By Tony Baranek

Schererville, Ind. (Aug. 27) – Blake Brown sat in his No. 71 on the scales after Saturday night’s late-model feature victory at the ASA-sanctioned Illiana Speedway. He had to have weighed less than he did at the start of the race. When you’ve got Eddie Hoffman chasing you down and challenging you all the way to the finish line, you can’t help but sweat. “Yeah, it wouldn’t have been a normal Saturday night at Illiana if me and Eddie weren’t racing each other,” he said. “But it’s fun to do it for the win.” It was 0.064 seconds at the checkered flag, tighter even than that as they roared out of Turn 4 for the final time. Only a scant few points separated them at the top of the late-model standings. That didn’t change much as they head into the championship night next Saturday. Whether Hoffman is there to try to claim his first career Illiana title is up in the air. He’s scheduled to race in Michigan on the same night in a traveling series race. If Brown had his choice… “I wish that we’d win the championship without anything given to us,” he said. Saturday’s feature, meanwhile, saw Jack Kalwasinski lead the first lap of the race, before giving way to Richie Dawson. Dawson, who would later drop out with mechanical problems, ran very well in the front for four laps before Brown went from third to first on a lap 6 restart. Brown maintained a fairly comfortable lead over Anthony Danta, and then Jeff Cannon, and was still several car-lengths ahead when Hoffman grabbed second place on lap 17. But a yellow flag on lap 20 changed the whole dynamic. Hoffman lurked behind Brown for several laps, and then two laps from the finish made his move. He got underneath Brown on two occasions, including the final lap. He was a half car-length ahead on the bottom when they exited Turn 4, but Brown out horsepowered him to the line. “I just needed a couple more laps to work on by,” Hoffman said. “I just ran out of time. I was in the back there for a little while. We just ran out of laps.” John Nutley, the third player in the chase for the championship, finished third, a half-second behind the winner. Cannon, Danta and Kalwasinski completed the top six.



Eddie Wolf boosted his chances to claim the turbo stox title with a victory in the 25-lap feature over Brian Kucaba. He had Johnny Senerchia on his tail most of the way, but a last turn melee resulted in Brian Kucaba scooting around both Senerchia and Jacob McKown to claim second. The closest driver to Wolf in the points chase, Chris Woodall, was eliminated on lap 12 when Cheryl Hyrn and Jim Gilbert tangled, resulting in Gilbert slamming into the wall, spinning to the infield, and collecting Woodall. “I hate to take the points lead by Chris having trouble like he did,” Wolf said. “We’re basically team cars and we run each other good. I’ll be working on his car so that he can come back next week.” Gilbert and Woodall both had to leave the track. Hryn was sent to the back for the restart, but rallied for a fifth-place finish ahead of Bobbie Jean Wall.


The Legends feature was a runaway, with Alex Arelano taking the lead on lap 13 and beating Craig Mahoney by 2.568 seconds. The pure stocks main went to Phil Sallay over Chris Czaszwicz, while Stan Zolodz held off Kenny Myer in the bandolero finale.


SUMMARY

Late-Model

Fast time: Eddie Hoffman (19.524). 1st heat: 1. Jeff Cannon, 2. Blake Brown. 2nd heat: 1. Paul Zolodz, 2. Len Nowosel. 3rd heat: 1. Phil Splant, 2. Richard Ruckh. Last chance: 1. Zolodz, 2. Dean Patterson. 30-lap feature: 1. Brown, 2. Hoffman, 3. John Nutley, 4. Cannon, 5. Anthony Danta.

Turbo Stox

Fast time: Eddie Wolf. 1st heat: 1. Pat Ligue, 2. John Senerchia. 2nd heat: 1. Dylan Harmon, 2. Bobbie Jean Wall. 25-lap feature: 1. Wolf, 2. Brian Kucaba, 3. Senerchia, 4. Jacob McKown, 5. Cheryl Hryn.

Legends

Fast time: Alex Arelano (17.444). Heat: 1. Paul Shafer Jr., 2. Matt O’Leary. 20-lap feature: 1. Arelano, 2. Craig Mahoney, 3. Jimmy Uteg III, 4. Andrea Hans, 5. O’Leary.

Pure stocks

1st heat: 1. Mike Wojcik, 2. David Diericks. 2nd heat: 1. Chris Czaszwicz, 2. Phil Sallay. 12-lap feature: 1. Sallay, 2. Czaszwicz, 3. Matt Baikie, 4. Alex Treptow, 5. Michael Gerike.

Bandoleros

Heat: 1. Stan Zolodz, 2. Kenny Myer, 3. Caleb Hepner. Feature: 1. Zolodz, 2. Myer, 3. Hepner.