Iowa's '18 Hall of Fame inductee dies
Former standout Iowa racer Don Hoffman of Des Moines, a 2018 inductee into the National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame during August’s ceremonies at Florence Speedway in Union, Ky., died last month. He was 77.
One of the Hawkeye State’s winningest drivers in the late 1970s and early ‘80s, often in a Pizza Hut-sponsored No. 2, Hoffman became the 11th driver from the fertile Iowa dirt tracks to join the Hall of Fame. Besides home-state success, the retired Hoffman won major victories in North Dakota, Nebraska and Missouri, including the 1980 National Speedway Contest Association opener in Sedalia, Mo. Other major victories included the 1979 Nebraska Late Model Nationals in Doniphan, Neb.; the North Dakota Late Model Championships in Nodak, N.D.; 1976’s National Dirt Track Championship in Davenport, Iowa; 1979’s Tombstone Rally in Granite City, Ill.; and 1981’s Spring Invitational at Sunset Speedway in Omaha, Neb.; and back-to-back wins (1982-’83) in the Fall 4 Crown Nationals at I-70 Speedway in Odessa, Mo.
His best finish in Eldora Speedway’s World 100 was seventh in 1975, a race in which three Iowans (Joe Merryfield, Ed Sanger and Verlin Eaker) were the podium finishers.
Donald Gene Hoffman died Nov. 15; he's survived by four children, 12 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Hoffman spent most of his working career as a sheet metal fabricator and was also a construction coordinator for Pizza Hut for several years.
The funeral was Nov. 21 at Westover Chapel in Des Moines with burial at Glendale Cemetery. Memorials may be directed to the Animal Rescue League of Iowa or the American Heart Association.