Richmond Al Hofmann interview (Funny Car)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: NHRA Communications (818) 914-4761 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: NHRA Communications (818) 914-4761 HOFMANN HOPES TO RETURN TO DRIVER'S SEAT IN FUNNY CAR AT RICHMOND DINWIDDIE, Va. -- It would be...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: NHRA Communications (818) 914-4761

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: NHRA Communications (818) 914-4761

HOFMANN HOPES TO RETURN TO DRIVER'S SEAT IN FUNNY CAR AT RICHMOND

DINWIDDIE, Va. -- It would be easy to understand if Al Hofmann looked at the sky one day recently and said, 'Why me?' In the last seven months, Hofmann lost his sponsor and crew chief to other teams, and he has been sidelined from driving since suffering serious injuries in a fiery crash right after winning the Mac Tools Gatornationals last month. His mother also passed away during the offseason. But Hofmann has no time for self-pity. He's too busy working to return to his consuming passion -- driving the Hofmann Racing Pontiac Firebird to his first NHRA Winston championship. "It's pretty hard to take," Hofmann said. "I don't know if it's a test or not. But this is a tough business, and you just have to keep working hard to keep up with it." Hofmann, from Umatilla, Fla., hopes to return to driving at the third annual, $1,488,750 Pennzoil Nationals presented by Trak Auto, April 24-27 at Virginia Motorsports Park. The race is the sixth event of the 22-event, $30-million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series in 1997. Before suffering a broken right arm and severely cut left hand at Gainesville, Hofmann and new crew chief Jimbo Ermalovich looked ready to provide a strong challenge to defending NHRA Winston champion John Force. Hofmann pulled to within 45 points of Force with his victory. But Hofmann has fallen to a tie for sixth place, 198 points behind Force, in the NHRA Winston point standings during his two-race hiatus. But Hofmann still thinks there's time to make a charge at Force if he and Ermalovich can continue the powerful tuneup that won in March. "I told Jimbo to run it like (the fire) never happened," Hofmann said. "He's doing a heck of a job. I hope I don't get in the car and make a fool of myself. But I've been sitting in the car a lot, so I think I'll be OK. I think we're still in a pretty good spot."

Jack Durbin indy500@freenet.tlh.fl.us Motorsport News International jackd@motorsport.com (Moderators for "rec.autos.sport.info") Homepage http://www.freenet.tlh.fl.us/users/indy500/index.html

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Series NHRA
Drivers Al Hofmann , John Force