Dick Hutcherson

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Richard Hutcherson
Born (1931-11-30)November 30, 1931
United States Keokuk, Iowa
Died November 6, 2005(2005-11-06) (aged 73)
Awards 1963 and 1964 IMCA champion
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career
103 race(s) run over 4 year(s)
Best finish 2nd - 1965 (Grand National)
First race 1964 Greenville 200 (Greenville)
Last race 1967 Western North Carolina 500 (Weaverville)
First win 1965 unknown race (Spartanburg)
Last win 1967 Wilkes 400 (North Wilkesboro)
Wins Top tens Poles
14 73 21

Dick Hutcherson (November 30, 1931 – November 6, 2005) was an American businessman and a former stock car racer. A native of Keokuk, Iowa, Hutcherson drove in NASCAR competition from 1964 to 1967. In 1965 he finished second in the overall NASCAR Drivers Championship and had nine wins. In 1967 he finished third overall but after four years of top-level racing he retired at the season's end to devote his energies to "Hutcherson-Pagan Enterprises," a highly respected chassis-building business in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Dick hailed from Keokuk, Iowa, which has long been called the "Home of Champions" and the "Racing Capital of the World" along with his younger brother Ron. The “Keokuk Gang” consisted of “Old Man” Ernie Derr, Don White, Ramo Stott and Hutcherson himself. Dick Hutcherson said of Derr: 'Got to beat the old man. The old man will be tough to beat if you have to haul him out in a wheelchair.' He started racing in 1956 and moved up to the International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) circuit in 1959. Hutch was a quick learner and very competitive and took the IMCA championship in 1963 and 1964. He was the Late Model champion at Huron, South Dakota’s Dakota State Fair Speedway in 1960 and 1964. He has 81 IMCA wins to his credit. During this time he also raced in the Midwest Association for Race Cars circuit.

In the spring of 1962 Curtis Turner fielded a race at Virginia International Raceway in an attempt to compete head to head with NASCAR [1]. The road race was on April 1, in direct competition with the regular event at Richmond the same day. Most of the NASCAR regulars chose to compete at Richmond, some because they were afraid to incur the wrath of Bill France. Entries in Turner’s race included Tim Flock, who had been NASCAR Champion in both 1952 and 1955, three time NASCAR Convertible Division Champion Bob Welborn, and Hutcherson.

NASCAR career[edit]

On March 28, 1964 at the Greenville-Pickens Speedway in South Carolina former IMCA champion Dick Hutcherson was a surprise entry and put his Ford on the pole. He led the first 60 laps before Richard Petty moved into the lead until lap 87. Failure of lug bolts on his right front wheel forced him to the pits after his 109th lap. David Pearson passed Ned Jarrett 23 laps from the finish and won the 100-mile race

As he was racing in the Midwest, he kept hearing about the great racing and the big purses in NASCAR, so he moved south and started on the Grand National circuit, the earlier name of today's Sprint Cup Series. He won 14 NASCAR races in 103 starts in the #29 Holman Moody car from 1965 to 1967. Dick was the hands-down favorite to win rookie of the year in 1965, but was ruled ineligible for the award because he was a past champion in IMCA. He was part of the Ford factory team that dominated the season, including the impressive feat of winning the pole position in back to back events at Myrtle Beach and Valdosta, and he nearly won the NASCAR championship in his first full season, settling for second.

In 1966, Ford briefly withdrew from official factory participation in NASCAR. Contracted to race for Ford, Hutcherson was assigned to the team of drivers in the World Sports Car championship as part of Ford’s challenge to the dominance of Ferrari. Hutcherson and Ronnie Bucknum co-drove the third place #5 GT-40 Mark IIA at Le Mans in June of that year, completing 4682 laps and following two other GT-40s. That same year he finished third in the 1966 NASCAR points battle, despite only competing in 14 races.

In 1967 Dick Hutcherson made 33 starts with 2 wins, 20 top 5's, and third overall, Richard Petty, the 1964 champion, made David Pearson's 1966 season look somewhat mortal. Petty won 27 races in 48 starts. On March 19, 1967, at the seventh race of the season, David Pearson earned his first career victory at Bristol in the Southeastern 500, with Dick Hutcherson finishing fifth. On July 27, 1967 Hutch won the Dixie 500 at Atlanta, after a blown engine while leading put Petty out of the race. Dick Hutcherson won the Dixie 400 on August 6, 1967, leading up to Petty’s string of 10 straight wins. Petty was officially anointed as "The King" during his extraordinary season. With five races to go at Martinsville, VA - Richard Petty had his ninth straight win. Dick Hutcherson was third in points and was runner-up to Petty in the race. It was the same story with four races to go, with Richard Petty winning his tenth straight with Dick Hutcherson runner up. With three races to go, at Charlotte, NC driver Buddy Baker broke Richard Petty’s winning streak. Dick Hutcherson again ran strong, coming in third. With two races to go at Rockingham, NC native Bobby Allison won and solidified his first top five finish in the point standings. After leading late in the race, Dick Hutcherson came home in the 13th position. At the final race in Weaverville, NC Bobby Allison won his second straight victory. Dick Hutcherson finished the season with another top five finish. In 1967, Dick took the checkered flag first at Maryville and Atlanta, and wound up third in the points despite running only 33 times compared to Richard Petty's 48 and James Hylton's 46. Dick averaged 1,020 points per race as compared to Petty only averaging 885 points and Hylton only 792 points per race. Hutcherson retired at the end of the season.

After retirement[edit]

With 22 poles and 14 wins between 1964 and 1968, Hutch retired from full-schedule racing to concentrate on his chassis-building business in Charlotte. After four years of top-level racing he became crew chief for his friend and fellow driver David Pearson in 1968. The combination won the championship in 1968 and 1969. In 1968 he also appeared in the Elvis Presley stock car racing movie Speedway.

Another step in his career became a reality after his tenure with Pearson when he was named general manager of Holman-Moody, a position he held until December 1971 when he and West Coast driver Eddie Pagan formed Hutcherson-Pagan, a business to build and repair race cars. The two were very successful as they built cars for A.J. Foyt, Darrell Waltrip, Rick Wilson, and others.

Recalling his involvement with A.J Foyt, Hutcherson said that "A.J. had bought a Camaro to run USAC stock cars and we were running at Texas World Speedway at College Station. He had gotten mad about what some reporters had written about him in the days before the race. Well he sat on the pole and was leading the race when he pulled in with just a couple laps to go. I leaned in the car and asked him what was wrong and he said, 'Overheating.' I looked at the gauges which were normal and said, 'Why'd you pull out?' He looked at me and said, 'I didn't want to talk to those reporters in Victory Circle.' We had the race won and he parked the damn car!" [2]

In 1976, Hutcherson un-retired to drive at 24 hours of Le Mans again. He co-drove a 7 liter Ford Torino with Dick Brooks and Marcel Migiot. The Torino exited in the 11th hour with an oil leak.

Hutcherson become sole owner of the firm after the death of Eddie Pagan in 1984. one of the sport’s most successful car building operations over the last 30 years. Hutcherson-Pagan parts trucks are still a familiar site around the nation’s race tracks. After being a former owner, President, and one of the founders of Hutcherson-Pagan, Dick retired. He died on November 6, 2005 on his way home from Florida.

References[edit]

Circle Track magazine, August 1993

External links[edit]