Definitely one of the most remarkable achievements of this dirt racing season was that of Modified ace Nick Hoffman during the DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Summer Nationals. the 29-year-old driver notched 19 victories in 20 starts on that mini-series that contests most of its races in the Midwestern portion of the country. Along with those wins during the hottest time of the year, the driver who now lives and works out of Mooresville, North Carolina has taken an additional 18 checkered flags throughout the 2021 season.
Hoffman earned his fourth Summer Nationals championship with that stunning performance. During the heat of the moment the crew of the No. 2 Elite Chassis machine did not necessarily have to time think about the history they were making. Since then, however, the passage of time has allowed the driver and team to reflect on their accomplishments.
“It was pretty cool,” Hoffman declared in an interview with InsideDirtRacing.com. “At the time, we were just going on with our daily lives of racing everyday, you know, get up and do the same things as far as maintenance and making sure the body panels were straight and everything. At the time we didn’t realize what kind of streak we were on. Now you look back at it and it’s pretty unbelievable to sit back and look at what we did. It was really cool to be that dominant. Obviously we’ve been really good on the Summer Nationals over the last couple of years but to string that many together in a row is pretty cool.”
After having won 11 features before the start of the Summer Nationals, the five-time Volusia Speedway Park Gator Nationals champion was confident that he would run well. But of course, it would have been difficult to predict such a startling run of success.
“Obviously you hope to do that, you hope to win a bunch of races,” Hoffman said. “But that deal there, going into it this year was the first year I went into it after racing a bunch before hand. A lot of times I run Florida then I take March and April off and then get going in May then in June we start the Hell Tour. This time, I was running all through April and March and everything and I was winning a lot and winning a lot of big races. Going into it I felt like we had the dominant car in the country and I was really confident.”
Hoffman knew going into the mini-tour that some tracks suited his driving style quite well while others did not.
“The first one or two, those race tracks really fit my style and I’ve always run well at,” he explained. “The first one I think I was worried about losing was Tri-City, but I was able to win that one. Then that next week was all easy tracks for me and places I get around well. We ended up losing the second time at Tri-City, that was our first loss and our only loss. Some of those places just fit my style and some don’t so we just had to adjust for it and I had to make sure I was on my P’s and Q’s and stuff. The biggest thing was to go that many nights without a mechanical failure which says a lot for all my sponsors and the products I use on all my cars.”
Those accomplishments garnered much attention for Hoffman in the dirt racing world. The two-time UMP National Modified champion was able to parlay that success into a great opportunity in a highly coveted Late Model ride. Late in the summer, the native of Belleville, Illinois teamed with Scott Bloomquist and Cody Sommer of Scott Bloomquist Racing to drive one of that organization’s Team Zero Race Cars after Bloomquist temporarily departed the driver’s seat due to issues with his lower extremities that dated back to a 2019 motorcycle accident.
“This is a really good opportunity, the best opportunity I’ve ever had to be driving Scott’s car and to be teamed up with him and Cody and learn from Scott,” Hoffman pointed out prior to the running of a Castrol FloRacing Night in America event at the 411 Motor Speedway. “It’s really cool and we’ve run well. We’ve only got a couple of races left that I’m pretty excited about. Tonight we’re trying a different motor package than we’ve ever ran, this is an LS motor so we don’t know what will happen. The biggest thing was to run tonight to make sure it runs okay. We’re going to test Charlotte next week and race Charlotte in a couple of weeks. It’s been going really well. Scott’s really easy to work with for me and he teaches me a lot, not only on the chassis side but driving too. Obviously, he’s won everything there is to win five times. It’s pretty cool to drive this car.”
Going into the opportunity to take over the driver’s seat of one of the most iconic rides in motorsports, Hoffman knew there would be pressure to perform. But he also knew that the source of much of that pressure would come from within.
His best efforts to date in the No. 0 have been a runner-up result in one of the World 100 preliminaries at the Eldora Speedway along with a pair of third place finishes, one in a Topless 100 preliminary race at Batesville Motor Speedway and the other in this past Tuesday night’s FloRacing Night in America feature at 411.
Hoffman set fast time in qualifying, won his heat race and started the feature from the pole at 411.
“It just depends on who you talk to but everybody expects this car to go to victory lane,” he said. “I had a lot of pressure on myself at the beginning to just perform. I feel like we’ve done that. We haven’t won any races yet but we’re right in the hunt every single night, I ran second in my prelim night at Eldora and we were tracking down Overton in that heat race but then we blew up on the last Saturday night there.”
The young driver looks forward to the upcoming World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series-sanctioned World Finals in early November where he believes he will run well.
“We’ve been really fast,” Hoffman said. “I’ve exceeded my goals for how I wanted to run. Obviously, you want to win races but the biggest thing is getting in this thing and running up front every single night. I felt like we had a car that could have possibly won the Topless 100 but we lost brakes and ended up breaking a spindle. A couple of things haven’t fell our way but the success has been there and we’ve been pretty fast. I’m excited to go back to Charlotte, you know, places that I get around really well and see what we can do there.”
Hoffman ultimately hopes his relationship with Sommer will lead to bigger things in Late Model competition although he still hopes to maintain his ties to Modified racing as a driver and through his Elite Chassis business.
“We’re working on some stuff for next year,” he revealed. “Cody and Scott have announced they are going their separate ways. Cody was my in over here to get involved and Scott has welcomed me with open arms to do this deal. With them splitting ways, we’re going to try to do something different. So yeah, I’m looking for a full-time Late Model deal whatever that might be.
“I’ve got to make it worth my while to leave my business with my Modified program so it’s got to be a pretty good deal for me to step away from all of that. I still want to race my Modified as much as I can. I want to run 100 races a year whether it be a Modified, a Late Model, I’m going to run some Midget races and stuff like that so I try and do as much as I can, then from there, whatever opens up for me next year. I’m talking with a couple of different people so we’ll just see where it lands.”
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