The Nitro Joint w / "Chicago Jon" Hoffman

All in the Family

"Gee our old LaSalle ran great, those were the DAYS!!"

- Archie and Edith Bunker, singing their title song on “All in the Family”


So, I get a phone call from one of my oldest and best friends a while back. Ron has some questions about drag racing, and knows my life has been pretty much immersed in it for "a while", so I say go ahead, my brother, ask away. He tells me his daughter Kory has married a racer by the name of Chad LaMont and they went to see him race. And it's a safe bet this was Ron’s first trip to a dragstrip. He describes the car as 'one of those dragster-things', but he's confused. "Oh WOW, Man, Jon T!! The thing is hauling ass at the finish, but for the first ten feet or so, it just putt-putts along. I don't get it!”


I chuckle to myself, and ask “Does it say Super Comp on it?” Ron is all, "Yeah, how'd you know?” As Marty Feldman said in YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, "I dunno, just a hunch....”


Drag racing as a sport has always been about family. The long and colorful history of quarter-mile racing has always featured families, in all classes and lineage. You could bring up brothers Scotty and Edmond Richardson, or husband and wife 'Nitro' Nellie Goins and husband Otis ('OTIS! My MAN!'), or daughter Jess Turner following in mother Rachael Clancy’s footsteps, or MY first family to root for, the 'Larry and Larry' show of Dixons Senior and Junior. But here we'll be bringing it home, 'Chicago Jon' style.

Presenting, for your dining and dancing pleasure, the father and son Super Comp team of Pat and son Chad LaMont, of Fox Lake, Illinois. Father Pat caught the racing bug like many an American youth, loading up in a car with brothers and friends to see the likes of Chris Karamasines at Great Lakes Dragway. From there, the racing bug dug in with earnest as Pat began racing at Lake Geneva Raceway. When I asked son Chad what his earliest racing memory was, he called over to mom Carolyn (also an important part of LaMont racing) asking, "Ma, do we still have that picture of me as a baby at Lucas Oil Raceway from 1987?" (then known as IRP.) Well, CLEARLY the die was cast early, and so skip ahead seven years, to when Chad began dabbling in the (then still young) class of Junior Dragsters.


Back then Great Lakes Dragway had a program where you could rent such a car for the weekend, which in father Pat’s opinion was a fantastic idea. ("You'd hate to BUY one, then find out the child hates it!") But, this brought about a conundrum. Both Junior Dragster racing and soccer took place on Saturday mornings, and the Coach said you couldn't have it both ways. Chad, shrugging his shoulders, said "Yep, that was pretty much IT for soccer!" (You have chosen WISELY, young Jedi!)


One of my favorite aspects of this story is that not only are they out there having fun, but they are winning, and 'quite a lot, thank you'! By the time you’re reading this, the Midwest Super Comp series banquet will have taken place, at which a nice trophy will have been place in Chad’s hands, as he WON the whole shebang!


And SPEAKING of trophies, another of my favorite racing family drivers, Tony Schumacher (he has a dad named Don; maybe you heard of him) once said about drag racing, "Hey, this isn't like everything else, where they just give you a trophy. In THIS sport, you get a trophy by being the last guy standing at the end of the DAY!”


True that, and there have been "a few" trips to victory lane for LaMont racing. Dad’s first visit was in 1996 at US 41 in Indiana with a Super Comp altered, and Chad’s was in Union Grove, WI, not long after, during a long nine-round day, with a huge payout to boot! He was just starting out then, so there was a lot of 'Chad WHO'? going on in the pits, but hey, suck it up, BUTTERCUP that's racing! You want a trophy for doing nothing, try soccer! (drum rim-shot HERE)


There is an old joke in this grand sport of ours, that being, you want to end up with a nice little pile of money at the end of the day? Start out with a great GIGANTIC pile of money in the beginning! So, while father Pat never got to his original goal of racing against Chris Karamasines in Top Fuel, he IS going rounds in a very cool looking dragster. I 'drew the attention' of the press-room police this year at Joliet, when Pat turned on the win light and put himself into the final eight cars in eliminations, I excitedly took a photo of the monitor. Uhm, they (NHRA) do NOT like such "Tony the Tourist" behavior and I had to do some fast talking to settle them down on THAT one.

Pat LaMont


As for Chad, he would like to be the next Luke Bogacki, multiple time champion and by all accounts, a pretty stand-up racer as well. And lest we not forget the old axiom, 'behind every good man is a good woman' -- and in this case, both racers have solid support from two GREAT women, in the form of Chad’s wife Kory, and Pat’s wife Carolyn. When it comes time to load up the hauler and hit the road, be it for Havana, Bowling Green, Columbus or Indianapolis, Team LaMont sets their eyes and APPETITES on the magical creations known throughout the pits as a 'Mom Sandwich'. Other race teams have been known to sidle up to their hauler and sheepishly ask, “Hey, got an extra Mom sandwich?” True story!


Not only has LaMont Racing put a few more trophies on the shelf this year, there has also been the "bestest trophy EVER" added to the mix with the arrival of a beautiful baby girl to Chad and Kory’s household. And Nova looks pretty comfortable behind the wheel of Dad’s dragster already! So, the future and the 2019 racing season are looking pretty bright for LaMont Racing. They will be hitting the road, a cooler full of 'magical sandwiches', and blasting some tunes, maybe THUDERSTRUCK by AC/DC or MY HERO by the Foo Fighters, but win or lose, at the end of the day it is all about enjoying the journey and having fun. And THAT is how it should be, because after all this whole deal is, All in the FAMILY!


I AM Chicago Jon -- time to say C-YAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!  



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