Career Summary:

Jim Hurtubise

  • December 05, 1932
  • January 06, 1989
  • United States
  • Not Active
  • 199
  • 19
  • 31
  • 3
  • 9.55%
  • 15.58%

James 'Jim' Hurtubise (1932-1989) was an American racing driver who was active between 1957 and 1977, starting and finishing his career in NASCAR. He never raced full-time in stock car racing, so he recorded just 36 NASCAR starts in two decades, scoring one victory.

On the other side, he was more successful in the open-wheel racing, recording 96 starts in the USAC Champ Car Series between 1959 and 1974. He was a race winner four times.

At Indianapolis 500, he raced ten times, finishing best in the 13th place. He participated at 1960 Indianapolis 500, what was the last Indy 500 which counted for Formula 1 Championship, so he had one F1 start in his CV.

Jim Hurtubise was active from 1957 to 1977

Jim Hurtubise was active from 1957 to 1977

Starting a career in the 1957 NASCAR Grand National

Born in December 1932 in North Tonawanda, New York, Hurtubise started his career in the NASCAR Grand National series in 1957, driving the #56 Chevrolet for Jim Rush in two races, as Ascot Stadium in Los Angeles and Santa Clara Fairgrounds in San Jose. He was classified 13th in Los Angeles and 10th in San Jose.

Maiden victory in Champ Cap debut season

Two years later, Hurtubise made a debut in the 1959 USAC National Championship, participating in three races. He was driving the #3 Kuzma-Offenhauser for Racing Associates, scoring his maiden victory in his third start, at the California State Fairgrounds in Sacramento.

Other two races were the Hoosier Hundred at Indiana State Fairgrounds and Trenton 100 at Trenton Speedway.

First full season and one more win in 1960

In 1960, Hurtubise spent his first full season in the USAC National Championship, driving for four different owners. In May, he made a debut at Indianapolis 500, not finishing the race in the #56 Travelon Trailer Christiansen-Offy.

Two rounds later, Hurtubise scored his second Champ Car victory. He won the race at Langhorne Speedway, driving the #44 Kuzma-Offy for Peter Schmidt. Hurtubise ended his first full season 16th in the final standings.

Jim Hurtubise in 1960

Jim Hurtubise in 1960

Sprint Car vice-champion in 1961

In 1961 USAC National Championship, Hurtubise was the race winner at Springfield, driving the #56 Kuzma-Offy for Barnett Brothers. In that race, he beat AJ Foyt, who became a champion at the end of the year.

Hurtubise finished sixth in the USAC National Championship standings and almost won the championship title in the USAC National Sprint Car Series. He won six times during the season, finishing second behind Rufus Parnell Jones.

Fourth and last Champ Car victory in 1962

Jim Hurtubise scored his fourth and last Champ Car victory in 1962 USAC National Championship. He was a winner at Springfield for the second year in a row, driving again #56 Kuzma-Offy for Barnett Brothers. In that year's Indianapolis 500 he finished 13th, what remained his best result in the greatest American race. At the end of the season, he was sixth in the points.

In the USAC Sprint Car Series, he was among the front-runners again, winning six races and finishing third in the final standings, behind Rufus Parnell Jones and Roger McCluskey.

Jim Hurtubise in 1963

Jim Hurtubise in 1963

Return to NASCAR Grand National in 1963

In 1963, Hurtubise continued with double USAC programme, finishing ninth in the Champ Car competitions and sixth in the Sprint Car Series. That year, he returned to stock car racing, participating in four races of the NASCAR Grand National Series. In three races, he was driving for Petty Enterprises.

In 1964, Hurtubise had to slow down his racing activities, participating in just six races over the year, four times in the USAC National Championship, once in the Sprint Car Series and one in NASCAR. The reason for that was an accident at Rex Mays Classic at Milwaukee Mile in June, when he suffered serious burns.

Scoring only NASCAR victory in 1966

Hurtubise returned to full-time racing in 1965, participating in fourteen races of the USAC National Championship. His best result was second place at Trenton Speedway, where he was beaten by AJ Foyt.

In 1966, Hurtubise participated in seven USAC races and six NASCAR races. In March, he scored his maiden NASCAR victory at Atlanta International Raceway, driving the #56 Plymouth for Norm Nelson. It remained his only NASCAR win in a career.

Jim Hurtubise in the #56 Plymouth, 1966

Jim Hurtubise in the victorious #56 Plymouth

Occasional racing from 1967

The season 1967 was the last year in which Hurtubise recorded more than ten starts, participating in eleven races of the USAC National Championship. Driving the #90 Watson-Ford for Bob Wilke, he recorded his last top 5 result by finishing fifth at Springfield.

In the following years, Hurtubise recorded ten USAC National Championship starts between 1968 and 1974, without notable results. He was trying to qualify for Indianapolis 500 seven more times between 1975 and 1981, but failed in all seven attempts.

Ending a racing career in 1977

In NASCAR, Hurtubise recorded 23 starts between 1967 and 1977, scoring five Top 10 results. His last race in NASCAR was Delaware 500 at Dover in September 1977.

Hurtubise died on January 6, 1989, after suffering a heart attack near his home in Port Arthur, Texas. He was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 1993.

Jim Hurtubise late in a career, 1978

Jim Hurtubise late in a career

Photos: USA Today, Al Bochroch,