POOLVILLE, Texas — After a busy year that had him working for other racers more than driving his own car, one gifted fabricator/driver in North Texas is getting back to where he loves to be in 2023.
For 39-year-old second-generation racer Jason Hunter, this is going to be a very exciting and rewarding year. He only ran eight races in 2022 as he worked to help his employer Justin Long build a brand over at Generation Race Cars in Springtown. They succeeded in a big way, and now it's his turn to race.
Hunter built his own new car for this season, and put it in Boyd Raceway Victory Lane this past Friday night. That makes a win, two top-five and five top-10 finishes in eight starts, and there's more to come. He's is looking to make a lot more races this year while continuing to help build great cars for GRC.
“It sure felt great to get back to Victory Lane last weekend,” Hunter said. “To be competitive, you have to race on a regular basis. Running less than a dozen races per year is tough, the guys who do it every week are going to have an advantage. You have run steady to win, and we plan to do that this year.
“Last year, I really didn't mind being away. I have a big family, and my boys are always involved in something. In fact, we have somewhere to be every night this week. It gets hectic, but family comes first; then work and racing. I take care of my family, our customers, then I can go racing for myself.”
In those eight stats this year, there have been the typical ups and downs. Some nights are frustrating.
“A couple of weeks ago, I was up at Southern Oklahoma Speedway in Ardmore and broke while leading the race,” he explained. “I smoked the transmission and was done for the night. At Boyd the next week, we just missed the podium after a late restart. This past Friday was our turn to hit it right.”
Hunter is now a full-time employee at GRC, welding chassis, hanging bodies and handling other tasks the company offers to its growing customer base. But when he gets time, his No. 13 car is on his mind.
“I work on my own car when I can, but servicing our customers has to be a priority. We're fortunate to have some top-notch racers running GRC cars now, and they're winning races. We strive to help those guys get dialed in and up to speed, whenever they call us. My own car is pretty dialed in now, as well.”
Hunter comes from a racing family, and he's been around the sport nearly all of his life.
“When I was about 10 years old, I was helping my uncle, John Gober, strip cars,” he explained. “I used to go and watch him race a lot when I was a kid. He was a well known and respected Modified driver across Texas, with state titles to his credit. He started running Hot Stocks when I was just a kid.
“There are pictures of me in his car, I've been hooked since I was very young. My grandparents took me to the races every weekend, and I absolutely loved it. I raced with my uncle pretty much my whole career. He backed off a few years ago, so I hooked up with Justin and we started building cars.”
The real challenge every week for this hard-working racer and builder of course, is balancing his time.
“We've gotten to a point now at GRC where we can't do it part-time any more,” Hunter said. “We're busy enough so I'm full-time, and I love it. Last year, I had a day job and built cars in the afternoon and on the weekends, which kept me out of my own car a lot. Now, I'll have
weekends for my own racing.
“We're doing some fun projects at the shop lately. We got to hang our first Late Model body; we did the deck and bead rolled it, it turned out perfect. We couldn't have been any happier with it. It's going well. The quality of our cars and bodies is what sets us apart. It's a hug source of pride for Justin and me.”
Along with his top-notch new GRC race car and big talent, Hunter also has good people on his side.
“I want to thank my great sponsors, including Generation Race Cars, 777 Graphics, Superior Fuel Cells, Abilene Powder Coating, Abilene Race Rads, Fletchers Motorsports, Andy's Sprinkler, CRS Suspension and Totally-Baked Powder Works. I couldn't do this without their support.
“I also need to give a special thanks to Justin long and John Gober for everything they've done for me.”
With the season's first win now under his belt, Hunter will keep on digging in the coming weeks.
“I'm shooting to run around 25 or 30 races this year, maybe win a couple more features, and of course promote Generation Race Cars while keeping their customers happy,” he concluded. “I'm blessed right now with a great family, busy and rewarding job, and a successful race team. That's all a man can want.
“When you love what you do for a living, have family and friends who support your hobby and enjoy life in general, you can't complain. I'm just grateful for all I have and look forward to the rest of this season. I think we're all in for a great year.”
By Phil Whipple, RaceOnTexas.com Staff Writer
Photo by Karen Davis