View Full Version : CLIFF HUDSON - The Two Minute Interview

Jerry Lee
10-06-2009, 11:07 AM
This week's Two Minutes features a local hero who kept officials scrambling to rewrite the Figure 8 rule book for years at Englewood Speedway.

Cliff Hudson was so passionate about the Figure 8's that he actually got married in the X at Englewood in 1969. Truly an innovator in the sport, Cliff's cocksure attitude about it comes through in this 1997 phone interview.


JL: "Didn't you start out pitting for Arnie Kautz?"

CH: "Yeah, well, I was in California before that and moved back here. My brother Pat was talking about this new wild crazy race going on at Englewood, and he'd built one and was racing it. Arnie Kautz broke the track record with a car and he had it for sale at a ridiculous price of $200. I bought that car and learned a lot of things from it, and then added my own ideas."

JL: "Weren't you the first to have a cambered front end?"

CH: "Yeah. I brought that car out there and they looked at that and thought I was absolutely nuts! (laughs) They couldn't stay with me in the corners. Then Bud DeCoupman came out the next week with his Studebaker like that, and those damn things were almost lying on the floor! After that you couldn't start a race out there unless you had a cambered front end."

JL: "Did you ever get any kick back for running the Seagram's Crown 7 number?"

CH: "There was a guy who represented Seagram's in the stands one time who said they wouldn't legally sponsor me, but gave me 10 fifths of Crown Royal with a beautiful stand to set it on. They didn't want the name Seagram's on the car, but they gave me booze, money, and everything else for running the 7. Really, I just liked the number, with the crown on top."

JL: "Didn't you once run airplane fuel in your Figure 8?"

CH: "Oh yeah, yeah, I was talking to this guy about airplanes and he said it was 140 octane. So I look in the rule book and all it said was "Pump gas with road taxes paid". So I went down and bought 15 gallons of Hi-Test aviation fuel, out of a pump. Then I went down to the Dept. of Revenue and paid the road tax. So I got the receipt and went out to Englewood and tore the hell out of the track record. At the tear down they all thought they had me, until I pulled out that receipt."

JL: "So technically you were legal."

CH: "They found it legal, but had an emergency meeting and said "No more airplane fuel in the cars, taxes paid or not". (laughs) They used to get so mad at me."

JL: "Did you have any rivals?"

CH: "Rich Codner once offered Bob Jackson, Tommy Darrow, and a few others $200 to put me on my lid. No takers though, because I put a lot of them on their lid. I was an artist at it. I did ask Rich about that and he said "Well Cliff, if you'd keep your mouth shut and stop braggin'!".

JL: "You really had no fear of that X."

CH: "Oh, I was crazy! I enjoyed going through that X and judging a quarter of an inch. I thoroughly got high off running like that."

JL: "Do you still have a desire to race a Figure 8?"

CH: "Oh, I would love to get back in a car. I'm serious. It's like the old race horses y'know, that challenge is still there."


Jerry Lee
10-06-2009, 11:19 AM
(J.L. McGuire collection) The Crown 7 (right) and another Figure Eighter pay a visit to the
old concrete flag barrier sending flagmen Dick Kingry and Sid Hansen scampering in the opposite
direction into more oncoming traffic during 1968 action at Englewood. After this season the
flag pole and concrete wall were removed, and a new flag stand installed at the top of the
catch fence.

(J.L. McGuire collection) Cliff’s team mate Gary Wilson #207 takes out the Crown 7 trying to
avoid a pile-up during a Figure 8 main event at Englewood Speedway in 1969.

(Photo by Mel Keller) Dig Cliff Hudson in the cockpit of the rare ‘Glass top’ ’54 Ford featuring
an almost all-star pit crew in 1970 with local legends Chuck Jarman (third from left) and
Jim Robinson (hat). Cliff was known to drive the fenders off his cars. If you look close at this
photo, three of the guys are hiding a darker colored fender before it could be painted white.

Click here for more on Cliff Hudson

Jerry Lee
05-28-2012, 08:23 PM
(J.L. McGuire collection) One of Cliff Hudson's first Figure Eighters in 1966.

(J.L. McGuire collection) This is a pretty straight looking Cliff Hudson Eighter from 1970.
Must have been early in the season.

(J.L. McGuire collection) Cliff picks up another trophy in his rare 'Glass top' '54 Ford in 1973.