By T.J. Buffenbarger
In what normally is one of the quiet weeks of the year in the TJSlideways.com newsroom kicked off early on Monday when the Hoffman family and sponsor Mean Green degreaser announced they would support Kevin Thomas Jr. for the 2018 USAC National Sprint Car Series campaign.
The Hoffman/Mean Green announcement caps off what has been an adventurous nine months or so where Thomas went from focusing on winged sprint car racing before parting ways with Blazin’ Racin’ to going on a tear in the non-wing sprint car division.
The Hoffman’s, they are not done being in the news yet. Look for an announcement on the team’s Little 500 program sometime later in the week.
On the opposite side of the coin 2017 Hoffman backed driver Chad Boespflug informed us he is actively searching for a ride or sponsorship opportunity for the 2018 season.
- The Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions added another race to their 2018 calendar. The series will make a rare Friday appearance at Atomic Speedway on April 6th. This event will lead into the HD Supply Spring nationals on Saturday April 7th. Recently the All Stars have only participated in the second night of the Spring Nationals at Attica with the Friday program being a FAST or open sanctioned program. This will likely give Ohio sprint car fans two options that Friday to travel south to see the All Stars or stay at Attica for two nights of sprint car racing.
- Before we feasted on turkey last week Eldora Speedway released their 2018 schedule. Previously during the breakdown of the World of Outlaws schedule the Sunday October 14th date at Eldora was pointed out as something different for the upcoming season. The other major change is the addition of two National Racing Alliance Sprint Invaders events. The NRA 360’s will take to the high banks at Eldora on April 21st and May 19th along with the traditional October date being moved to Saturday the 13th.
This is a welcome addition for many of the NRA teams that are based relatively close to Eldora. When Lima area businessman, race promoter, and car owner Ron Hammons took over the reins of the NRA last year one of the major items on his to do list was to get more shows at Eldora. With that accomplished the question becomes what else might Hammons have up his sleeve for 2018?
- Dean Brindle backed up his developmental sprint car win at Valvoline Raceway in Sydney with a victory Saturday at Western Springs Speedway in Auckland, New Zealand. Brindle then promptly announced he was retiring from racing in New Zealand at the conclusion of the season. Brindle will continue to race select dates in Australia the next two seasons, but will reassess the situation at the end of the 2018/2019 season down under.
Brindle won the 2009 New Zealand sprint car title and has raced for the past 17 years.
- The off season gives the racing community time to put on some great social events until the weather turns warm enough to go racing again. This season Rich Farmer unhatched his idea for Fremont, Ohio doing a sprint car drop on New Year’s Eve. The drop will take place (insert location here). Testing is already complete for “dropping” the sprint car. More information can be found here.
- The off season also gives me a chance to catch up on reading. I was delighted to have a Coastal 181 package show up at my door with “Toby” by Lew Boyd enclosed. This book has a very different tone highlighting some of the great and tragic moments the Tobias family has experienced. The story gives a lot of background of various members of the Tobias family that were tragically lost and what various family members are up to at the present time. Of particular interest was the back story and current situation with former sprint car driver Paul Lotier who was paralyzed in a sprint car accident at Sharon Speedway in 1991. The book is available at the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum gift shop in person and online or on Costal181.com