The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


June 6, 2013

Hoffman back behind the wheel

Jerry Hoffman, Oronogo, is co-owner of Springfield Raceway.

Hoffman also drives a B modified race car primarily at the Monett Speedway. Too many fires to put out prevents racing at his home track.

Hoffman enters today’s 7:30 p.m. program at Monett with two A feature wins in three appearances.

The wins, for sure, are bonuses for the 40-year-old Hoffman. Just being able to drive, without serious pain, has made 2013 special. The last several years had been physically miserable for Hoffman.

“Being able to consistently race again made me realize how much I missed it,” Hoffman said Thursday.

“I’ve probably raced less than 10 times the last seven years. I couldn’t sit in the seat of a race car without pain. I have three herniated disks.”

The loss of 40-50 pounds — there’s more to go, he said — and sticking with stretching exercises have eased Hoffman’s pain.

The first time out this season was at the West Plains Motor Speedway in early April.

“We won our heat, won our qualifier and started on the pole (in the A feature),” Hoffman said. “We finished fifth.”

Hoffman, who owns Hoffman Race Cars and Dirt Works Race Cars, loaned his race car — naturally it has a Hoffman Chassis —  to Conner Pullen to compete in the Stroker Ace Nationals in mid-April at the Seward County Fairgrounds Speedway at Liberal, Kan. Pullen won the IMCA SportMod main event worth $2,500.

“Conner Pullen (former sprint car driver who works for Hoffman) probably is the No. 1 reason I can race,” Hoffman said. “He goes with me and also works on the race car during the week. Also, Jimmy Wilkomn (another Hoffman employee) and Bobby Pearish (a modified driver from Oronogo) help in the pits when they can.”

Sponsors, in addition to his businesses, include Yeoman Racing Engines of Galena, Kan., Wheeler Metals of Muskogee, Okla., Bad Boys Mowers. Maxim Racewear and Total Flame Cigars.

A Monett points championship?

“We aren’t worried about points,” Hoffman said. “I’ll miss too many races. We’re just happy we’re able to drive a limited schedule. And enjoy it.”

Hoffman, as usual, will head for the Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway in mid-July for the Harris Clash and Boone (Iowa) for the IMCA Super Nationals on Sept. 2-7.

MONETT NOTES: Bike races for kids will be held tonight at intermission with gates opening at 5 p.m. Hot laps are set for 7. Admission is $5 tonight with $1 hot dogs. ... Classes at the 3/8-mile clay track will be late model, B modified, factory stock, pro-4 and pure stock. The modified class returns on June 14.

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