Tommy Hunt is the second member of a three-generation racing family which through the year demonstra...ted excellence in multiple facets of our sport which includes mechanical innovation, driving, and promotion. Tommy was born on December 22 1946, the son of Joe Hunt, who after World War 2 successfully adapted aircraft magnetos as a reliable self-contained energy source to power racing engines. Only a few short years after the Joe Hunt Magnetos company was founded, Hunt’s magnetos were used by every car in the Indianapolis 500-mile race starting field. Joe Hunt himself became a championship car owner in 1954 and fielded entries at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway until 1981.
At fourteen, Tommy designed the paint scheme for his father’s 1960 Wayne Ewing-built Indianapolis entry and by 1968, was a mechanic on the Joe Hunt Magnetos 1968 Indianapolis entry, the upright Lesovsky dirt car powered by a turbocharged Offenhauser engine in which Gary Bettenhausen passed his Speedway rookie test. 1968 also marked Tommy’s debut behind the wheel of a CRA sprint car - he competed during CRA’s halcyon years of the 1970’s with such legends as Dean Thompson and Jimmy Oskie and scored three CRA main event wins during his career. In addition to his CRA racing, Tommy raced midgets with USAC and USRC on occasion before he retired from driving after 1982 following a serious sprint car crash at El Centro California.
In 1986, Tommy was named the USAC Western Supervisor by his mentor, Roger McCluskey, and then in 1988 became the USAC Vice-President of Western Operations for the next 25 years. Under Hunt’s leadership, the USAC Western States midget series grew from a weekday program at Ascot Park to boast a 46-race slate for the 1988 and 1989 seasons. In 2002, together with engine builder Keith Iala, Hunt introduced the USAC Ford Focus midget series, an economical open-wheel entry-level class for both racers and track promoters. Among its graduates are 6-time USAC champion Darren Hagan and NASCAR racers Nick Drake and Alex Bowman.
Tommy Hunt’s vision of expanding racing opportunities for racers led him to create the USAC Formula Russell Pro Series and the stillborn USAC Sabre series, both designed to allow USAC short-track racers to hone their skills with the technology of aerodynamic rear-engine race cars. Even after his retirement from USAC in 2013, Hunt continues to work as an advocate for short-track racing and serve the racing community, with the help of his wife Jeanie in a variety of projects including the promotion of Calistoga Speedway and the operation of Hunt’s Race World in Roseville California. Their son, Tony, the third generation of the racing Hunt family, is an 11-time USAC driving champion.
In addition to receiving the Jim Blunk Award in 1998, for his outstanding contributions to the sport of midget car racing, the Roger McCluskey Award of Excellence in 2002, and in 2006, the Eddie Edenburn Award, both of which recognized his commitment to the overall sport of auto racing and his numerous contributions to USAC,