Seventh annual Hope for Harlie weekend gives Hoffman a shot at 14 wins and $4,500 in potential winnings
MORGANTOWN, KY – With a dominant showing of 12 Feature wins, 16 top-fives and 16 top-10s across the 18 events he started with the tour this year, Nick Hoffman has officially clinched the 2020 DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals championship. But his drive isn’t done just yet.
This weekend, the now three-time Summit Modified champion takes his Federated Auto Parts #7 into the Bluegrass State to close out the tour, chasing the all-time single-season Feature wins record of 13, which he established last year.
The seventh annual Hope for Harlie event at Cedar Ridge Speedway, Sept. 18-19, will conclude the Summit Modified season on its championship weekend with two action-packed nights of DIRTcar UMP Modified racing and crown Hoffman with his third title in the last five seasons. A 30-lap, $1,500-to-win Feature is on deck for Friday while the big 40-lap, $3,000-to-win finale concludes the weekend on Saturday.
If Hoffman is able to make a sweep of the weekend, he’ll set the new single-season Feature win record at 14. Should he make the trip out to Kokomo Speedway for the Summit Modified portion of the Hoosier Dirt Shootuout makeup race on Friday, Oct. 23, he has the potential to make it 15 with a victory in the $5,000-to-win Feature there as well.
But for now, Hoffman is focused on the task at hand. Having won 22 Features in DIRTcar-sanctioned competition so far this year, he comes into the weekend as the clear favorite. However, several of the DIRTcar American Modified Series (AMS) regulars are expected to be in attendance, including one of Hoffman’s own customers at Elite Chassis, Tyler Nicely.
Nicely, the current AMS point-leader, comes into the weekend 34th in the national DIRTcar UMP Modified points standings with one win at Cedar Ridge back on July 18.
Nicely finished runner-up to Hoffman in the preliminary night of action at Cedar Ridge last year, just barely missing out on the $1,500 payday. Fellow Elite Chassis driver Will Krup scored the victory in Saturday night’s finale for his first career victory with the Summit Modifieds, becoming the 66th driver in tour history to win a Feature.
Each of these three drivers sports an Elite Chassis, fabricated by Hoffman at his shop in Mooresville, NC. Elite has accounted for 80 percent of the Feature wins on the Summit Modified tour so far this year and doesn’t appear to be backing down anytime soon. But the success for the brand isn’t just with the Summit Modifieds – it’s widespread.
“Right now, it’s going really well. Not just for myself, but for my customers that are out there winning. Obviously, you have McKinney, Krup and Nicely, who everybody expects to go out and win races. But guys like Derek Groomer, Jordan Wever, East Coast guys like Christian Thomas, Garrett Stewart, all picking up wins. It’s everywhere across the country,” Hoffman said.
This weekend, Hoffman and the Elite gang roll into the 3/8-mile, competition hungry and ready for war. While Cedar Ridge might not be one of Hoffman’s most familiar venues, he’s got his A-game ready to roll.
“The place is decently fast, actually one of the fastest places we go on the tour. It normally holds moisture all night, more of a red clay-type of racetrack and high banks. So, it’ll race pretty good,” Hoffman said.
Looking back on the incredible year he’s had thus far, Hoffman recalls one of his favorite victories of the season.
“For me to come back home and win in Pevely [MO] at I-55 [Raceway], winning that is really big and special for me,” he said. “I grew up in those grandstands, so to win that one is always special. It wasn’t the first time I’d won there, but it’s special. I watched my dad win what feels like 200 races there.”
Now armed with his third Summit Modified championship, several big-money victories this year and a chance at his second DIRTcar UMP Modified national points title at season’s end, this has been nothing short of one of the most dominating seasons in DIRTcar UMP Modified history. So, what’s next for the 28-year-old?
“It set out to be the best I can at whatever I do,” Hoffman said. “In the Modified ranks, I’ve been very successful and been able to win almost everything I’ve wanted to go after.”
“There’s still a lot more I want to be able to do in my racing career. I’d like to run a lot of Late Model races and be successful in Late Models too. We’re working on that, and I’ve had a lot of great opportunities with some great teams to run some Late Model races, I just need to get out and race some more.”
Until then, the three-time champ’s got a full weekend of work ahead of him.
Catch Hoffman and the rest of the DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals and American Modified Series field in-action this Friday and Saturday night at Cedar Ridge Speedway! Follow the tour on Twitter and like the tour page on Facebook @SummerNationals for all the updates throughout the weekend.