C.W. Hoefer Stuns With Rare Drag Racing Feat

It may not be the first time it has been done, but it deserves Drag Illustrated’s highest accolades. On Sunday, June 16, 2024, Californian C.W. Hoefer won three track point championships at the same track in the same year in the same car – a street machine with no electronics. Competing at the iconic Famoso Raceway just north of Bakersfield, CA, in the track’s NHRA Summit points program, Hoefer won the track’s Super Pro Eliminator point championship, the Pro Eliminator point championship and the Sportsman Eliminator point championship. 

The stunning aspect of this already jaw-dropping performance is the fact “Cee-Dub” races a 383 cubic inch Chevy-powered 1987 Firebird from which all electronics – even the original GM factory computer – have been removed. Most incredibly, Hoefer races the car “footbrake” style in all three Eliminator categories. There’s not even a transmission brake button in the silver Pontiac’s stock interior. The car runs mid-eleven second elapsed times in the quarter-mile and, therefore, can compete within the ET parameters of all three divisions. 

While the car is a “streeter,” recent modifications have made it incapable of passing California’s notoriously restrictive emissions regulations, but in any other state, it’s a “daily driver.” C.W. drove it to tracks within several hundred miles of his Calimesa, CA, home (just west of San Bernardino) for years until it became impossible to pass the “smog tests.”  

C.W. is no stranger to the winner’s circle; hardcore fans may remember him from winning Stock Eliminator in his F/SA ’73 Firebird at the 2024 NHRA Winternationals, an event which started at Pomona (CA) Drag Strip in March but, after a freak hailstorm, was completed at Firebird Raceway in Chandler, AZ, in April. 

Like many “desert tracks,” Famoso Raceway hosts its point series bracket programs from January to June due to the dangerous heat which encompasses the area during the summer months. Hoefer and his wife, Sacha, race nearly identical machines and often stage up against each other in eliminations; it happened at the final weekend of racing in the Bakersfield series. Every other member of the family has a winning racing history as well including brothers Alan, (who passed away in 2020), and Willie, and son Craig. 

In fact, Sacha has won a total of four NHRA “Wally” trophies and is a past NHRA Division VII Champion with four appearances at the NHRA Bracket Racing Championships annually held in conjunction with the NHRA World Finals at Pomona. Sacha owns Premier Flooring, a residential flooring company, and C.W. works for his wife as the business administrator. C.W. has won multiple NHRA Division VII season bracket championships.

Moreover, “Cee-Dub’s” success may be genetic. His brother, Willie, has won NHRA National Events and his father, Bill, won the 1964 NHRA Street Eliminator World Championship in a 1962 409-powered Chevy Impala B/Stocker. Bill then got a deal straight from the Ford factory to drive a brand-new smallblock 289 Cobra-powered 1965 Galaxie 500 C/FX car which he promptly parked in the winner’s circle at the NHRA Springnationals at Bristol, TN, after scoring runner-up at the season opening NHRA Winternationals! Later in 1965, even C.W.’s mother, Sylvia, jumped in the Galaxie and bombed the class record by over a tenth of a second! Nearly every member of the family has appeared in an NHRA National Event final round. 

Regardless of his heritage, Hoefer’s indescribable performance will forever shine among the legacies of legends such as Steve and Brenda Taylor, Chip Horton, Mr. Dirt and others who have struggled to prove something many racers refuse to believe is even possible: to successfully and consistently compete and win against racing machines equipped with electronic aids using absolutely nothing but a stock street car and a foot. 

Others may have won three eliminators in a weekend. A small few have won three eliminators at one track in one day. Many have won two track championships in a year. At least two have won three point titles in a single season at the same track. Until somebody proves otherwise, NOBODY has EVER won three eliminator point championships at one track in one year in one car…”ON THE FOOT”! Congratulations from Drag Illustrated to the entire Hoefer family! 

This story was originally published on June 19, 2024.

The post C.W. Hoefer Stuns With Rare Drag Racing Feat first appeared on Drag Illustrated.

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