USAC Car Owner Richard Hoffman Dies At 76

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Richard Hoffman, an 11-time USAC sprint car champion owner, died Tuesday. (USAC photo)

CINCINATTI, Ohio – Richard Hoffman, one of the owners of the legendary Hoffman Auto Racing open-wheel team, died on Tuesday. He was 76.

Hoffman wrenched entries over the years that earned a total of 11 AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Car Series owner’s championships, wearing the crown in 1989, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2008, 2014 and 2016.

His champion drivers through the years included the legendary Rich Vogler, as well as Robbie Stanley, Dave Darland, Tracy Hines, Jerry Coons Jr. and Brady Bacon, who authored Hoffman’s most recent USAC owner’s crown three years ago.

“It’s hard to even put into words what Richard meant to the sport,” said USAC Series Coordinator Levi Jones. “It doesn’t seem possible he won’t be with us in the pits anymore.  He was a fierce competitor and a staple of the series. Over the years, racing has made us all feel like family. He was always somebody you could lean on for advice and someone who was always there for the betterment of the sport.”

Born Sept. 2, 1942 in Cincinatti, Ohio, Richard Hoffman started his tenure in racing working for his father, Gus Hoffman, during the very first year of the United States Auto Club in 1956.

The Hoffman Auto Racing team came to USAC at the behest of Mari Hulman, who saw the team’s success building and invited them personally to race the circuit.

Then-crew chief Mutt Anderson suggested moving from midget to sprint car racing, and the rest – as they say – is history.

Hoffman’s first USAC win came in 1956 with Eddie Sachs driving one of the team’s midgets, not long before their move to sprint cars, and led to a total of 116 USAC victories over the past six-plus decades.

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Brady Bacon in action at Bloomington Speedway with the Hoffman Auto Racing No. 69. (Jim Denhamer photo)

Bacon earned the team’s most recent score at Bloomington (Ind.) Speedway on April 19, during the running of the Larry Rice Classic.

Among those who drove for Hoffman and won races in his equipment were Jim Hemmings, Larry Cannon, Steve Butler, Cary Faas, Kenny Irwin Jr., Andy Michner, Brian Tyler, Jon Stanbrough, Daron Clayton, Kyle Larson, Darren Hagen, Chad Boespflug and Kevin Thomas Jr., as well as the six champion drivers he fielded during his legendary career.

Richard Hoffman was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 2013.

Aside from his sprint car accomplishments, he also earned seven USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series wins as a team owner, with the likes of Johnny Parsons, Pat Abold and Brian Tyler, who captured the 1999 Copper World Classic at Phoenix Int’l Raceway (now ISM Raceway).

Bacon paid tribute to Hoffman, for whom he has driven for this season and also drove a prior stint for as well, late Tuesday with a statement on social media.

“We are all deeply saddened by the loss of a great man,” said Bacon. “Please keep your thoughts and prayers with the family of Richard Hoffman. It’s truly been an honor to drive for him over the last several years, and the relationship we were able to build over that time is something I will cherish.”

As of the most recent USAC national sprint car event, Hoffman’s Dynamic Inc. team sits seventh in the series standings thanks to Bacon’s efforts this year.

It’s a testament to Hoffman’s long-held drive to always strive for more with his operation.

“I still have racing in my blood,” said Richard Hoffman in the Oct. 2018 edition of SPEED SPORT Magazine. “I can’t stop messing with it because I still really enjoy it. Every year I look at circumstances and resources and see if we can keep racing.”

Right up until his passing, racing is exactly what Hoffman and his team did, too.