Hoffman Auto Racing (HAR) announced Wednesday that three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Tony Stewart will drive one of the team’s sprint cars in the 2017 Little 500 at Anderson Speedway (IN).
Fresh off of his final season of action at NASCAR’s highest level, Stewart will throw his hat into the ring for 500 grueling laps of racing. This will be the first time that “Smoke” will compete in the race, which will be held on Saturday, May 27 at the “World’s Fastest High-Banked Quarter Mile.”
“I’m thrilled to make my Little 500 debut with Hoffman Auto Racing,” Stewart said in a team press release. “It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to compete in such a historic race with this team. Ironically, my only other outing in the Hoffman number 69 was at Eldora Speedway, long before I owned it. The team was strong then and it has remained strong. Their win in last year’s Little 500 proved it, and I’m looking forward to driving their race car.”
Stewart’s connection with HAR for the Little 500 stemmed from a simple phone call he made to congratulate team owner Richard Hoffman following their win in last year’s race with driver Kody Swanson.
“We were celebrating our 2016 Little 500 win on the front stretch of Anderson Speedway when good friend Tara Armstrong said that Tony Stewart wanted to congratulate my son Rob and I on the big win,” Hoffman explained. “He was so gracious taking the time to call us. He also mentioned that running The Little 500 is on his bucket list and keep him in mind for 2017. I didn’t think I could get any more excited at the time, but I did. Tony driving this race for us will go down as a highlight in the storied 88-year history of HAR. Needless to say, my son Rob will come out of retirement to prepare and crew chief the car.”
With 100 USAC National Sprint Car wins and 11 National Championships, HAR has won more National races and championships than any other team in USAC sprint car history. HAR also has 7 Silver Crown wins and one USAC midget win for a total of 108 USAC National wins.
In 2003 HAR was recognized for excellence by the Ohio State Senate and House of Representatives. HAR has finished in the top three in USAC National Sprint Car owners points 20 times since 1989.
Drivers from the past 87 years reads like a who’s who of racing: Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Tracy Hines, JJ Yeley, Kasey Kahne, Kenny Irwin Jr, Rich Vogler, Dave Darland, Johnny Parsons Jr., Tim Richmond, Jay Drake, Brian Tyler, Robbie Stanley, Eric Gordon, Steve Butler , Jerry Coons Jr. Ryan Newman, Dave Steele, George Snider, Tom Bigelow Shorty Templemen, Don Branson, Eddie Sachs, Bill Puterbaugh, Elmer George, Pancho Carter, Roger Ward, Andy Michener, Kyle Larson and Brady Bacon. In all approximately 131 drivers have competed in the Hoffman cars. Of those there are four father/son combinations , Dick and Dickie Gaines, Jim and Tracy Hines Kerry and Dave Norris, Clark and Shorty Templemen. Two brother combinations, Larry and Steve Cannon, Pancho Carter and Johnny Parsons Jr. HAR also had a step grandfather and step grandson combination of Elmer George and Ed Carpenter.
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images