2019 Driver Inductees
Ed Hoffman: Ed and his powerful black stock car No. 1 was a tough combo in and around Chicago area stock car circles in the 1970s and 80s.

Hoffman was a seven-time Late Model track champion at Illiana Motor Speedway in Schererville, Ind., and a six-time time track titlist at Grundy County Speedway in Morris, IL. After a dozen years or so of drag racing, Hoffman began his stock car racing career at Chicagoland’s old O’Hare Stadium in 1966, wheeling a ’56 Chevy, once driven by Fred Lorenzen, in the track’s Cadet (sportsman) division.

Hoffman raced 1971, “loaded for bear” with a Bob Boyce-built Camaro convertible, black in color and carrying Hoffman’s familiar No. 1. The stretched Camaro was the car Boyce had driven to the Illiana championship in 1970. Hoffman and his ’70 Camaro won both the Illiana and Grundy track championships in ’71. Hoffman would win four features at Illiana and 10 at Grundy, which was in its first year of operation, replacing the Mazon Speed Bowl.

Hoffman ran several years without winning a championship, but came back strong to win double championship crowns again at Illiana and Grundy in 1977. He would claim the Illiana championship three consecutive years – 1977 through 1979. 1975 marked Hoffman’s first victory in Illiana’s annual Tony Bettenhausen Memorial 100. He would go on to win the annual event two more times – 1983 and 1984. 1980 would see Hoffman claim his only ARTGO Racing victory with the win coming during twin 50s action during the “foggy” Chicagoland Showdown on May 24, 1980.

1983 was a stellar year for Hoffman as he won 26 feature races during the campaign and captured both track titles in the same year for the fourth and final time in his career. He grabbed 16 wins in 18 starts at Grundy and won a total of 10 at Illiana, including his second career Bettenhausen 100 lapper, giving him the honor of winning the Bettenhausen race and the Illiana track championship in the same year.

Hoffman won the Illiana track championship again in 1984, winning 11 feature races during the season, including his third career Bettenhausen 100. He ended up with nine feature wins at Grundy and came home second in the standings.

Hoffman posted his sixth career title at Grundy in 1985, capturing six feature wins. He did not compete at Illiana that year. Hoffman also won his first ever Late Model feature at Raceway Park in 1985.

With all those championships and race wins, Ed Hoffman was truly one of the greats in Chicago area stock car racing history.

     Bob Kelly: Bob’s driving career started at Santa Fe Speedway in the early 1960’s while driving an old Ford Coupe. In 1964 Kelly switched to Chevy and had Harold Desponett, Dave Meadowcraft, “Bucky” Laurie and Roy Jelinek for his Pit Crew. They designated Sycamore Speedway as their home track and came in 4th in points that year. In 1965 they raced at Sycamore on Saturday nights again finishing 4th in points. They raced the same car at Mazon on Asphalt on Sunday afternoons winning 4 major Championship Races during the County Fair. In 1967 the hard charging orange #05 was sponsored by Protano “Auto Parts in a brand new 1967 Chevelle they finished 2nd in points at Sycamore. The team was unbeatable in 1968 racing at Kankakee & Santa Fe winning the Championship at both tracks in the same year. Bob’s Championship at Santa Fe awarded him a brand new 1968 Mustang.

Bob had another banner year in 1969 repeating a Championship win at Kankakee. At the Annual Banquet of Champions, along with Bob’s trophy, his wife was awarded a Fur coat for the team’s Championship. At Santa Fe that same year Bob won the prestigious Stars & Stripes classic half mile race on the 4th of July weekend. He finished 4th in points.

Returning to their designated home track in 1970, Bob easily won the Championship. He made every win there special by donating his trophy to a selected young fan. He did travel to special Holiday events at Santa Fe and recorded an impressive finishing record on the ½ mile winning the Memorial Day Classic 50, a 2nd place in the Santa Fe 100, 3rd in the Santa Fe 50 and 2nd place in the NCTC 200.

Bob repeated a Sycamore Speedway Championship in 1972. He received a brand new Snowmobile for his efforts. He started it up and drove it trackside around the track and the Pit Area to the crowds delight. Bob won the NCTC Championship 200 in September of 1971 finally conquering the Big races at Santa Fe. In 1973 he won the annual Farnsworth Ford Classic 100 by a mere 3 feet over Ronnie Weedon and clinched his 3rd Championship for the year. He then returned to Santa Fe at the end of the year and finished 5th in the 200.

Bob raced at Sycamore with a 2nd place finish in 1974, 75 and a 4th in 1984. Thru the years his cars were powered by big block chevy engines built by Weimer Machine, Jack McKirgan and John Kennedy. Bob raced at Freeport, Fairbury, Peoria, Champaign, Santa Fe, Kankakee and his home track of Sycamore Speedway.

     John Connolly:John began his racing career in 1958 at the age of 23 and would race for 23 years making numerous friends throughout the Midwest. His career began racing jalopies at the Dubuque County Fairgrounds, racing there for 4 years and winning point titles for 3 of them.

