David Hoska is my uncle, my dad's brother. Dave asked me about taking pictures of him and his car. We met up at the Cedar Lake Speedway in New Richmond, Wisconsin. He raced. I was in the area called the Pit, inside the racetrack where emergency vehicles and reporters are located. I moved around trying to find my comfort level standing close to the track with few barriers. There were a handful of photographers in the Pit. I was the only female photographer that night and I guarantee it will not be my last night shooting at a track but first I wanted to learn more racing and this cool racer.
Julie: You are president of a privately held company, D & D Engineering, and travel across the country to race cars. How did all this come together?
Dave: My grandfather was a mechanic fixing cars and tractors, anything. When I went to visit him we would spend time picking through junkyards as a little kid, and learning about motors. My dad, Richard Hoska, was an artist for Brown & Bigelow so drawing was a natural thing for me. Dad took me to see the race cars at a place called MOTOR REPAIR and I was hooked. I guess it was a combination of the art and learning about mechanical things that led me to a career in engineering and product design. For me, race cars are something to be figured out because any slight adjustment can make a big difference in how it performs on the track.
Julie: How do racers typically start learning to drive and who were some of your mentors?
Dave: Most racers start out in go-carts, move on to midget sports cars and then sprinters. At the track, the poor guy that ran the pit shack thought that I was a race track orphan being passed from one race family to another but it was a way of getting into the pits until I was old enough to get into a car on my own. I started racing in about 1968 and traveled with Jim Hurtubise for 4 years, he raced Indy cars. I had many mentors over the years like Don Carr, Jerry Richert, and Harry Kern.
Julie: Describe what it's like to drive a high-powered sprint car on dirt tracks.
Dave: The sound of starting a race car and torgue of the motor is a total adrenaline rush. The engine in my car is a 360 V8 CHEV motor that is fuel injection and runs alcohol for fuel. The transmission is in an out/in box which means it is directly coupled to the back of the motor. It has a quick change rear end. You have to be up on your game to run a sprint car, not like NASCAR. You have 6 to 8 laps to warm up the car and get a feel for the track. Then you get two laps in time trails for position in a heat race which is 8 laps. Only 4 cars from the heat race make feature. The cars that don’t make the heat race run what they call the B main. You have to be the first 4 cars in B main to run in the back of the feature (called the A main). And you have 30 laps to get to the front and win. There is no time to go and get a beer if you are a fan, it goes by fast. A race typically pays between $2000 to $5000 to win. I usually run dirty track but I did run on asphalt this summer which was fun.
Julie: Your car has a fascinating history. What's the story behind Sprinter 92?
Dave: It was originally built by Luther Brewer and I got to meet him. Brewer built eleven cars and this was his last one, built for Stan Borofsky in 1971. Borofsky raced in Kansas and Missouri, and IMCA Fair Circuit. He was seriously injured in the car during the 1975 Knoxville Nationals, when he tangled with Jan Opperman. He sold the car later that year. I learned more about it's background after taking ownership. I was getting ready for push-off at a race and this guy comes up to me and says, 'Hey, I know this car. It was the one that Doug Hjermstead died in.' Not exactly what I needed to hear before a race but it was in fact the car that killed Hjermstead in a crash in Belleville, Kansas. It flipped and kept going down the straightaway.
In the late 70's, Hank Albers became the driver and won many races. I purchased the car in 1990 and restored it to the Stan Borofsky years.
I always tell people that Jim Hurtubise's car number was 56 and he died at 56, my car number is 92 and when I get to 92 I am going to change my car number.
Written by Dave Hoska and Julie (Hoska) Oliver