Chuck Hulse

Chuck Hulse

3/10/1927

Winner of the 1959 CRA sprint car title, Chuck was a four-time Indianapolis 500 starter from 1962 to 1967. He also raced on the USAC sprint car and midget circuits.

<br />Chuck Hulse, known as the Pepsi Kid for his cola choice, was from La Palma, California, first became inteersted in racing in the 1930s at the Atlantic Speedway in southeast Los Angeles County. He first raced at the rough Huntington Beach quarter-mile track when he came out of the Army in 1949. He won his heat, the semi-final and was fourth in the main event.

He was racing at Carrell Speedway in Gardena in 1951, driving jalopies and midgets, but a crash there in 1952 put him out of racing three months. In 1953 he got the drive in Clem Tebow’s C-T Automotive Ardun-Mercury. The car initially had overheating problems but once these were sorted he started winning races. When they arrived at South Mountain Speedway in Phoenix, Arizona, he was leading CRA points standing. It was a rough track with a lot of holes and he only managed fifth. Unhappy with Tebow's attitude he quit the team on the spot.

In 1954 he drove for Harold Miller, Robinson & Zabel, Pop Miller and Hank Blum’s big wheel-base GMC that he unfortunately crashed at Pike’s Peak.

In 1957 he won at Miramar for Zabel and Bromme and was banned by the USAC for running in non-USAC sanctioned events. In 1958 he raced at Pike’s Peak.

He was due to drive the Eddie Kuzma-built No. 43 Chapman Spl roadster in the 1959 Indianapolis 500, but the USAC would not lift there ban. Johnnie Tolan got the drive but was unable to qualify. Chuck continued to race in the CRA series. Winning main events and setting a 30-lap track record that stood for years, he won the 1959 CRA title.

He returned to Indy in 1960 and passed his drivers’ test, but a practice accident damaged the car and on the final day of qualifying he drove the No. 59 Sorenson Special, but didn't make the cut. He tried again in 1961 again without luck but finally took the start in 1962 with the Federal Engineering Kurtis 500 roadster. He started 16th and he was running well when a broken fuel pump drive put him out on lap 92 for 21st position.

In 1963 he drove the No. 10 Wayne Ewing-built Watson roadster that Eddie Sachs drove as No. 12 a year earlier. Chuck started 11th and finished eighth. He later finished second at Phoenix. In 18 USAC sprint car races he won one and finished fourth in national points.

In early May 1964, he had a bad crash in a USAC sprint car race at New Bremen, Ohio A car spun in front of him and he rode over a wheel, flipping about 17-times. He had no broken bones, but the G-forces caused eye problems. Being unable to focus properly kept Chuck out of racing two years. He had been due to drive the Dean Van Lines car in the Indianapolis 500 that year.

He returned to the tracks in 1966 and, at the Indy 500, Chuck drove the A. J. Watson rear-engine car. He qualified eighth and was running eighth on lap 23 when George Snider spun in front of him and took off the front of Chuck’s car. That year he drove a full season in USAC finishing fifth or better five times ending up eighth in the National Championship.

In 1967 at the Indy 500 Chuck drove the No. 8 Lindsay Hopkins Lola-Offy. It was the car Graham Hill drove to victory in 1966 as a Lola-Ford. Chuck started 27th and finished seventh as one of the numerous cars in the final lap crash that winner A. J. Foyt drove through to the checkered flag.

In the 1968 Indy 500, Chuck was entered in the Myron Caves Quaker State Special but he switched to the Zecol Lubaid Leader Card car. Then on Sunday, May 19 Chuck clipped the north turn wall with the right rear. The car had only minor damage and Chuck was unhurt but for Chuck it was the moment he realised that he had had enough. He retired form racing there and then.

Chuck had invested wisely in real estate and today manages his property holdings, which include a medical center. His son Chuck, Jr also races.

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