Ed and his powerful black stock car No. 1 was a tough combo in and around Chicago area stock car circles in the 1970s and 80s.
Hoffman was a seven-time Late Model track champion at Illiana Motor Speedway in Schererville, Ind., and a six-time time track titlist at Grundy County Speedway in Morris, IL. After a dozen years or so of drag racing, Hoffman began his stock car racing career at Chicagoland’s old O’Hare Stadium in 1966, wheeling a ’56 Chevy, once driven by Fred Lorenzen, in the track’s Cadet (sportsman) division.
Hoffman raced 1971, “loaded for bear” with a Bob Boyce-built Camaro convertible, black in color and carrying Hoffman’s familiar No. 1. The stretched Camaro was the car Boyce had driven to the Illiana championship in 1970. Hoffman and his ’70 Camaro won both the Illiana and Grundy track championships in ’71. Hoffman would win four features at Illiana and 10 at Grundy, which was in its first year of operation, replacing the Mazon Speed Bowl.
Hoffman ran several years without winning a championship, but came back strong to win double championship crowns again at Illiana and Grundy in 1977. He would claim the Illiana championship three consecutive years – 1977 through 1979. 1975 marked Hoffman’s first victory in Illiana’s annual Tony Bettenhausen Memorial 100. He would go on to win the annual event two more times – 1983 and 1984. 1980 would see Hoffman claim his only ARTGO Racing victory with the win coming during twin 50s action during the “foggy” Chicagoland Showdown on May 24, 1980.
1983 was a stellar year for Hoffman as he won 26 feature races during the campaign and captured both track titles in the same year for the fourth and final time in his career. He grabbed 16 wins in 18 starts at Grundy and won a total of 10 at Illiana, including his second career Bettenhausen 100 lapper, giving him the honor of winning the Bettenhausen race and the Illiana track championship in the same year.
Hoffman won the Illiana track championship again in 1984, winning 11 feature races during the season, including his third career Bettenhausen 100. He ended up with nine feature wins at Grundy and came home second in the standings.
Hoffman posted his sixth career title at Grundy in 1985, capturing six feature wins. He did not compete at Illiana that year. Hoffman also won his first ever Late Model feature at Raceway Park in 1985.
With all those championships and race wins, Ed Hoffman was truly one of the greats in Chicago area stock car racing history.