Day Motor Sports Driver Profile: Justin Hoffstadt kicks off new Kart season in style

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Any time a brand new season gets rolling, drivers hope their winter prep work pays off on the ovals. They try to set the tone and make a statement, proving their intentions to dominate the coming season. If they can pick up a few wins right off the bat, it might lead to a big year.

For 29-year-old veteran Kart racer Justin Hoffstadt, this year is already off to a great start. The second generation driver has earned five wins in six starts, competing in the L87 Predator and Heavy Predator classes. That’s more wins than he earned last year in 29 total races, and he’s just getting started.

“This is a nice feeling, since last year we really struggled,” Hoffstadt said. “We had a few mishaps, and things just didn’t go our way. But this year, with new horsepower from Tony Rolando, we’re off to a fast start. It brought our program a long way forward, our results are proof of the progress we’ve made.

“Ever since I put Tony’s motor on the Kart, man, we’re rolling. And of course, the thing has to handle to utilize all of that power and make quick laps. We’ve got a handling package right now that’s working.”

Hoffstadt has been at this game for a long while, making him one of the top Kart racers in South Texas.

“I’ve been around this sport all my life,” he explained. “My Dad used to race Yard Karts at the old Odom Speedway. I always watched him race when I was a kid, then when I turned 12 he put me in a Kart of my own. So, I’ve actually been driving Karts exclusively for 17 years now.

“Eventually, I started to figure it out and find some success. These Karts don’t have power steering like a big car; you just have to hold the wheel steady and keep that momentum going. It’s all about staying smooth and choosing the right lines, like most types of dirt racing. I love it when we take the green.”

Ever since Lawrence Mikulencak built his L87 Speedway a few years back, Kart racing has enjoyed a huge shot in the arm. South Texas Race Ranch and Texana Raceway Park promoter Owen Pittman fired up the South Texas Arena Racing Series (STARS) last February, and racers turned out in big numbers.

“It’s gotten to where most of the classes are super competitive now,” Hoffstadt explained. “We had 48 entries in the Predator division last Saturday, and a lot of them were veteran racers. I mean, guys with tons of experience in full-size race cars. They are smooth, and they stay focused on their goals.

“So you need to get the Kart just right, pay attention and get up on the wheel if you plan to win a race. Last year, Vince Louden was the man to beat. This year, we’ve stepped it up, but so has everybody else. He may not dominate again this season, but we might not, either. I’ll just give it everything I have.”

When Hoffstadt puts on his helmet and gets ready to race, he climbs into a rather unique but cool Kart.

“My Kart is actually a Kinetic Genesis, with a killer motor built by Tony Rolando,” he explained. “It’s a very rare Kart, and you don’t see many of them around. I’ve been happy with it this year, starting off at L87 for our preseason practice race last month.

“We rolled into the Race Ranch for another practice race, and it was fast there, as well. The homework and new motor have combined to produce a strong start to our new season. I couldn’t be any happier.”

Along with his years of experience and well-built machine, Hoffstadt also has a ton of supporters.

“I need to thank several good people for all they do, including Tony Rolando at 187 Motorsports; Timothy Lee Thompson at T2 Aeronautical Services; Tony Calderon at Lost Boys; my father, William Hoffstadt; Chris and CR Odom at Coastline Waste Solutions; and The Pals Boys.”

With the 2024 STARS season now in full swing, Hoffstadt knows what he wants to accomplish.

“Our goal this year is to win the STARS Predator and Heavy Predator points titles ,” he added. “I hope it goes our way, but we know anything can happen. What I can control is how we prepare each week and how I stay focused on the track.

“As I mentioned, there’s a ton of big talent in this series for 2024. They’re all gunning for wins, so we’ll need to stay fast and consistent. I just know we’re having fun, people are watching and I love to see it growing like this. If we can end up with a points championship, it will have been a spectacular season.”

By Phil Whipple, Staff Writer
Photo by Alyssa Kaye Waddups