3) As one of short tracks most well known veterans, tell us about your racing career accomplishments.
My racing stats really go back to 1989 and 1991 when I won the US Enduro Championship Title. In 1993, 1994, and 1995, I was Mid American Champion. In 1996 I was ARTGO Rookie of the Year. In 1997 I was ARTGO Champion and Grundy County Speedway Late Model Champion. In 1998-2004 I ran in the NASCAR Elite Division and while I did not win a championship in that series I had numerous wins and was always in the top 5 in point standings. I won a second Late Model Championship at Grundy County Speedway in 2002.
Over the years I have been fortunate enough to claim several victories at a number of different tracks some of which include Nashville’s Music City Motorplex, Nashville Superspeedway, The Milwaukee Mile, Gateway, USA International Speedway, ORP, Pike’s Peak, Toledo, Berlin, Rockford, Illiana Motor Speedway, Colorado National, Hawkeye Downs, Anderson, Lake Geneva, WIR, and Grundy County Speedway.
4) Will you defend your ASA Late Model North Series championship in 2009?
I hope to defend my title in 2009.
5) Besides the ASALMS, what other sanctions do you compete in?
The CRA Series.
6) What is your most treasured racing experience?
If I had to pick one I guess it would be beating my Dad at his home track of Illiana Motor Speedway.
7) What is your least memorable racing experience?
I guess since it is still fresh in my mind, crashing at I-70 this past summer
8) At what age and how did you get started in racing?
I started going to tracks with my Dad when I was about 6 years old. When I was about 12, I started working on his car and later became his crew chief. My Dad kept promising me that he would let me drive but that never materialized so at the ripe old age of 26, I commandeered an Olds 98 from a tow yard, drove it to Grundy County Speedway, knocked out the windows and drove in an enduro race. I was hooked ever since.
9) When you first started racing, what were your racing goals and what are those goals now?
My goals then were the same as they are today, and that is to go out and try to win every race I’m in. If I can’t win I try to get the best
possible finish while bringing the car home in one piece.
10) How much longer do you think you will race? Explain.
I’ll race for as long as I am competitive. To be honest I haven’t really given much thought to retiring and don’t plan on thinking about it any
time soon. I’m still having too much fun.
11) Tell us about your family and how they have been involved in your racing.
My biggest fan is my nine year old daughter Halley who loves coming to watch me race. She holds me to an extremely high standard and is usually the first one out on the track to congratulate me in victory lane. On the other hand, when I don’t win she is also the first person to offer “advice” for next time! It’s important to me and means a lot that she is supportive of and enthusiastic about my racing.
I also have to mention my Dad and the role he played in my racing career. Since I had to sneak a car to the race track every now and then to get my racing fix while still working on my Dad’s car I wouldn’t say I had his blessing in the beginning, but as time went on he became supportive of my racing career and proud of my accomplishments.
12) Tell us about your crew and your sponsors
Lisa and Tom Kmak, owners of The Lisa Thomas Salons in Tinley Park and Orland Park, Illinois are the car owners and primary sponsor of my race team. I owe them a great deal of gratitude for enabling me to achieve so much in my racing career. Their commitment to me and to the team has always been our greatest asset. Other sponsors that I would like to express my gratitude to include Feece Oil, Appleton Rack and Pinion, Quartermaster and Shoenfeld Headers.
As for my crew, they have been together for a number of years and have put in a great deal of time and sacrifice to ensure I have a good car for every race. These are not full time crew members but guys with full time jobs that work on the race car on a part time basis. First and foremost I need to recognize Johnnie Signore who has been with TK Racing even before I came along in 2000. His dedication and commitment to me and to the race team have been and continue to be extraordinary. He puts in a great deal of his time working on the race car and I know the tremendous sacrifice it takes to be able to balance a full time job, spend time with family and somehow find the time it takes to work on a race car each week. I can always count on Johnnie to do whatever it takes to make sure the car is ready each week. I could not have achieved all that I have in the last 8 years without him. Dave Dotter is a guy that just knows all there is to know about working on race cars and he can pretty much do anything to a race car as well and quicker than anyone. His knowledge of and abilities to set up a race car are second to none. Brian Bank is arguably the best tire guy out there. I never need to worry about tires or pressures and can focus on racing which is a huge advantage. Brian has been with me since 1999. Ricky Van Beveren is an excellent all around crew guy who knows exactly what needs to be done and takes care of it. His commitment and teamwork is a huge asset. Tom Kmak, the car owner and spotter makes it possible for me to negotiate around cars, and through the turns. I rely on his keen eye and confidence on the radio. These guys all gel together maybe because they have been together so long or maybe because each one has a specialty and talents that are both recognized and respected by the other crew members and myself. There is a trust on this team that enables each member to focus on their job(s) without having to worry whether or not the other stuff will get done. The commitment from
these guys has been outstanding and I cannot thank them enough for all that they do. In addition to the regular crew guys we are fortunate to get help from friends who show up at the shop on a regular basis and do everything from working on the car to handling the PR and administrative tasks. My gratitude extends to them as well.
13) What are your hobbies or other interests?
I enjoy playing hockey and following politics whenever time permits.
14) What is your favorite food and beverage?
My favorite alcoholic drink is a Bloody Mary and favorite soft drink is Coke. My favorite food is a baked potato and a properly seasoned, thick, juicy steak grilled to perfection.
15) Who is your favorite NASCAR driver?
I have two favorites in this category. First I would say Jimmie Johnson because I raced against him in ASA and I respected him for his abilities. He’s such a talented driver and I enjoyed racing against him. I also like Jeff Burton because I like his driving style and have followed his ups and downs in his career over the years.
16) What is your favorite TV show to watch?
Law and Order
17) What is your favorite movie?
Slapshot, of course!
18) What is your favorite type of music and what cd is in your cd player now?
I grew up with Rock and Roll and still like it today. The CD in my player currently is Aerosmith
19) How did you pick your car number? Explain
In 1995, while racing the MidAm series at WIR, Mike Butz who owned the car that Matt Kenseth drove asked me on occasion to hot lap the car when Matt wasn’t at the track. The following year, Matt was moving on and Mike asked me to drive his Super Late Model black #8 car at WIR which is the same year I started to run the ARTGO series with Fred Appleton. Fred and I decided that since Mike had a black #8 that I was driving at WIR, we would just keep the same color scheme and number so we went with a black #8 car and so the tradition of the #8 and Eddie Hoffman began.
20) Of all of the tracks you have raced on, which is your favorite and why?
I guess I would have to say Nashville because it’s a great town with an awesome racetrack that has history, speed, requires handling, two grooves and gives the coolest trophies! I’m going to miss this track because it will probably be gone before I am.
Championship bonus question: What are your racing plans for 2009?
To race every chance I get!