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Fighting the System

Jim Hurtubise first gained national prominence in fire-breathing sprint cars, taking that dusty, bumpy road to the big time. Photo: Hurtubise Collection

My brother, Jim Hurtubise, started out racing on dirt tracks in California against seasoned drivers like Parnelli Jones and Allen Heath. After “Herk,” as he was known, had done all he could in the West, he worked his way back to “the bull rings” of the Midwest, the heartland of American dirt track racing. All the time, though, Jim had his eyes on the prize: the Indianapolis 500, the Holy Grail of American racecar drivers.

In the course of his drive to make the field and win at Indy, he drove cars he built himself as well as cars built by others. This was the normal state of affairs in those days, when initial budgets were tighter than the skin on a snare drum, and drivers lived out of the cars or trucks they used to tow their racecars.

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