From Christine Musselman
PLAINFIELD, Ind. (February 28, 2017) — Chad Boespflug made his Amsoil USAC National Sprint Car Season debut in the Hoffman Auto Racing Mean Green Cleaner & Degreaser #69 at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, FL Friday. Heavy rain and wet conditions Wednesday and Thursday shortened the originally scheduled three day USAC Winter Dirt Games event eliminating an open practice night and night #1 of WDG. The extremely wet conditions that shortened the weekend would in return offer a better than normal track surface than years past. The typical “dry slick” or “rubbered up” track was traded for a heavy, fast, racey surface.
Boespflug hit the track Friday afternoon for the first time behind the wheel of the HAR #69 Maxim chassis in the first practice session of 2017. The track surface changed quickly from the first set of hot laps until the time for the first car to go out to qualify. An early qualifying spot landed Boespflug a lap that held the top spot for a while until the track became better in time. His qualifying lap was good enough to hold on to a top 5 position, qualifying 5th quick overall. Boespflug started 5th in his heat race and fell out of the transfer position early, but quickly regained momentum and charged back to a 4th place finish good enough for a transfer position into the AMain invert. Starting 3rd in the AMain Boespflug battled with Dave Darland and CJ Leary racing three wide during opening laps. Boespflug checked up as he and Leary nearly got together coming off of turn two early in the race allowing Justin Grant to sneak by. Boespflug quickly regained his momentum to chase down Darland and Grant. A late race restart gave Boespflug the chance to race wheel to wheel with leader Grant even swapping the the lead down the backstretch with just two laps to go. In the end Boespflug just did not have enough drive off the bottom to seal the deal and maintain the lead over Grant and finished a close second.
“A 2nd place finish right out of the gate is something for us to be proud of as a team. I just didn’t have enough to pull Grant down the backstretch when I got a run on him off the bottom.” – Chad Boespflug
Saturday Night Boespflug and the HAR Team fell behind the eight ball early with a mid pack qualifying run. In return that landed Boespflug a deep starting spot for the AMain after transferring out of his heat race. Although an 11th place starting position was less than desirable after starting 3rd the night before Boespflug used the changing track surface to his advantage. The top started to come in about halfway through the main. Boespflug made his way to the top where he passed his way into the 4th position chasing down the top three front runners just missing another podium finish.
“I should have gone to the top sooner and may have had a little more for Meseraull to make it two podium finishes in a row. Leaving here third in USAC National points with two top five finishes, including a podium finish is something to be proud of. We struggled down here last year so to leave here with this much success and the momentum going into the start of the USAC season in the midwest is a huge confidence builder for myself and the HAR Mean Green Cleaner & Degreaser Team.” – Boespflug reflects on the Winter Dirt Games.
Chad Boespflug. (Rich Forman Photo)