In 1962, he switched to late model modified stock cars driving a Plymouth for Joe Lehman. By 1965 John was in the top 3 in points at 3 different tracks; Cedar Rapids, Davenport and Waterloo. For the 1966 season, John was hired to drive a 1961 Ford for the G&H Racing team out of Clarence, Iowa. At the end of the 1966 season, he ranked in the top 5 in points at four tracks; Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Waterloo and Sterling, IL. He raced for G&H Racing until they disbanded in 1968.

In 1968 John drove a 1964 Ford for Chuck Thompson. That first year he would win the point Championship at Sterling and was 2nd in points at Peoria IL running only a half season. He also received the “Sportsmanship award” at Peoria Speedway. 1969 would be John’s best ever. Racing an average of 5 nights a week and traveling to special events all over the Midwest, he racked up an impressive record. He won 2 invitationals at Eau Claire, WI, finished second in the Illinois State Championships, won 2 invitationals at Burlington, 2 second place finishes in the Tri-State Championship at Davenport and also won the Corn Belt 100 in Sterling, IL. John competed weekly at Freeport IL in 1970 and despite driving three different cars during the season he finished 3rd in the point standings. He continued to drive For Thompson through 1973.

For 2 years he raced for John Nielsen and won his 1st Freeport Championship in 1975. He teamed up with Keith Simmons of Freeport IL in 1976 and drove his late model through the 1980 season, winning the point title at Freeport in four of those five years; 1977, 78, 79 80.

     Jerry Roedell: : In 1950, Jerry at 16 years of age made his racing debut a Death Valley Speedway in East Peoria. His first racecar was owned by his girlfriend and her brothers. It was a $250 investment that launched his career. He married his sweetheart.

After serving in the Korean War he returned to racing in 1954. Driving the Messer tuned Ford to record a 3rd place in points at Peoria & Lincoln. He also teamed up with Lee Maryam in 1956-57. He raced four to five nights a week for established teams scoring big wins at Sterling Speed Bowl and Peoria Speedway in 1956 & 1958. Jerry won so many feature races that the promoters offered a huge bounty to anyone who could break his winning streak.

Driving Harold Render’s coupe, he won every feature he entered claiming the 1958 Championship. He moved up to the Late Model division and promptly won several 1959 Championship Races. In 1960, he drove Ray Burdick’s #55 T-Bird in the National 400 in Charlotte NC. He ultimately decided not to relocate his family for his full time ride and returned to the Short tracks winning the 1961 Prestigious Peoria IL State Championship race earning the impressive 6 ft trophy. Jerry held track records at Peoria for 6, 10, 25 & 50 lap race events he also won the Sterling Speed Bowl Championship.

Jerry was voted the all-time most popular driver at Peoria in 1987. Jerry’s name was etched in history when he was ranked 6th in the top 25 drivers from 1950-1974. He was inducted into the Peoria Speedway Hall of Fame in 1997. Jerry will forever be remembered for helping others on chassis setups and figuring out what needed adjusting for the car to go fast. After ever Feature win, Jerry would present his winning checkered flag to one of his fans.

     Jack Minster: After being discharged from the Navy in 1945, Jack started his racing career. He worked for Andy Granatelli at Soldier Field officiating for Midgets, Hot Rods and Stock Cars. When O’Hare Stadium opened in 1956 he became Art Kelly’s assistant Flagman. Through the years Jack would become a huge part of the Intermission Entertainment performing skits bringing smiles to the children. He dressed up as an old man then hobbled over to a Harley Davidson motorcycle and proceeded to do burn outs and wheelies. Jack would ride a triple decker bicycle around the track racing T-Bone the Clown. Jack would fill in as flagman at Sycamore Speedway, Illiana, Grundy Co. and Rockford Speedway He rebuilt his 1962 Chevy Pickup with the help of the 1963 500 winner Whitey Gerkin they installed a 409 cu. In. motor for extra power and a permanent push plate so he could push start Midget Programs.

Jack became the official Flagman at Santa Fe Speedway in 1968 when O’Hare Stadium closed. He had the family Buick Electra 225 4 door sedan lettered on each side advertising the Speedway as being the #1 in Auto Racing at the action Clay Track. His passion for racing was immense and he flagged 3-4 nights a week for Midgets, Demolitions, Figure 8 races and Santa Fe’s Stock Cars!

Jack’s race flags were unique. In order to improve the grips on all of his flags, he wove a series of knots in a row on each handle and these were special knots he learned to do while in the Navy. They were known as “Turk Head Knots” he put 6-8 knots in a row on each handle of his signature set of Flags which are on display at the entrance to the Illinois Stock Car Hall of Fame room at the Historic Auto Attractions Museum in Roscoe IL.

Jack was a true pioneer of Stock Car Racing. His desire and ability to make others happy and smiling was his passion in Short Track Racing. His own smile was contagious and expressed his joy as he presented the checkered flag each night. It is my honor on this 23rd day of March 2019 to induct Jack Minster into the Illinois Stock Car Hall of Fame . s well as his grandkids who competed in go-carts as well as his grandson Tyler who raced stock cars at Illiana.

