Saturday, October 30, 2010

Did you know Jim Hunter?

   So many times in life you don't really find out some things about people you thought you really knew until their death. It's sad that happens, but in a way it's also serves as a reminder to all us that we don't always know people as well as we think.

   Also, it serves as a reminder that there is a lot more to people than what we find out from talking with them or spending time with them. So, it is with Jim Hunter, NASCAR's vice president for special projects and former president of Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.

   In the last few days and weeks I've come across some very interesting tidbits about Hunter, things I didn't learn myself in the 13-plus years I've known them. I decided to share a few:

   Did you know Hunter was the recipient of the Order of the Palmetto? He was awarded South Carolina's highest civic honor in 1995 by then-S.C. Gov. David Beasley.

   Did you know Hunter was an author? In 1975, his book "The Gamecocks: South Carolina football" was published by Strode Publishers of Huntsville, Ala. He also authored a widely-read biography of David Pearson titled, "21 Forever."

   Did you know Hunter once worked for Dodge? He broke into the public relations business in the 1960s, working with Dodge motorsports. He also handled public relations for a number of top IndyCar drivers before embarking on his NASCAR career.

   Hunter spoke from authority because it did it all - he worked in newspapers, both at The State in Columbia, S.C., and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He worked in public relations. He worked as a track executive.

   He did all that and so much more.


  1. I knew him a little. I did an interview with him at NHIS in 2006 and he explained some of NASCAR's policies to where he made some good cases even for policies I've disagreed with. I also remember his postrace confab there in 2005 after the Robby Gordon incident and it was an impossible situation for him.

    He was good, he'll be missed.

  2. Wish David Poole could write about him too.

  3. Had a chance to visit him while a student at South Carolina in 1996 and took his photo while at the Arkansas football game. Great guy all-around and Williams-Brice was almost his second home. Seeing Bryce Sherman do kickoff returns yesterday was poetic because Sherman wears the #22 that Hunter wore as a running back for the Gamecocks.

  4. I agree with what Utter wrote in his Raceday package for and the Observer this weekend about the loss:

    "NASCAR is a little worse off today."

    Can't say I knew him as well as Jim and many others did, but well enough to suspect we'll all be a little worse off without the gentleman.

  5. (Posted by Bob H. on Tom Higgins' behalf.):

    NASCAR in general, the sport's fans and I personally have lost a friend that ranks high among the best ever.
    Jim was relatively small in stature, but in motorsports he was a giant.
    We were friends for 50 years, having met at Darlington in the late 1950s.
    The experiences and stories and fun we shared during that half-century will be treasured by me for the rest of my life.
    My deepest condolences to Ann and rest of Jim's family.
    Tom Higgins
    Mooresville, N.C.

  6. Hunter was another mafia like puppet for France to run NASCAM. He was behind the scam like the rest of the crooked manipulaters, Helton, Pimberton and the cigatette smoking slug!