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Al Hoffman died today

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  • Al Hoffman died today

    Legendary Funny Car Racer Al Hoffman died today at his house in Florida.

    Another part of drag racing's soul has left the Earth.

    Hoffman was a bad ass. He took no crap from anyone. The guy had a genuine fetish for beating up on John Force....Force may have gotten the upper hand more frequently, but no one in Force's entire career raced him as hard as Hoffman.

    Two great Al Hoffman stories:

    1.) A guy walks up to him in the pits one Sunday morning and says, "Hey Al, gonna kick some ass today?" Hoffman replies, "Yep, want me to start with yours?"

    2.) A gentleman and his "full figured" companion walk up to Al's pit. The guy asks Hoffman, "She gonna go 250?" Hoffman looks at the large woman with the man and said, "You keep feedin' her, she'll go 300."

    RIP Al

    That which you manifest is before you.

  • #2
    Re: Al Hoffman died today

    best wishes and prayers to his family, may he rest in peace


    • #3
      Re: Al Hoffman died today

      The hits just keep on coming. Step up boys because the greats of our sport are getting older. Al was an awesome racer who's tenacity was second to none. If he didn't win it wasn't for lack of trying, and there is no way he wasn't going to put on a show for you. He and Force were one of the great rivalries. Best wishes and condolences to his family on behalf of the family. He will be missed but not forgotten.
      "A cross thread is better than a lock washer." Earl Lanning...My Grandpa


      • #4
        Re: Al Hoffman died today

        Al Hoffmann was a connecticut dragway throwback to better days , good dude , we used to see Al, Chuck Etchells , DA Santucci , Bobby Lagana , Jerry Caminito , Bruce Larson match race all the time
        an end of an era


        • #5
          Re: Al Hoffman died today

          God speed Al, it was my pleasure to root for you , especially against that damn Castrol car.
          Reading , Pa
          Good Guys rodders rep.
          "putting the seat down is women's work" Archie Bunker.
          Ban low performance drivers not high performance cars .


          • #6
            "Atomic Al"

            Wayyyyyyyyy too young & muchhhh too soon.
            (From Wiki)

            "Al Hofmann (born November 28, 1947) is an American dragracer and drag car owner in the funny car division from Umatilla, Florida. He raced in the National Hot Rod Association.

            As of 2002, Hofmann had competed in 32 final rounds, winning 15 races. These 15 wins placed him seventh on the all-time Funny Car wins list as of 2002. His highest season points finish was second in 1995 when he won five races. Hofmann finished in the Top 10 points during seven seasons. He finished 13th in 1997, despite missing four races after a crash following his win at the Gatornationals. His comeback peaked eight months later with a win at the Revell Nationals in Dallas in October. In 2000 he started driving for Jim Dunn...

            "Atomic Al"

            3rd Car down: -->

            Blower Explosion vid: -->


            • #7
              Re: Al Hoffman died today

              I heard the news at my buddy's house this evening at about 7:00. I was like, "are you sure?"

              Although I only spoke to him a handfull of times, my buddy (the manager at a local mom & pop auto parts store and fellow drag racer) was pretty close with Al.

              At his house in Eustis (just south of Umatilla), he has a nice shop. The last thing he worked on was the exhaust system for the Gremlin that's in my buddy's garage as we...uh, speak.

              I didn't get a good pic of the exhaust... but I will. Here's the car in Al's yard, just before we put it on my trailer.

              Favorite Al moment:
              Gatornationals, several years ago:
              Fan: Al, are you gonna smear John Force's ass all over the track?
              Al: I'd rather just beat him.


              • #8
                Re: Al Hoffman died today

                I always liked to see a Race.

                By the way, Did she make it to 300?


                • #9
                  Re: Al Hoffman died today

                  RIP AL!


                  • #10
                    Re: Al Hoffman died today


                    Funny Car veteran Hofmann, championship runner-up in 1995, dies
                    by Phil Burgess and John Jodauga

                    Former NHRA national-event-winning Funny Car driver Al Hofmann, a longtime fan favorite despite his take-no-prisoners exterior who gave John Force his most serious championship challenges in the mid-1990s, died March 20 of a heart attack at his home in Eustis, Fla. He was 60.

