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Young racer on ‘Wright’ track

Larry Woody • Jul 14, 2017 at 9:30 AM

After finishing runner-up to fellow Lebanon racer Dylan Fetcho in last season’s tight Legends Series championship battle at Highland Rim Speedway, Hunter Wright came back this year determined to improve his position.

So far he’s right on track.

The rising Wilson Central High junior has won four of five races so far this season to dominate the division and take a solid lead in the standings.

As if that weren’t impressive enough, Hunter is in second place in the Legends standings at Nashville’s Fairgrounds Speedway with three third-place finishes and one second-place in four starts.

After last year’s tough title loss, how gratifying would it be to come back this season and capture not one, but two, championships?

“It would be great,” says Hunter, who was just a few laps from a five-for-five sweep at Highland Rim. In the one race he lost he was in second place, challenging for the lead, when something broke in his car with 10 laps to go.

“I’d like to win championships at both tracks, but my first priority is to get the one at the Rim,” he says. “That’s the one I’ve been chasing the longest. It would be special.”

Hunter, who won Rookie of the Year in 2015, says this season’s turnaround is due to a couple of factors:

“I’ve got more experience as a driver, and that always helps,” he says.

“But the biggest thing is we’ve been having a lot better luck this year than we did last year. Last year we lost some races on plain bad luck. This year our luck has turned around. Except for that one race, we haven’t had any mechanical problems, and I’ve been able to avoid trouble on the track.

“They say that racing luck runs in cycles, and I guess we were due for ours to turn around this season.”

Defending series champion Fetcho moved up to a bigger division this year, which opened the door for Hunter to make a move. That means their racing rivalry is over – for now. There’s a likelihood the two talented young racers will cross paths again in the future as their careers progress.

"Dylan and I started racing against each other in karts about 10 years ago before we both moved up to the Legends Series," Hunter says. "We've always raced each other hard, but we've raced clean, and we're friends when it's over."

Hunter credits his dad Dwayne for much of his success. Dwayne is a retired veteran racer who competition included Dylan Fetcho’s father Scott in the Late Model Division at Fairgrounds Speedway. Both dads are passing along their years of experience and knowledge to their sons.

“My dad is a great coach,” Hunter says. “He has taught me a lot about driving and setting up cars. We do all the work on our cars ourselves.”

Hunter says his mother Julie has also been an enthusiastic supporter of his racing, and gives an appreciative nod to his sponsors: Tennessee 811, Al’s Tire Repair of Lebanon, Sanders Lawn Care of Mt. Juliet and Ace Fence and Supply (acefenceandsupply.com)

Hunter’s family owns and operates Premier Sign & Trophy in Gladeville, site of their race shop. Part of the business involves engraving trophies and t-shirts.

How satisfying would it be to finally engrave his name on one of those championship trophies?

“That’s what I’m working for,” Hunter says. “That’s my goal this season.”

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Rim’s Big Rig race: Mike Morgan of Wartrace took home one of the biggest purses in Highland Rim Speedway’s half-century history -- $10,000 – by winning the recent Bandit Big Rig Race.

The event was billed as the biggest spectacle in the track’s history and such a success that track co-owner Roger Cunningham of Mt. Juliet plans to hold another one in September.

The schedule, point standings, and other information is posted on the track’s website.

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