PONTOON BEACH, IL – When Tanner English and the Riggs Motorsports team set out on the trail of chasing their first DIRTcar Late Model national points title this year, they knew following the DIRTcar Summer Nationals would be the perfect way to get as many good points finishes as possible.
Friday night at Tri-City Speedway, they got the best finish they could have hoped for in the most exciting way seen so far – denying Bobby Pierce’s last-lap, last-corner attempt for the win in front of several of their friends and family.
English, of Benton, KY, started outside pole of the 40-lap Feature and led every lap to collect the first $10,000 check handed out this season. But after the caution was thrown with three laps remaining, it was almost taken away from him.
Tour champions Brian Shirley and Pierce lined up on his bumper for the restart and both got great jumps as the green was thrown. Pierce took to the high side, got around Shirley for second and gunned it for leader English out of Turn 4 as they came to the white flag.
Pierce appeared to have a good run off of Turn 2 but nearly hit the wall on exit and was forced to lift as English led the charge into Turn 3 with the lead. English rolled it through the middle while Pierce went back up high, riding the cushion for the top-side speed.
Pierce tried to wedge his car between English and the outside Turn 4 wall but was unsuccessful. The two made contact just before the flag stand, slowing English only slightly as he crossed the line ahead of Pierce for his second career Summer Nationals Feature win.
“I knew Bobby was coming, I knew Shirley was there. I had to make my car real wide on the last lap. I didn’t want to, but it’s ten grand, and I led the whole thing. I wanted that one pretty bad,” English said.
In Victory Lane, English was relieved to get the win but would have rather done without the late restart.
“That always kills me – that late caution. I saved my tires, and they weren’t real hot, so they don’t take off on restarts,” he said.
Having been on the other side of last-lap passing situations before, English was happy to see it fall his way for some big money.
“It seems like I gotta do that all the time – I tend to lose them pretty late. Seems like I’ve done that my whole career. I get them wrapped up and lose them at the end. It’s pretty cool to win this one,” English said.
The Summer Nationals action continues Saturday night with Round #5 at the Fairbury Speedway. Catch all the action live on DIRTVision.
Feature (40 Laps) 1. 81E-Tanner English; 2. 32-Bobby Pierce; 3. 3S-Brian Shirley; 4. 25-Jason Feger; 5. 18-Shannon Babb; 6. 21JR-Billy Moyer Jr; 7. 99JR-Frank Heckenast Jr; 8. 9-Devin Moran; 9. 32S-Chris Simpson; 10. 15-Kolby Vandenbergh; 11. 48-Tim Lance; 12. 14G-Joe Godsey; 13. 82-Billy Laycock; 14. 4G-Bob Gardner; 15. 0-Dewayne Kiefer; 16. 12-Ashton Winger; 17. 248-Brandon Lance; 18. 2-Allen Murray; 19. 24-Ryan Unzicker; 20. 74-Mitch McGrath; 21. 26M-Brent McKinnon; 22. 14-Paul Kuper; 23. 11-Gordy Gundaker
FOUR-PACK: Hoffman Wins at Tri-City for Fourth-Straight Summit Modified Triumph
Even with the extreme heat and the big names in the house, nothing was able to shake the momentum of three-time and defending Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals champion Nick Hoffman Friday night.
For the fourth night in-a-row, Hoffman reached Victory Lane, leading flag-to-flag in the 25-lap Feature at Tri-City Speedway.
Hoffman, of Mooresville, NC, took on the 100-degree-plus heat and his best competition thus far with six-time tour champion Mike Harrison making his first Summit Modified appearance of the season.
“Especially today with the heat index of over 110, and then ripping the nose off in qualifying, it’s pretty brutal. This one today took a toll on us,” Hoffman said.
Harrison, already with five UMP Modified Feature wins at Tri-City this season, challenged Hoffman’s streak right off the bat by setting quick time in Qualifying. The rest of the event, however, was Hoffman’s strong suit.
Hoffman won his Heat Race, putting him into the redraw for a top-three starting spot in the Feature, but Harrison did not. He slipped back to third before the checkered fell in his Heat, forcing him to come from seventh in the Feature.
In the end, Harrison did not have enough to catch the defending tour champion, advancing three spots in 25 laps to finish fourth while Hoffman led every lap en route to his fourth-straight win.
“Any time Mike’s here, he’s pretty good on that ledge up there. Tonight, it just kinda worked out in our favor – it was middle-to-the bottom dominant and I was able to roll-on. “
The Summit Modified action continues Saturday night with Round #5 at the Fairbury Speedway. Catch all the action live on DIRTVision.
Feature (25 Laps) 1. 2-Nick Hoffman; 2. 25-Tyler Nicely; 3. 05-Dave Wietholder; 4. 24H-Mike Harrison; 5. 99-Hunt Gossum; 6. 14C-Rick Conoyer; 7. 36-Kenny Wallace; 8. 12L-Lucas Lee; 9. 1D-Dean Hoffman; 10. T6-Tommy Sheppard Jr; 11. 59R-Jacob Rexing; 12. 13-Charlie Mefford; 13. 87Z-Zeb Moake; 14. 7N-Tim Nash; 15. 8-Kyle Steffens; 16. 45-Kyle Hammer; 17. 44R-Anthony Reams; 18. 7-Blake Thompson; 19. 82Q-Cole Queathem; 20. 18L-Michael Long; 21. 66-Cole Falloway; 22. 54-Shaun Horstmann