By: NineEight Motorsports
PLAINFIELD, Ind. – Chad Boespflug ended his first full AMSOIL USAC National season by picking up yet another win on the road. Night one of the 21st-annual Oval Nationals at Perris Auto Speedway added one more to his win column, this win coming in his home state of California. In all, he tallied six AMSOIL USAC National wins in five different states across the country this season. The added pressure of long hours in the truck to and from venues did not phase Boespflug and his newly assembled team. In fact they performed their best on their long tows. Boespflug parked his NineEight Motorsports/EZR 98e Maxim chassis in victory lane once in Ohio, New Jersey, Nebraska and California, and twice in South Dakota, sweeping the inaugural Rock and Roll Gold Cup at Badlands Speedway in August.
The 21st-annual Oval Nationals started with the highest of highs as Boespflug earned his first career USAC National Win in his home state of California on none other than a stage he had longed for from the age of 16. At 16 Boespflug attempted to make his first ever Oval Nationals start when he was turned away for being “too young”. Twelve years and numerous Oval Nationals appearances later Boespflug was dealt the hand he had been waiting for since that young age. Everything went his way beginning with a decent qualifying effort and a heat race win, leaving him with a front-row starting position for the main. Boespflug jumped out to an early lead, but a hard-charging Chris Windom closed in on his rear bumper in the early laps of the caution-filled main event. Thirty laps of close racing between Boespflug and Windom made for an exciting race for the crowd on opening night of Ovals. Boespflug capitalized when Windom bobbled as he continued to pound the cushion down to pull away and win his sixth feature of the season.
Night two of Ovals appeared to be a carbon copy of night one for Boespflug, with another seventh-place qualifying lap and another front-row starting position for the main after transferring through the heat. Once again Boespflug captured the early race lead and held his own until Dave Darland stepped out of the freight train line around the bottom and tried to make the top work. Darland quickly gained track position, passing his way to the runner up position in a lane no one had tried up until that point in the main. Darland drove around Boespflug on the top to take away the lead. A few laps later Boespflug followed suit, moving up the race track, where he tried to close the gap between himself and the new leader. With six laps remaining in the feature Boespflug clipped the wall exiting turn two and went for a ride. Though a disappointing way to end what had been such a successful weekend until that point for Boespflug, the good news to go with the bad was he emerged from the destroyed 98e uninjured. Shortly after the mangled car returned to the pits the team went to work to strip it down and begin preparing the backup car for the final night of Ovals.
“We had another good run going and its always disappointing to end a night with a torn up race car. I am thankful to be surrounded by exceptional safety equipment in times like these, but hate it for my guys that our night ended on driver error. I go up into the wall exiting two and the right front just grabbed and I went for a ride. I can’t thank my team enough for the long hours that night and morning after that they put in to get things tore down and the back-up car race ready so I could take it easy Saturday,” said Boespflug.
Boespflug bounced back and added another heat race win and another top-ten finish on night three, finishing seventh in the Oval National finale and the final USAC National race of the season. Shortly after the final fans made their way through the pits Saturday night, Boespflug hit the road to tackle the 2,100-mile trek home to Indiana. Once arriving home the team assembled to wash, tear-down and begin maintaining the cars. There really is no “off-season” in racing. There is always room from improvement and work to be done to stay current with the evolving sport. The 2017 season is fast approaching and the start of the 2017 AMSOIL USAC National Season in Florida is less than three months away.
“This year has been more than I ever dreamed it would be. When I put the final pieces of the puzzle together to build this team over the winter our goal was to go racing and have fun. We have done all of those things and then some. Starting out the year with the win at Eldora, I was content. That win quickly moved to the top of what I would call the biggest accomplishment of my career. Then to add two wins and a track record before sweeping the Rock and Roll Gold Cup – I would have been happy with that. Picking up the win and another new track record on our west coast swing was the icing on the cake for the already incredible year we have had. Winning in Indiana eluded us this year, but I am more than pleased with the results we have had in our first full season competing in the USAC National Series. We have already been working hard to regroup and rebuild to get things ready for Florida. It is going to be a very busy off-season, but I am excited to see what 2017 has in store.” – Boespflug reflects on his 2016 accomplishments.