Sunday, October 8, 2023

1975 – Late Charge Nets Hoffman Victory in Illiana Bettenhausen

Ed Hoffman enjoys the moment with family and crew after winning the prestigious Tony Bettenhausen Memorial 100 at Illiana Motor Speedway. 

Schererville, Ind. (October 8, 1975) – Grabbing the lead on the last lap, Ed Hoffman of Niles, Ill., captured the 14th annual Tony Bettenhausen Memorial 100 late model stock car classic at Illiana Motor Speedway on Sunday afternoon. Hoffman, wheeling a Camaro, became the 11th different winner in the history of the event.

Thirty cars pounded the pavement for the start of the race, with Dave Evans of Crystal Lake, Ill., taking the lead from his outside front row starting position. Evans and his Camaro led the first three circuits with Jerry Kemperman of Blue Island, Ill., taking over the top spot on lap 4. Kemperman attempted to pull away from the rest of the field, but yellow flags erased any margin Kemperman built.

Kemperman and his 1975 Camaro maintained the lead for 91 laps, with Bob Carnes of Grand Rapids, Mich., and Larry Schuler of Lockport, Ill., pressuring him all the way.

Hoffman, who dropped back seemingly out of contention midway through the race, made it a four-car battle with about 20 laps to go. He moved into third on lap 89, second on lap 91, and then took over the lead on lap 95.

Schuler slipped past Hoffman to take the lead on laps 98 and 99, but Hoffman, who gave credit to a late race tire change for his end of the race surge, charged past Schuler on the backstretch of the final lap and held on for the final quarter mile to the checkered flag.

A number of accidents slowed the pace of the event, one which set early race leader Evans to the hospital with a broken foot, neck injuries, cuts, and bruises. The throttle on Evans’ car stuck, sending him crashing into the second turn guardrail.

Consolation events went to Wayne Bright of Michigan City, Steve Seligman of Highwood, Ill., Bud Koehler of Blue Island, Ill., Larry Cope of Leroy, and Jim Nusbaum of Fort Wayne.

Schuler, the 1975 Iliana track champion, paced a field of nearly 90 entries during time trials, with a lap of 21.43 seconds around the half-mile paved oval.

Results –

1. Ed Hoffman, Niles, Ill.
2. Larry Schuler, Lockport, Ill.
3. Jerry Kemperman, Blue Island, Ill.
4. Bob Carnes, Grand Rapids, Mich.
5. Bob Roper, Chicago
6. Dave Roahrig, Plymouth
7. Jim O’Conner, Irwin, Ill.
8. Ray Baker, Muskegon, Mich.
9. Larry Middleton, East Hazel Crest, Ill.
10.Ron Dole, Oak Forest, Ill.

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