D.J. Weltmeyer didn't make it easy, nor did Pat Kelly. However, when the checkered flag flew in the 40-lap George Appleton Classic Friday night at the Grundy County Speedway it was Eddie Hoffman once again in victory lane.
Weltmeyer jumped out front from his front row starting spot and started to pull away from the field as Tracy Schuler, Hoffman and Kelly battled behind him for the second spot. Hoffman got around Schuler on lap 6 and tried running down the leader. Kelly wouldn't get by Schuler until lap 10, but once he did he would make it a three-car battle for the lead. By lap 15 Hoffman was on the back bumper of Weltmeyer and looking for opening. For more then 10 laps the leaders all ran nose-to-tail until finally on lap 27 Weltmeyer bobbled a little coming off turn two and Hoffman got underneath and grabbed the lead.
Kelly got by Weltmeyer on the next lap and would stay glued to Hoffman's rear bumper but couldn't make the pass for the lead. Dave Gentile and Tracy Schuler would round out the top five. Earlier in the evening Mark Sontag Jr. set fast time and Hoffman won the trophy dash.
Heat races were won by Jim Kachel, Tony Brutti and Gentile.
In the Mid American class it looked like John Ventrello was going to pick up an easy feature win when he checked out on the field at the drop of the green flag until a late race caution changed the complexion of the race. With only three laps to go on the restart, third running Tom Knippenberg made quick work of Ron Willems who was running in second spot and set his sights on the leader. On the next lap he eased by Ventrello and picked up the feature win. Ventrello would hold on for second followed by Kevin Gentile, Willems and Ron Vandermeir.
Knippenberg set fast time while Matt Clemens and Cody Clubb picked up heat race wins.
In Street Stock action John Senerchia picked up the feature win after a hard fought battle with Logan Love. Senerchia would grab the lead from Jeremy Clubb on lap two while Love was working his way through the field. Love got by Clubb on lap 10 to grab the third spot and would pass Bob Davis on lap 13 to grab the second spot. Within a few laps Love was on the back bumper of Senerchia with both drivers not giving an inch as they battled back and forth for the lead.
On the final lap Love got to the inside of Senerchia going into turn three and it was a drag race to the start finish line for the win. After some bumping and banging by both drivers Senerchia would prevail by about two feet as both cars were headed towards the infield at the finish line.
Aaron Shelton, Davis and Clubb rounded out the top 5. Love would set fast time with Cheryl Hryn and Randy Weese each picking up heat race wins.
In Pure Stock action Dan Schmeissing picked up his first feature win of the season holding off Rich Dearborn and Zach Mitchell. Nate Fazio and Dearborn each won heat races.