                    Hofmann, who won 15 times in 32 final-round appearances, was a regular in the NHRA top 10 from 1991, when he finished seventh, through 1996, highlighted by a five-win 1995 campaign in which he finished second in the standings to Force. He finished third in 1992 and 1994 and fourth in 1993 and 1996.

                    Hofmann suffered a major crash at the 1997 Gatornationals that sidelined him for much of the season, but he returned near season's end and won in Dallas and ultimately finished 13th in the standings. He returned to the top 10 in 1998 with a ninth-place finish and scored his last tour victory in Memphis that year. He finished 13th in 1999 and 2000. His last final-round appearance was at the 2001 event in Bristol, and he finished the year 16th. He competed in just three races in 2002.

                    In addition to his national event victories, Hofmann won the Winston Invitational in 1991 and 1993 and the Budweiser Shootout in 1992, 1994, and 1995.

                    Hofmann was the second Funny Car driver to exceed 300 mph. He recorded a run of 301.10 mph Feb, 19, 1994, in Phoenix to become the 13th member – and only one of two Funny Car drivers – of the Slick 50 300-mph Club.

                    Al Hofmann's Blower Drive Service machines were tough during the mid-1990s, routinely giving world champ John Force great challenges.

                    Hofmann first gained national prominence with his often entertaining and sometimes flammable China Syndrome Vega.

                    Hofmann's 1997 season was derailed when he suffered serious injuries in a fire and crash that occurred as he crossed the finish line as the winner of the 1997 Gatornationals. He was sidelined until late that season.

                    There weren't many cars that Hofmann couldn't manhandle to his will.
                    Hofmann, who was born and raised on the East Coast, began to race seriously with a modified '55 Chevy in 1968. Said Hofmann in a 2007 interview, “Like a lot of other guys, I did some street racing at first but soon realized that it was too dangerous. So I took my car to a sanctioned race at the local track and won the C/Gas class my first time out. That got me hooked right away.”

                    Hofmann's '55 Chevy soon gained the nickname Hang ‘em High because of its bumper-scraping wheelstands; it was followed by a big-block '57 Chevy that he labeled Rat Poison.

                    He then teamed with a friend who had a '67 Camaro from Baldwin Chevrolet. Said Hofmann, “We ran a Booth-Arons-built 417-cid engine and ran in the B/MP and C/Gas classes during the mid-1970s. It ran in the 9.30s and was pretty competitive.”

                    After driving the series of doorslammers, it appeared that Hofmann was heading for a career in Pro Stock, but his desire to go even faster made him aim higher. “I decided that I wanted to go Funny Car racing,” said Hofmann, "so I sold my construction business in 1978 and bought out the entire Radici & Wise Funny Car operation.”

                    With the purchase, Hofmann was ready to go with his Plueger chassis, Vega body, and 484-cid Keith Black engine. The only thing he lacked was Funny Car racing experience. Said Hofmann, “When I got home, I didn't even know how to start it. I had to have a friend of mine with an alcohol car help me do that. So I went out to California and spent three months with Sid Waterman, and it was the best thing I could have done at the time. He wanted me to be a hands-on racer, not just a driver. So he had me take the engine apart and put it together about 10 times. He felt it would help my driving if I had a better mechanical understanding of the car.”

                    After he earned his Funny Car license, Hofmann began match racing on the East Coast and made a couple of trips to Australia, where he raced for three months each time. “Those trips were a good thing for me,” said Hofmann. “Not only did I win a couple of championships, but I got the chance to meet the people from Blower Drive Service from Whittier, Calif. They thought I had some potential and backed it up with $100,000 in sponsorship funding. That may not seem like a lot, but it certainly was for a small, independent company. That allowed me to hire Tom Anderson as a crew chief, one of the best moves I ever made. It was impossible for me to do both the driving and tuning by myself, and Tom had a lot more experience anyway. We ended up winning a lot of races together.”

