 83-Brianna Robinson [9]; 11. 78-Rich Pratt [11]

Heat #3 – Flight (B) (8 Laps) – Top 3 Transfer 1. 2-Nick Hoffman [1]; 2. 4T-Zeke McKenzie [2]; 3. 49-Brian Ruhlman [3]; 4. 22T-Tony Anderson [5]; 5. 45H-Kyle Hammer [4]; 6. 95-Michael Altobelli [7]; 7. 176-Scotty Owens [6]; 8. 88S-Chris Smith [8]; 9. 60-Shannon Fisk [9]; 10. 21D-Danny Schwartz [10]; 11. 8A-Austin Holcombe [11]; 12. 77S-Jim Shipman [12]

Heat #4 – Flight (B) (8 Laps) – Top 3 Transfer 1. 35-David Stremme [1]; 2. 96M-Mike McKinney [3]; 3. 7-Justin Allgaier [2]; 4. 17T-Tyler Evans [4]; 5. 463-Daniel Sanchez [7]; 6. 88-Matt Crafton [8]; 7. 6B-Dave Baldwin [6]; 8. 2A-Matt Altiers [5]; 9. 6-Ryan Fowler [9]; 10. 8-David Pinkerton [10]; 11. 11N-Gene Nicholas [11]

Heat #5 – Flight (C) (8 Laps) – Top 3 Transfer 1. 36-Kenny Wallace [1]; 2. OOEH-Steve Arpin [4]; 3. 99-Hunt Gossum [3]; 4. 67-Garret Stewart [2]; 5. 31G-Stephen Pedulla [5]; 6. 27G-Jason Garver [6]; 7. 33-Ken Mihalik [10]; 8. 59-Doug Stine [11]; 9. 27S-Paul Schloss [12]; 10. 7F-Bryan Foy [7]; 11. 22J-John Baker [8]; 12. 62E-Kim Edington [9]

Heat #6 – Flight (C) (8 Laps) – Top 3 Transfer 1. K19-Will Krup [2]; 2. 23-Ryan Cripe [1]; 3. 77-Ray Bollinger [3]; 4. 6A-Ryan Ayers [6]; 5. 15B-Dave Baker [5]; 6. 72-Todd Neiheiser [4]; 7. 81-Steve Axtell [8]; 8. O1-Earnie Woodard [9]; 9. 4-Craig Shaw [7]; 10. 57-Mark Grosvenor [10]; 11. 27-Tom Wakefield [11]

Heat #7 – Flight (D) (8 Laps) – Top 3 Transfer 1. 17X-Richard Michael [3]; 2. 11J-Justin Haley [2]; 3. 12L-Lucas Lee [1]; 4. 7D-Brad DeYoung [5]; 5. 11H-Spencer Hughes [4]; 6. 11Z-Zane Oedewaldt [9]; 7. Z1-Zac Oedewaldt [8]; 8. 47-Collin Thirlby [6]; 9. M41-Steve Maisel [7]; 10. 18L-Michael Long [10]; 11. 40-Shawn Reiss [11]; 12. 73-Mark Rhodes [12]

Heat #8 – Flight (D) (8 Laps) – Top 3 Transfer 1. 5S-Curt Spalding [1]; 2. 7T-Drake Troutman [4]; 3. 45-Johnny Broking [2]; 4. T9-Ryan Thomas [3]; 5. 21S-Kenny Shaw [8]; 6. 74-Mike Franklin [5]; 7. 20-Tyler Hendrix [6]; 8. 88B-Chris Bolyard [10]; 9. 22K-Dale Kelley [7]; 10. 11M-Tyler Morehouse [9]; 11. 5-Jerry Foster [11]

Last Chance Showdown 1 (10 Laps) – Top 2 Transfer 1. 80-Rich Dawson [1]; 2. 25W-Allen Weisser [2]; 3. 44-KC Burdette [5]; 4. 32-Chad Roush [8]; 5. 24-Travis Dickson [10]; 6. 114-Clayton Bryant [4]; 7. 15-Joey Miller [6]; 8. 7+7-Jeff Solinger [11]; 9. 12-John McClure [3]; 10. 2J-Troy Johnson [9]; 11. 83-Brianna Robinson [14]; 12. 9PG-Percy Gendreau [15]; 13. 97-Mitch Thomas [7]; 14. 89W-Rick Weitekamp [12]; 15. 11-Jesse Rupe [13]; 16. 78-Rich Pratt [16]; 17. A1-Gary Bentley [17]

Last Chance Showdown 3 (10 Laps) – Top 2 Transfer 1. 88-Matt Crafton [6]; 2. 45H-Kyle Hammer [3]; 3. 17T-Tyler Evans [2]; 4. 22T-Tony Anderson [1]; 5. 95-Michael Altobelli [5]; 6. 8A-Austin Holcombe [15]; 7. 463-Daniel Sanchez [4]; 8. 88S-Chris Smith [9]; 9. 176-Scotty Owens [7]; 10. 60-Shannon Fisk [11]; 11. 6B-Dave Baldwin [8]; 12. 6-Ryan Fowler [12]; 13. 2A-Matt Altiers [10]; 14. 21D-Danny Schwartz [13]; 15. 8-David Pinkerton [14]; 16. 11N-Gene Nicholas [16]; 17. 77S-Jim Shipman [17]

Last Chance Showdown 3 (10 Laps) – Top 2 Transfer 1. 6A-Ryan Ayers [2]; 2. 67-Garret Stewart [1]; 3. 31G-Stephen Pedulla [3]; 4. 15B-Dave Baker [4]; 5. 72-Todd Neiheiser [6]; 6. 33-Ken Mihalik [7]; 7. 81-Steve Axtell [8]; 8. 57-Mark Grosvenor [14]; 9. 59-Doug Stine [9]; 10. O1-Earnie Woodard [10]; 11. 4-Craig Shaw [12]; 12. 27G-Jason Garver [5]; 13. 22J-John Baker [15]; 14. 27-Tom Wakefield [16]; 15. 27S-Paul Schloss [11]; 16. 7F-Bryan Foy [13]; 17. 62E-Kim Edington [17]

Last Chance Showdown 4 (10 Laps) – Top 2 Transfer 1. T9-Ryan Thomas [2]; 2. 11H-Spencer Hughes [3]; 3. 74-Mike Franklin [6]; 4. 47-Collin Thirlby [9]; 5. 7D-Brad DeYoung [1]; 6. 11M-Tyler Morehouse [14]; 7. 18L-Michael Long [13]; 8. 22K-Dale Kelley [12]; 9. Z1-Zac Oedewaldt [7]; 10. 88B-Chris Bolyard [10]; 11. 20-Tyler Hendrix [8]; 12. M41-Steve Maisel [11]; 13. 11Z-Zane Oedewaldt [5]; 14. 40-Shawn Reiss [15]; 15. 21S-Kenny Shaw [4]; 16. 5-Jerry Foster [16]; 17. 73-Mark Rhodes [17]