     Rudy Hoerr: Rudy became a part of Auto Racing as a car owner/builder at the Old Mt Hawley Speedway in Peoria, IL. His drivers were Rocky Nohl, Lloyd Caldwell and Herb Shannon.

In the 60’s he campaigned USAC Dodges and Fords at the Springfield & Du Quion Mile race tracks as well as the Milwaukee Mile in Wisconsin. On a National level he fielded cars for Al and Bobby Unser, Bobby Allison, Bill Cheeseburg, Bob Christen and Billy Foster.

In 1975 his sons Irv and Scott started their driving careers. Hoerr Racing started an 11 year relationship with General Motors. In 1986 they signed a contract with Oldsmobile, winning 6 National Championships, over 60 wins in IMSA & SCGA Trans Am Series. In 1998 Rudy expanded his racing duties by selling parts and fabrication services in Peoria. His store is still open and located in Peoria.

     Eddie Anderson/Chuck Scharf: Eddie Anderson and his partner Chuck Scharf are considered the founding Fathers of Short Track Stock Car racing in Chicagoland. Together they started racing stock cars at the old Gill Stadium (87th St.) in 1948. They ran a few exhibition races and the fans loved the new idea and filled the Grandstands. September 5, 1948, Labor Day they ran their 1st full stock car program with Larry Johnson winning the Feature in a 1937 Ford to a full capacity crowd. Later that same year they ran a 300 lap race at Raceway Park. In 1949 they formed the Championship Stock Car Club expanding to race tracks like Anderson, Kokomo, Cincinnati and Indianapolis. In 1950 Eddie & Chuck scheduled 173 sanctified races at 11 major speedways from Texas to Ohio.

At the end of 1952 Eddie & Chuck decided to go their separate ways. Eddie continued on as the Promoter of Gill Stadium expanding and improving the race track from a 1/5 mile to a ¼ mile track. He assisted Howard Tiedt in promoting his new track Santa Fe Park and was instrumental in bringing live TV to Stock Car Racing events in the Chicago Area. He entered several NASCAR events. He was involved with Andersons Speed & Sport Automotive in Chicago.

Chuck created the 1954 SAFE circuit of Champions. They had 44 National Championship events. The circuit became popular and in 1955 they featured all Convertibles becoming one of the top racing attractions in the USA & Canada. They were the highest paid group in the sport. In 1956 SAFE & NASCAR merged with Chuck moving to become the Midwest VP and promoter of Soldier Field. NASCAR came to Soldier Field with multiple Champion Tom Pistone and Curtis Turner winning in 1956. Fireball Roberts and Glen Wood won in 1957. Chuck continued his promotional role at Soldier Field through 1958. He then assisted Raceway Park for many years. Chuck’s last affiliation in racing was with Sal Tovella’s IRA in the early 1980’s

     Bill “Jive” Jarvis: Jive’s sign painting career started one day in the late 1950’s when a good friend was pulled over by the police because his company truck had no name on the side. He knew Jive was good at sketching pictures so he pressed him into doing his truck. He soon became known as a sign painter.

He wasn’t really interested in racing or race cars until his close friends Lee Byers and Ed Farrell waited till he got off work at the local gas station and drove him to their garage where he was talked into lettering his first race car. It was a very unusual garage deep in the city of Chicago. The floor was dirt and it had a kerosene salamander heater that used to back fire every couple of hours causing everyone to run like hell to escape to the back alley. Even scarier were the large rats that ran back and forth under the race car while he was lettering it!! His favorite thing to sit on was a milk crate. Lee didn’t have one so he used an old engine block moving it from side to side during the process. It was the night before opening day at Santa Fe Speedway around 50 years ago. In the 1960’s Kankakee Sportsman Champion Larry Robb nick named Will “Jive” and it’s been Jive ever since.

Jive was honored and received a Stock Car Lifetime Achievement award in 2009 trackside at the Illinois Vintage Stock Car Dirt Nationals at Sycamore Speedway. In 2011, Jive was the recipient of the Frank H Atkinson Lifetime Achievement Award for his innovation, mentoring and friendship presented by the Chicago Brushmasters Organization at the World of Wheels Show. Jive is a member of the exclusive Chicago Brushmasters Organization and volunteers yearly to support Advocate Hope Children’s Hospital Ronald McDonald House. Items are hand painted on site highlighting artforms from the past and re-introducing hand lettering and pinstriping then the items are donated for auction raising approximately $40,000 each year.

Jive’s favorite dirt cars he lettered were Lee Byers #44, Bill Bottoms #27, Ed Farrell #37, John Garrett #16, Larry Jackson #2, Al Johnson #3J, Earl J Hubert #43, Cale Yarborough #11, Buddy Baker #15 and David Pearson #21. He also was proud of Bill Ledys car at Illiana and Bob Schacht’s ARCA cars. The slowest car he lettered was “Santa Fe’s Pinto Pace Car and the fastest was Mr. Norm’s Charger Funny Car.

Today, Jive holds a weekly workshops every Wednesday night and Saturday afternoon at Arnie’s Paint & Supply in Joliet, IL. He is mentoring and sharing his special techniques with young pinstripers. His hope is to restore the interest and excitement of hand painted artistry.

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