Thread: Profile... Cliff Hudson
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Old 05-04-2009, 09:19 PM   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Lakewood, Colorado
Age: 55
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Post Cliff Hudson

Written by Jerry Lee McGuire

A big innovator in Colorado Figure Eight racing history was Cliff Hudson, who was best known to fans for his white ‘Crown 7’ Fords.

His brother Pat Hudson turned Cliff onto the sport when it first started here in Colorado for the 1964 season at Englewood Speedway. Cliff first started pitting for Pat that year, then had to have one of his own when he bought his first car (a ’56 Ford) from 1965 Englewood Racing Association Figure Eight champion Arnie Kautz. Cliff also pitted for Arnie in ’64 to learn as much as he could of the sport from the bottom up.

The sport of Figure 8 racing was never the same once Cliff started building his own cars to race. Cliff always had to be different, and is credited to be the first to use negative camber in the front end of the car which quickly became the norm. “They all laughed at first”, says Cliff, “But a few weeks later, once they saw how well I could get around the track and pass everyone, they all started doing it.”. Negative camber in the front wheels is still used on Figure Eighters to this day.

Cliff was also known to wheel the super rare ‘Glass-top’ Skyliner ’54 Ford in the division during the early ‘70’s. Only 1% (13,344) of all Ford passenger cars produced in 1954 (1,165,942) were plexi-glassed topped Skyliner hardtops. They were virtually unseen even when they were new. Who in their right mind would gut out such a collector’s item to run as a Figure Eight? Well, that was Cliff. He just HAD to be different than everybody else. Another Cliff Hudson first was running a driver’s side window net in the division, which others soon followed.

Cliff was also known for “driving the fenders off of the car” each week as most old photos show his Figure Eighter with different colored fenders on it before he could paint them white again. Although Cliff never won a Figure 8 championship, he lays claim to well over a hundred quick times, and many track records at Englewood Speedway during his tenure in the Figure 8 division there. One time he smashed an Englewood track record using 160 octane airplane fuel in his car which the Englewood Racing Association had to call an emergency meeting to quickly outlaw. Cliff always found a loophole in the rules which always had officials scrambling to rewrite the Figure 8 rule book. Cliff was so passionate about Figure 8 racing that he actually married his wife Rae in the X at Englewood Speedway during a ceremony before the races on July 17, 1969. He then went out to break the track record again that same night. Cliff also branched out into Late Model and Modified racing, and was known to wheel Vern Dack’s #60 Modified around the Englewood oval in the early ‘70’s. Cliff Hudson never had any fear of “running the X” and was a lot of fun to watch run the 8. And personally, for those who think that Figure 8 racing is “just an exhibition”, I’ll debate you forever as to what (I believe) “real” edge-of-your-seat racing is.

Some additional photos from the Jerry Lee McGuire Collection of Cliff Hudson:
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