                    Hofmann won his first two national events in 1991, in Dallas and Pomona (second event), then three in 1992. He acquired major sponsorship backing from Western Auto in 1994, which set the stage for his dream season of 1995. On top of the five national event victories, he won the Winston Invitational and Budweiser Shootout in Indy and scored runner-up finishes in Denver and Topeka (second event). Of his rivalry with Force, Hofmann said, “That was a fun time. We played it up for all it was worth.”

                    In July 1996, Anderson left the team, and the Western Auto sponsorship ended that year, too. Hofmann appeared to have regrouped when he won the 1997 Gatornationals with the backing of Pontiac and rookie crew chief "Jimbo" Ermalovich, but a fiery crash in the shutdown area left Hofmann with a broken arm. The accident stripped him of his newly regained momentum, but he did finish the year with a victory in Dallas.

                    Hofmann ran with the support of GM Performance Parts through the end of the decade and was hired to drive Jim Dunn's Mooneyes car for the 2001 season. Said Hofmann, “Jim and I got along great that year, and I still love him today. We never had a disagreement between us, but there were a lot of distractions, and we failed to qualify nine times.” Hofmann left the team after the 2002 Gainesville race and never competed again.

                    After Hofmann stopped drag racing, he began an auto-restoration business and worked on Corvettes and a variety of street rods. Said Hofmann in 2007, “I sold the business last year and am effectively retired at this point. I bought a motorhome and took a trip all over the country with my wife, Susie, who is Johnny West's sister and a former worker on the NHRA Safety Safari team. We're just two old racers, riding around together and having a good time. We stopped in California and enjoyed visiting with Jim Dunn and the people at BDS.”


                    • #11
                      Re: Al Hoffman died today

                      Originally posted by Brian Lohnes
                      2.) A gentleman and his "full figured" companion walk up to Al's pit. The guy asks Hoffman, "She gonna go 250?" Hoffman looks at the large woman with the man and said, "You keep feedin' her, she'll go 300."
                      Phew, it would be real hard for me to morn a guy if he said that to me.
                      I hope it's a made up story. I liked Al Hoffman.


                      • #12
                        Re: Al Hoffman died today

                        Steve, that's not a tall tale.

                        Al Hoffman was one freaking hell of a Funny Car driver, but he was not a cuddly guy. He led a hard early life and that primed him for the hard scrabble life of running a racing operation as a match racer and un (or barely) sponored competitor. Al had a legitimate dark side that much of his fan base (including myself) were drawn to because of today's whitewahsed world of motorsports. This was a REAL guy, warts and all driving every lap with the expressed intention to kicking the guy in the next lane's teeth down their throat.

                        That's a DRAG RACER. He was a great interview in the sense that he had a quick wit and a knack for being brutally honest.

                        The guy went from driving a Modified Production car to a Nitro Funny Car with no stops in between. When he bought the Radici and Wise car to go racing in (which he renamed "The China Syndrome) he didn't even know how to start the car. The only way you make that leap is if you are completely nuts, fearless, or a strong combo of both.

                        Continue to like Al Hoffman because he was a great race car driver, he was. The guy was not a humanitarian, spokesmodel, member of the lucky sperm club, or choir boy. He was a Hot Rodder's hot rodder. A guy with whom "we" could relate to on a level those who don't share this automotive addiction never could.

                        That which you manifest is before you.


                        • #13
                          Re: Al Hoffman died today

                          Thanks for the reply.
                          I loved watching Hoffman on my NHRA review videos and he was one of my favorite drag racers for reasons you've just mentioned. Definitely no BS with him.

                          However, if that comment came my way, I still think I'd respond less than friendly. The poor fan and his girlfriend who were offering friendship and support with a visit to his pits, most likely walked away devastated by their then hero.
                          Still, I hope that story is crap.


                          • #14
                            Re: Al Hoffman died today

                            Prayers go out to the family. I met him once, at a rod run in Pigeon Forge Tenn. He purchased a 68 camaro rs/ss from one of my best friends while we were there.


                            • #15
                              Re: Al Hoffman died today

                              Man that sucks. Hoping for nothing but a calm morning period for the family ad friends :'(