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Hoffman Already Seeing Improvements After Winter Upgrades

Posted By: Mary Lendzion
Written by Mary Lendzion
Photos courtesy of Tom Hoffman and Jenni Riccardi
When Tom Hoffman pulls to the starting line in his 1968 Mustang Fastback, people pay attention.
The car is clean, classic and carefully cared for, and Hoffman is competitive in NMRA ARP Open Comp and NMCA MagnaFuel Open Comp.
To prepare for the 2024 racing season, Hoffman once again reached out to fellow racer Rick Riccardi to plan winter upgrades, and then Hoffman and fellow racer Jim Johnson drove from Michigan to Florida to deliver Hoffman’s car to Riccardi and Marc Poldino at Redeye Racecars in October of 2024.
“Ricky and Marc replaced my 8.50-certified mild steel rollcage with an 8.50-certified chrome moly rollcage, and replaced my previous steel floorboards with new steel floorboards, along with the required bar from the front pillar to the back pillar,” said Hoffman. “They removed everything in front of the shock towers to help my car lose weight, and Marc’s wife, Rachel, put carbon fiber everywhere steel wasn’t required.”
Additionally, the suspension on the car was upgraded.
“We went with the AJE race kit, with the double-adjustable A arms, rack and pinion, K-member, double-adjustable struts, double-adjustable shocks and spindles,” said Hoffman. “AJE was absolutely awesome to work with, and they gave us everything we needed to install everything. All in all, my car lost 200 pounds and sits three inches lower.”
In December, Hoffman and Johnson drove back to Florida to pick up Hoffman’s 427 cubic-inch Windsor engine and Turbo 400 transmission, and delivered the engine to Holbrook Racing Engines in Michigan to be freshened and to have his front sump oil pan replaced with a rear sump oil pan, and the transmission to Sean’s Transmission, also in Michigan, to be freshened.
By the second week of January, 2024, Hoffman and Johnson were taking the engine and transmission back to Riccardi and Redeye Racecars, where they installed them. Then in February, Hoffman packed a wiring harness he made into his suitcase, and took a flight to Florida, where he wired his car at Redeye Racecars.
“I put bulk head connectors on the firewall so that the wiring harness can be removed from the engine bay and out of the way,” said Hoffman. “We mounted LED lights, the size of a silver dollar, on each wheel well in front of the car and in the rear end of the car so that we can see when we are working on it at night.”

When work was wrapped up in early March, Hoffman, Riccardi, Johnson and Riccardi’s wife, Jenni, loaded up Hoffman’s car and headed to Orlando Speed World in Florida to make some test passes.
“For the first pass, Ricky told me to run to the eighth-mile and make sure everything felt good, and it definitely did,” said a happy Hoffman. “The car went 6.04 at 113 mph in the eighth-mile, which was an improvement over my previous personal eighth-mile best of 6.16 at 110 mph. On the second pass, we ran 6.04 at 113 mph, and then we ran it out to a 9.57 at 138 mph in the quarter-mile, which was an improvement over my previous personal quarter-mile best of 9.70 at 136 mph. The car felt like a rocket off the starting line, and was so smooth going down track.”
In addition to the quicker and faster elapsed-time and speed, Hoffman knocked a few numbers off of his 60-foot, and went from a 1.38 to a 1.32, despite the track being prepared for drag radials and he was rolling on slicks.

The team also tested at Immokalee Regional Raceway in Florida that weekend, where Hoffman recorded 6.08, 6.09, 6.10 and 6.12.
“I was so happy with how the car was running, and it will run even better after we make a few more passes and find the sweet spot,” said Hoffman. “Ricky is very detail-oriented. In addition to the main work, he did so many other things, like replace the old dashboard and headliner with new ones, and now, Ricky is replacing my fuel regulator. I can’t say enough good things about him or Marc Poldino, and the work they did.”
While Hoffman raced Charlie Atkinson’s F450 truck at the first race of the year, the 30th Annual NMRA Spring Break Shootout and Saturday Thrill Festival in February at Gainesville Raceway in Florida, he will be in the driver’s seat of his Mustang at the 16th Annual NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals presented by Sipple's Speed & Performance, April 11-14, 2024 at Rockingham Dragway in North Carolina.
“After Ricky replaces my fuel regulator, he is bringing my car to the race in North Carolina, once again going above and beyond,” said Hoffman. “I’m ready to see what it will do.”


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