Courtesy photo by Jeff Loney/Johnny Rogers Productions|
Hunter Spivey currently races karts in the Quarter Midget Association of Huntsville.
Decatur 14-year-old upholds family racing tradition
By Paul Stackhouse
The latest in a line of family racers, Hunter Spivey of Decatur has a definite need for speed.
That’s obvious when you look at his trophy collection or speak with the 14-year-old about his kart-racing career, in which the machines he races go as fast as 60 miles per hour.
A recent graduate of Oak Park Middle School, Spivey races karts in the Quarter Midget Association of Huntsville, where his father, Mark Spivey, serves as crew chief — or handler, as the position is called at the track.
Mark’s father, Bill Spivey, a retired mechanical engineer from NASA, serves as the team mechanic and troubleshooter.
Racing didn’t come to Hunter Spivey by accident. His family became involved in the sport long before he was born.
In 1972, Bill Spivey noticed a kart racing display at a Huntsville mall and spoke with Mark, then 10 years old, about what he saw.
“He came in an asked me if I would like to start racing,” Mark said. “I thought it would be great to give it a shot and look where it has taken the family since. I just wish I had started when I was five — that’s how much fun this sport is.”
Mark’s older son, Tyler, picked up the racing bug when he was 10. Now 17, Tyler doesn’t race anymore. He graduated last week from Decatur High and still supports his younger brother’s efforts.
“I want to take it as far as I can,” Hunter Spivey said. “This may be my last season in the quarter midgets. We go about 60 miles per hour now, but I want that to go up. I’m seriously thinking about moving up to Mini-Stocks. It’s sort of like a converted Mustang, but instead of going 60, I’ll be going like 100.”
Hunter Spivey started racing when he was 6. He participates in three divisions of the Racing 3 points championships. Racing 3 falls under the umbrella of the Quarter Midgets of America Association. He races in the Honda 120, Honda 160, and Briggs divisions.
When asked about the best moment he has ever had in racing, Spivey was quick to respond.
“That would have to be last weekend in Huntsville,” he said, smiling. “I won all three races in each division and set a new track record (Huntsville’s Quarter Midget Association track) in the Honda 160. I’m not sure but I think I set the best time of anyone in the last three or four years.”
When asked about his worst memory of his racing career, Spivey covered his face with both hands before speaking.
“That would have to be a few weeks ago in Nashville,” he said. “I locked up the engine. It was gone. I lost it, and it was our best and fastest one. After getting in the backup, I started racing again and the steering wheel came off. The steering wheel came off and I wrecked, I hit the wall hard, but it didn’t hurt. I was fine.
“I’ve never been hurt bad while racing. I get some bruises every now and then and sometimes I get headaches from getting beat around in the car.”
The goal for this year is to reach and win the Region 3 championship in Columbus, Ohio, which usually runs around the Thanksgiving holidays.
It is the climax of the season, which starts in March.
Hunter’s mother, Becky Spivey, attends some of the races.
“I do enjoy it,” she said. “In the beginning, I was a little nervous with my boys racing, but now I’m comfortable with it.”
As far as Hunter Spivey wanting to move up to Mini-Stocks where speeds can exceed 100 miles per hour, his father is all for it.
“I’m actually encouraging him to do it,” Mark Spivey said, smiling. “If Hunter does that, I’ll be able to get in the cars and run around. I wouldn’t mind doing that at all. And, I would really enjoy watching him as he faces a new challenge.”
Hunter Spivey said he is hoping to make something of his racing career.
He admitted that one day he wouldn’t mind beating his favorite NASCAR driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr., to the finish line.
When it comes to Hunter Spivey’s desire for speed, well, it doesn’t look like there’s any slowing down.
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