Friday, May 24, 2024

1980 - Hoffman, Trickle Win ARTGO 50's at Illiana

Ed Hoffman receives congratulations from promoter John McKarns after scoring his first career ARTGO feature victory at Illiana Motor Speedway. - Stan Kalwasinski Photo

By Stan Kalwasinski

Schererville, Ind. (May 24, 1980) – Perennial Chicago-area late model champion Ed Hoffman and ARTGO Racing point leader Dick Trickle captured 50-lap features, splitting victory honors in the “Chicagoland Showdown” Saturday night at Illiana Motor Speedway.

The event, which marked ARTGO’s debut in Indiana, was threatened by several uncontrollable conditions, including rainy weather, dusty track conditions, and a thick fog which rolled in just prior to the start of the first 50-lapper.

For Hoffman, a five-time Illiana track champion, it was his first career ARTGO win; but for Trickle, it was ARTGO career win #19.

With a blanket of thick fog giving drivers and race officials questionable conditions, 20 cars and drivers blistered the Illiana pavement at the drop of the green for the first 50-lapper.

Michigan speedster Bob Senneker pushed his Camaro into the lead from his pole position. Senneker led through lap 6, as two-time Illiana track champion Larry Schuler moved his mount up front on lap 7.

Schuler and his Camaro stayed in front until lap 20, as both Mark Martin and Billy Kuhn, who were both running up front, slowed considerably. Senneker moved past Schuler to regain the top spot on lap 21.

Senneker was still in command when the yellow flag flew as the hood from Frank Gawlinski’s Camaro flew off, landing on the front stretch. Only one lap of green flag racing was complete when John Knaus, Steve Burgess and Pat Schauer got tangled up in turn four.

Hoffman moved past Senneker on lap 33, as the duo entered turn three.

Things seemed to be getting back to normal as lap 36 was completed, but in a wild seven-car melee in turn one brought out yet another caution. Hoffman maintained control of the situation when the green flag reappeared, with Senneker staying within striking distance.

When starter Bill Gronley’s checkered flag fell, it was Hoffman, Senneker, Schuler and new track record holder Jim Sauter.

A field of 21 competitors answered the call for the second 50, as the fog lifted, and officials had a better view of the racing action.

Dave Watson jumped out front from his pole position, opening up a commanding lead quickly between himself and his nearest competition, Joe Shear.

Watson held the number one spot with a lowly-closing Shear a distant second when the caution light flashed on lap 14. John Knaus spun and was hit hard by Jerry Kemperman. Both cars were out of action, as Watson saw his enormous lead dwindle to nothing.

Watson still looked like the man to beat, when the yellow came out again, as Senneker, Burgess, and Schauer got tangled up in turn two on lap 26.

With Watson leading, Trickle worked his way past the second place Shear and moved quickly to challenge the leader.

On lap 37, Trickle guided his Pontiac Firebird past Watson as the pair charged into turn three. Hoffman, who started the second main event in the eleventh position, also got by Watson, moving into second place and a possible shot for a clean sweep.

Trickle, who complained of handling issues in the first feature, had everything ironed out as he kept the lead to himself in a comfortable position ahead of Hoffman.

At the end of 50 laps, it was Trickle, Hoffman, Shear, Sauter and Mike Miller

Results –

Feature #1 –

1. Ed Hoffman. Bensenville, Ill.
2. Bob Senneker, Dorr, Mich.
3. Larry Schuler, New Lenox, Ill.
4. Jim Sauter, Necedah, Wis.
5. Joe Shear, South Beloit, Ill.
6. Mike Miller, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
7. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
8. Mark Martin, Batesville, Ark.
9. Ray Young, Dolton, Ill.
10.Larry Detjens, Wausau, Wis.

Feature #2 –

1. Dick Trickle
2. Ed Hoffman
3. Joe Shear
4. Jim Sauter
5. Bob Senneker
6. Mike Miller
7. Ray Young
8. Dave Watson, Milton, Wis.
9. Frank Gawlinski, Lynwood, Ill.
10.Pat Schauer, Watertown, Wis.

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