“The Thrill From Mooresville” sweeps the night at Farmer City Raceway and earns his third career World of Outlaws CASE Late Models Feature win


The checkered flag waited over an empty straightaway for the victor. Nick Hoffman’s NOS Energy Drink No. 9 Late Model was the first car in its line of sight entering Turn 3, but not cleanly. He pushed up the track, allowing Bobby Pierce to sneak underneath.

Who would it be? Pierce? He tried to slide ahead off Turn 4. But no, Hoffman was not letting his day end like this. With all four wheels off the track, in the loose dirt, making his own lane to the outside of Pierce, Hoffman edged the champion by 0.072 seconds to be the victor at Farmer City Raceway for the Illini 100 opener.

The victory – his third with the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Models and second this year – came after nearly giving up on attending the event. Early Friday morning, Hoffman had two blown tires on his hauler while making the trip to Farmer City.

Running on two hours of sleep and cans of NOS Energy Drink, the Mooresville, NC driver overcame the issue and piloted his Tye Twarog Racing Late Model to a career performance. He set the Dirt King Simulators Hottest Hot Lap of the night, earned the Simpson Quick Time Award, won his Heat Race and then won the 40-lap Feature.

“Last night, at 2 a.m., I blew two tires off my trailer, and I thought about going back home,” Hoffman said. “I’m running on two hours of sleep, but luckily, we’re sponsored by NOS Energy Drink, so it got us through the day. Swept the night and it’s pretty wild. I always joke and say you never win Hot Laps, but tonight, I did it all and that’s pretty damn cool.”

The only thing he didn’t win was the Bilstein Pole Award in the redraw, which went to Robeline, LA’s Cade Dillard.

He led the pack of 26 cars to the green flag, but Hoffman passed him for the race lead by the end of the second lap.

The Feature continued to stay under the green flag for 30 laps until two cautions struck with 10 laps to go, mounting the pressure on Hoffman to complete the night with a win.

Sitting behind him on the restart was Oakwood, IL native Bobby Pierce, who fought through the top-10 to place himself in a position to win the $10,000 prize.

The final laps saw Hoffman do all he could to hold off “The Smooth Operator,” keeping a gap between the two drivers. However, Pierce stayed enough in tow of the No. 9 that when the opportunity to win arose, he could strike.

That moment came on the white flag, as Hoffman made a bobble in Turns 3 and 4, opening the door for Pierce to make his move. The two drivers collided on the front stretch, with Pierce about sideways by the finish line and Hoffman on the horse track of the raceway.

Hoffman held enough of an advantage to score his first World of Outlaws win at Farmer City.

“The race car was great all night and didn’t have to tune on it too much,” Hoffman said. “I won a lot of races here in my Modified and turned tons of laps here in both a Late Model and Modified. It was pretty good there, didn’t wanna make it that exciting for sure. I wasn’t gonna do it like what I did to (Chris) Madden at Volusia.

“I knew (Pierce) was gonna try sliding me there, and I screwed up through (Turns) three and four there and hammered down to the finish line. I was impressed the scoring loop ran all the way down to the horse track because I was all the way off the track and still picked me up. Pretty wild. Not the way we wanted to win there, but I did what I had to do.”

Nick Hoffman and Bobby Pierce bang fenders on the way to the finish at Farmer City Raceway (Emily Schwanke)

Pierce finished second, originally thinking he had won the Feature. Despite coming up short, he was happy with how the car performed through the abundance of lap traffic he had to navigate – giving the reigning Series champion something to look forward to for Saturday night’s $20,000-to-win event.

“The car was really good,” Pierce said. “It allowed us to come up from sixth and I rallied to third quick before I got pushed off and fell back a bit so I had to work to get them all back. At that point in time, we were really fast, but it was a challenge. (Farmer City) is always really challenging, always up on the wheel and it’s a Illinois bullring for sure. You gotta be up on the wheel the whole race, a big ole cushion in Turns three and four.

“Nick never made a mistake there and until the last corner, I didn’t expect a good chance to come. I wasn’t even close! When he bobbled and got up on the cushion and got stuck up on it, I saw it out of the corner of my eye, so I gassed it and got ahead of him, and I expected him to come down and get me on the front. I don’t know how he made it work. I thought I won because I couldn’t see him because he was so far off the track. I guess they made the right call with the transponders and congrats to him. He drove a heck of a race out of that very last corner.”

Dillard completed Friday night’s podium finishers in third, hoping to have had a better shot at fighting Hoffman and Pierce for the win by the end of the Feature.

“I felt like once we got in the lap traffic, that was probably the only chance we had at (Hoffman) there,” Dillard said. “I wasn’t gonna drive into him, but I did not want the last caution to fly there. We were a little bit free at the end and we’ll work on it and try to be a little better tomorrow.”

New Waverly, TX driver Tyler Erb finished the night in fourth place, and 2006 World of Outlaws CASE Late Models champion Tim McCreadie finished the night fifth – debuting his new Rocket1 Racing ride with the World of Outlaws.

Gray Court, SC driver Chris Madden scored the Fox Factory Hard Charger award from his 11-place climb to finish 12th from his initial 23rd starting spot in the Feature.

Continuing to lead the points standings is New Berlin, IL driver Brandon Sheppard – who now holds a 22-point gap over Madden in second place.

UP NEXT: The World of Outlaws CASE Late Models return once more to Farmer City Raceway to conclude the Illini 100 on Saturday, April 13. The night’s 60-lap Feature will pay $20,000-to-win, totaling a full 100 laps over the two days of racing. The Xtreme Outlaw Midgets presented by Toyota join the Late Models for 30 laps and giving $5,000 to the night’s victor. For tickets, CLICK HERE

If you can’t make it to the track, you can watch every World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Model race live on DIRTVision.