SCHERERVILLE, Ind. (May 17) – In a series filled with youngsters, Eddie Hoffman certainly sticks out on the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour.
The 52-year-old from Wheaton, Ill., racing in Saturday’s Lisa Thomas Salon 100 presented by JEGS.com race at Illiana Speedway, has been racing longer than most of his competitors have been alive.
In fact, he’s older than the combined age of the first two winners on the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour this year: Daniel Hemric, 21, and Anderson Bowen, 14.
“It’s a little weird in the pits, and it’s a little weird in some other places,” Hoffman said. “But on the race track, it really isn’t. It’s another guy, another race car. Lately, I can’t keep up with who’s running the series because there a lot of new guys, and most of them are young…really young.
“It doesn’t change a whole lot. It’s a little different, yeah, when you’re sitting in the driver’s meeting with someone the age of my daughter, but that’s OK. You’ve still got to race them.”
Hoffman actually got started late for a driver – at age 26 – but he’s got plenty of experience racing full-bodied stock cars. Hoffman finished second in the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour points standings a year ago, winning two races – including the event at Illiana.
“It’s a good series to race because of the traveling and being CRA and having JEGS as the sponsor,” Hoffman said. “As a team, we decided because of the crate engine and the affordability of the spec engine, it really fit us the best. We can afford the race series and do it the right way. Plus, we don’t have to travel real far from our home base.”
Hoffman’s Tom Kmak-owned team is located about 60 miles from Illiana, and he’s raced there numerous times in his career.
“That’s almost a home track for us,” Hoffman said. “The expectations are high.”
Plus, Hoffman is sponsored by Kmak’s business, Lisa Thomas Salon, which also sponsors the race. No pressure.
“We’re going on our 12th year together,” Kmak said. “That’s probably one of the longest car owner/driver deals out there. We took him on 12 years ago, and he’s done an awesome job for us. We’ve won a lot of races together and we’ve had a good relationship. He’s been good for our business and good for our race team.”
Hoffman’s father, Ed, is a well-known driver in the Midwest, and Eddie grew up working on his dad’s cars.
“I started late, but I’ve been around it all my life,” Hoffman said. “I worked on Dad’s cars and ended up as being crew chief for him. I finally ventured out on my own with Enduros, Street Stock and gradually moved up.”
Now, he’s racing and winning in the JEGS series, with no intentions of slowing down.
The Lisa Thomas Salon 100 presented by JEGS.com is a 100-lap event around Illiana’s half-mile oval, but the race will be split into two 50-lap segments.
Lisa Thomas Salon will award a $200 bonus to the leader after the first 50 laps, with $100 going to the second-place car. After the first 50 laps. Teams will be allowed to swap tires on their cars to different positions, though teams cannot put on new tires. Teams can also make setup changes during the 10-minute break, with a pit area set up on the infield so fans can watch the action.
Lisa Thomas Salon also will award a $200 bonus to the driver that advanced the most positions during the entire race and a $100 bonus to the driver advancing the most positions in the second 50-lap segment of the race.
Lisa Thomas Salon will also be part of a special race that will determine the invert after qualifying. Six Lisa Thomas Salon girls will each be given a sealed envelope with a number of three to eight before a six-lap race. The winner’s envelope will be opened after the six-lap race and that number will be the invert for Saturday night’s race.
Among the drivers entered are Bowen, the series points leader and winner at Winchester, and Hemric, winner of the season-opener in Plymouth, Ind. Hemric is only five points behind Bowen in the points standings, with Brent Downey, former Illiana competitor Josh Nelms fourth and Hoffman fifth.
Pit gates open for the one-day show at 12:30 p.m. local time, with practice at 3 and qualifying at 5:30. Racing will began at 7 p.m. and could include a Last Chance Race. Illiana’s local series- Turbo Stocks and Pure Stocks – are on the schedule, too.
Media Note: Additional information is available at the following locations:
Scott “Woody” Woodruff
JEGS, Director of Media & Motorsports
Office: 800-345-4545 (#3, ext. 412)