Vance Hunt

June 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Where Are They Now?

A name synonymous with Top Fuel racing in the southwest from 1960 to 1971 is Vance Hunt. As an owner/tuner, the Arlington, Texas racer fielded a long series of dragsters driven by Ed Mabry, J.L. Payne, Ted Arnold, Jerry Ellis, and Watus Simpson. Hunt began racing in the late ’40s at “any place we could.” Fuel racing beckoned in 1960, and with J.L. Payne driving Hunt defeated both Don Garlits and Chris Karamesines for the Number One spot on the Drag News Mr. Eliminator list and won the ’62 AHRA Nationals. Hunt decided to retire from racing in 1971. His final race was over Labor Day weekend at Green Valley. In his final season he even briefly raced a Mustang Funny Car. Inductions into the NHRA Division 4 Hall of Fame in 1978 and the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 1997 and most recently an honoree in the 2009 Holley National Hot Rod Reunion were fitting tributes to someone who gave so much of his time and talent to the sport during its early years.
After retiring from racing Vance worked for General Motors where he retired from in 1988 after 35 years. He still lives in Arlington with his wife, Wilma, who he married in 1961. Vance has one grown daughter living in Dallas. He still enjoys going to the races and visiting. Vance also spends time with fellow Texan Jim Cullen, helping him tune his nostalgia front motor dragster at the Bakersfield races.
(information from


2 Responses to “Vance Hunt”
  1. Curator says:

    I would like to know if anyone out there knows the whereabouts of Richard Tharp? My Dad, Gary Bailey, and Richard were friends back in the 60’s and 70’s. The last time I saw Richard was at my Dad’s funeral and he told me to look him up, but those were trying times and I lost the information that I had for him.
    Also looking for info on a couple of other guys that Gary Bailey drove for back in the day. Any info on Bones Carroll, Donald or Mitchell Anderson would be great.
    Sure wish you still had the Div. 4 hall of fame at the motorplex. Kind of nice to go back down memory lane, even though I was just a kid at the time.
    Thanks again, Mike Bailey

  2. PJ says:

    I was a friend of Richards in the late 60’s and would also like to know if he is still in the Dallas area — would love to get in touch.

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