NASCAR's Jim Hunter Earns Smokey Yunick Award
The award, instituted several years ago by legendary car owner and mechanic Smokey Yunick who passed away May 11, 2001, annually recognizes an individual whose lifelong efforts have had a major impact on the motorsports industry.
¿Fortunately, Jim Hunter found a way to combine his flair for promotion with his love for the sport,¿ said H.A. ¿Humpy¿ Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe¿s Motor Speedway. ¿From his days as a journalist in the Darlington press box to the guidance he is now giving our sport¿s next generation of leaders, Jim¿s tireless dedication has played a very important role in creating the tremendous popularity NASCAR racing enjoys on today¿s world stage.¿
After working as a sports writer and editor, Hunter started his motorsports career in 1968 as public relations director for Darlington Raceway. He joined the editorial staff of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution two years later, but was called back to his motorsports roots in 1975 by Talladega Superspeedway to serve as the track¿s public relations director.
In 1981, Hunter was named public relations director for NASCAR and was soon promoted to vice president of administration. He returned to his native South Carolina in 1993 as president of Darlington Raceway and later became a corporate vice president of International Speedway Corporation, serving as regional director for the company¿s Atlantic Division which included race tracks in Darlington, S.C., Rockingham, N.C., and Richmond, Va.
Hunter returned to NASCAR in 2001 as vice president of corporate communications and earlier this year earned the added responsibility of overseeing the sanctioning body¿s regional touring series and the Dodge Weekly Racing Series.
Previous winners of the Smokey Yunick Award include Ken Squier, Bill Simpson, Ralph Moody, Banjo Matthews, Bud Moore, Cotton Owens and Junie Donlavey.
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