You could certainly see your enthusiasm within the article you write.
The world hopes for more passionate writers such as you who
are not afraid to mention how they believe. Always go after your
My email address alludes to part of what I feel about Jim Hurtubise. He was my auto racing hero, although I only saw him race a dozen or so times. I first saw him at Langhorne in 1960, I was 13 years old. It was like falling in love with a beautiful woman - a Chevy powered sprint car, the colors, the number, the name, and the driving style. I saw Hurtubise race at Trenton, Langhorne, Allentown, and Indy in 1963. But more than that, more than the racing, like anyone in love I called him at his home in North Tonowanda during the winter of 1963. His wife answered and said he was in the garage, but she would go get him - before I could protest she was gone. After a long wait Jim Hurtubise came to the phone and talked to me. He did not rush me, he actually seemed interested and flattered, he asked me questions, and spent much more time than I could ever could have expected. Try that with your heroes of today, except maybe Tony Stewart or Billy Pauch. When Herk was burned a few months later I sent my newspaper earnings to Brooks Army Hospital, I even received a thankyou note from Jane Hurtubise. To make a long story short, I called Hurtubise once a year, every year until he died, just to say hello. Hurtubise was no clown, not by a long shot. Not when you read what he went though in the hospital, and not when you saw him race that sprint car at Langhorne. But most of all, how many sports stars take the time to talk sincerely to a 13 year old kid. I am reminded of two stories - Richard Petty trudged many yards to sign an autograph for a black kid one time, that kid made it to the NBA and wore #43. Jimmy Bryant lived with a family in Indy during the month of May, they had a son who the kids at school made fun of because he told them Jimmy lived at their house. Bryant loaded up his roadster on an open trailer one afternoon and drove the the school to pick the kid up. How cool is that. Herk would have done that. Jim Hurtubise, my hero.
The fans - in 2012 - who recall Jim Hurtubise as simply a comedic character are those fans who do not know the history of their sport. For many years Jim was the epitome of hard competitive racing in Indy's Championship Car Division as well as on the USAC Sprint Car circuit.
Beginning with his first Championship Car win in 1959 at Sacramento, Calif., and with subsequent victories at the treacherous Langhorne dirt mile, and Springfield,Ill., in the 60s, Jim was a fearless and thrilling competitor.
Those in the know realize that it was only USAC's bumbling move that prevented a possible win at Indy in 1963 for Jim when he was at the wheel of Andy Granatelli's Novi.
Paragraph upon paragraph could be written here about the top level capability that Jim brought to automobile racing in the 1950s and 1960s.
Jim was always a funloving and caring guy when his helmet was off, and he certainly brought some lighthearted moments to his chosen profession and those around him.
Betty Packard's remarks above are warming to read and indicative of the close families involved in Indy, sprint and midget racing in the early 60s. Betty's husband, Jim, was also a highly regarded competitor from that era.
I was fortunate enough to witness the daring and fierce competition that drivers such as Jim Hurtubise and Jim Packard brought to open wheel racing in those days.
As fans of our selected sport, we need to invest the time to educate ourselves about the legions of highly talented drivers who went before and without whom there would be no top level racing series in existence today.
I remember a good friend who loved fishing and would go to Canada and come back to Indy with a huge catch of fish. This would result in a great fish barbeque in someone's backyard - an evening filled with lots of racing stories, good fun and friendship at a time when most racers made little money but enjoyed a huge feast and great evenings partying together. I also remember a guy who was a great dad, had a great wife and whose children have "done him proud."
The name Hurtubise brought back memories from early 70's. Saw him race at Ontario speedway in the roadster.