Nick Hoffman on innovation that leads to new pages in the rulebook: “It’s kinda fun. I really enjoy it.”
“Racer/ChassisBuilder. Never won hotlaps. Creator of a page or two in the rule book. Originally from Illinois, Now live in Mooresville, NC.”
That quote above is the current twitter bio for dirt modified driver and chassis builder Nick Hoffman. I come across that little gem of a line every couple of months. Each time, it makes me laugh out loud.
Hoffman is a St. Louis native who now lives in North Carolina. He made the move to partner with The Allison Brothers and form Elite Chassis.
“It’s kind of a joke deal,” Nick Hoffman explains to RacingNews.co regarding his twitter bio.
But, there’s also a level of truth there. Hoffman explains, “Like this year, I did the exhaust through the decking in Florida. They made a rule about that, as soon as we got back from Florida.”
I didn’t ask but I’m sure working the exhaust through the decking had to be an attempt to grab some extra downforce. F1 cars do similar tricks with their computer designed machines.
Pushing the exhaust over the top of the car allows you to use the pressure to push back down on the car. I would assume that was his same thought process.
But, we’re far from done….
“Two years ago, they made some body rules,” Hoffman continues. “They said, ‘You can do a 4″ drop deck.’ So, I did a 4″ drop deck then they said, ‘Whoa!, that’s a little too much.’ ”
“I said, ‘Well, you said it was legal?’ Then, they dropped it to a 2″ drop deck.”
“Then, we came out with a split birdcage with Wehrs Machine. We ran really well with that. They outlawed it.”
“I came out with that open helix right front deal. I kinda intertwined it with what the NASCAR guys are doing. That deal was really good! I ran it for 2 years and now it’s outlawed.”
That’s four innovative items from just the previous two years of racing. Now, let me be clear here. I don’t want anybody reading this to get the wrong idea. That stuff right there, is racing! It’s not cheating, the rules didn’t exist yet.
It’s not that Hoffman went against the rulebook. Just the opposite, he was so innovative with race car engineering that the rulebook had to catch up to him.
Hoffman just autographed a few pages in the rulebook, that’s all.
It’s kinda fun. I really enjoy it.
“It’s kinda fun. I really enjoy it. Obviously, UMP’s doing their job to try and police stuff and not let it get too far out of hand. I’m not saying that I was getting it out of hand. I’m just trying to be an innovator.”
“Owning a chassis company, I’m trying to stay ahead of everybody.”
Nick Hoffman owns Elite Chassis. They build dirt modified chassis for drivers across the country. The business was founded in 2012. It’s located in North Carolina.
The bio for the company reads, “Our goal is to build the most quality and technically advanced modified on the market.”
It’s an honor when that stuff happens. When they have to create rulebook pages because your stuff is too far ahead. Right?
“Yeah, for sure,” Hoffman continues.
“A lot of this body stuff, I still feel like I got the upper hand against most of these guys. That’s on the bigger tracks, it doesn’t really matter for the small ones.”
“I still feel my front end stuff is quite a ways ahead of everybody. I hate to be stern about it. I just feel our front end stuff’s really good.”
“We’ll just keep digging. You know, Kevin Rumley didn’t win all those races two years ago because he was sitting around running standard stuff.”
For those that aren’t aware, Kevin Rumley is a genius late model engineer who’s recently reunited with Jonathan Davenport. Rumley developed ‘the device’ among a full list of other innovation. ‘The device’ got it’s name because nobody could understand what it did.
That device was a piece of dirt racing technology from the 70’s-80’s. Rumley modified it to work with the current spec of dirt late model. I personally have no idea how it works.
I only know that it hooks to the rear suspension. Which ever side it’s hooked to, it adds grip to that tire.
The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series outlawed ‘the device’.
“Yeah, just everything he does. You gotta stay ahead of everybody else and stay ahead of the curve,” Hoffman explains.
Where do some of your ideas come from?
“Well, some of this stuff trickles down from the late models. It takes other guys 2 years to find out. I feel I kinda got the upper hand.”
“I’m racing that late model all the time now. I kinda see it first hand.”
Nick Hoffman dabbles in both. He’s a dirt modified driver on top of running a dirt late model. In early 2017, Hoffman picked up the American Late Model Series main event win at Eldora Speedway in a dirt late model.