Who said the days of racing the same modified on dirt one night and on asphalt the next is a thing of the past, not for Keith Hoffman anyway as the Whitehall racer drove the Dennis "Moose" Eisenhard #77 to a convincing victory Sunday afternoon at Mahoning Valley Speedway less than 24 hours after racing the same car on the high banks of Grandview Speedway.
The 50-lap season opening race was worth $1200 for Hoffman who earned his career first win on pavement in only his second time on asphalt.
Starting second, Hoffman outran pole sitter Bill Briggs for the opening lap lead. He gave up the top spot for one lap when Brett Ballard overtook him on a lap-15 restart but two laps later Hoffman was able to retake the lead in the same manner.
Briggs then got back into the mix and was mounting an intense battle with Hoffman as several times he was able pull alongside. His strong running effort was thwarted on lap 31 when he and Hoffman came up on the lapped car of Joe Stangle. Hoffman took the low line to get by while Briggs went high. With limited room Stangle and Briggs made contact which sent the quick paced x15 sliding into the turn two wall.
Ballard then assumed second but was unable to mount a run at Hoffman as he did earlier. Hoffman gradually pulled away and in the waning laps division champion Randy Thomas moved to second but had nothing for the winner.
"That was fun today. Doug (Hoffman, track promoter) has this deal up here with these dirt cars and it worked out great for us. It was a lot of work for us I can tell you that. We ran Grandview the night before. To get the car ready I had a bunch of guys that don't normally help me and they did a good job," said Hoffman.
"Those guys (Briggs, Ballard) have been here a couple other times and they had a little more time in setting their cars up. It was tough running against them but I felt we were good enough to win and that's all the counts. It's neat to win on asphalt."
Of interest is the fact that the only other 50-lap dirt modified race was held at the end of 2005 and the Eisenhard car won that night too and with a Hoffman driving. That victory went to Keith's brother Doug.
"That's pretty cool. I have to thank Moose (Eisenhard) for the ride and letting us come up here with the Blue Monkey Sports Restaurant car. It's great to be able to get this win for him. Two starts and two wins on pavement at the same track, that's real special."
The Street Stocks also opened up their 2010 season with a 25-lap feature and in a wild race that saw six lead changes among four drivers and in the end it was Zach "Scooter" Graver of Lehighton who emerged as a first time class winner.
Dirt Modified Feature Finish, 50 Laps: 1. Keith Hoffman 2. Randy Thomas 3. Ryan Beltz 4. Dave Thomas 5. Don Wagner 6. Jimmy Horton IV 7. John Parker 8. Brett Ballard 9. Bill Sittler 10. Bill Briggs 11. Jeff Parker 12. Joe Stangle 13. Tom Cramer 14. Steve Folk 15. DJ Wagner
Street Stock Feature Finish, 25 Laps: 1. Zach Graver 2. Steven Steigerwalt 3. Kristy Morone Arthofer 4. Todd Ahner 5. Eric Danyluk 6. Mathias Hoffman 7. TJ Gursky 8. Matt May 9. Jason Frey 10. Jillian Long 11. Randy Ahner, Jr. 12. Josh Mooney 13. Joe Mooney 14. Adam Santee 15. Brian Labar 16. Jon Moser 17. Devin Gibson 18. Bernie Uphold 19. Jamie Smith 20. Justin Miller 21. Gene Bowers