(TOLEDO, Ohio – January 1, 2015) – Ron Hutcherson made the very most out of his three full seasons on the ARCA national tour, winning championships in 1972, ’73 and ’74. And then the Keokuk, Iowa driver made his glorious exit and marched off into the sunset. And the rest is history.
“I would have kept driving, but it always came down to money,” Hutcherson said.
(Ron Hutcherson races side-by-side with ARCA champion Dave Dayton)
“It took everything I had just to get to the next race. I’m not complaining, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything…I had a lot of fun…especially with John (Marcum/ARCA founder). He made it fun. He was a good one. I still have the silver dollars he gave me. He passed them out all the time. It was part of his trademark I guess…that, and the rulebook that was in his head. We got along really well.”
Following Hutcherson’s brief racing career – he won 12 ARCA races over his three-year stint – he went back home to Keokuk where he operated a paint and carpet store business until he went in yet another direction.
“My brother Dick went into business with Eddie Pagan. Eddie was one heck of a racer from the west coast. My brother Dick was a great racer too. Dick and Eddie left Holman Moody and opened Hutcherson-Pagan in ’71. In the beginning, they built chassis. Eddie passed away in ’84, and then I started getting involved in ’85. I bought Dick out in ‘91, kept the name and moved down to the Charlotte area. When I got down there, we expanded into parts, which became my part of the business. I lived on Lake Norman.
“My brother Dick passed away in ’05, and I saw the COT car coming and thought it was good time to get out, so I sold out in ’08. I think I got out at the right time. Never had a hard word with my brother…we got along exceptionally well. He was one heck of a good racer.”
Hutcherson certainly appreciates the racing era he came from but admits the money’s a lot better these days.
“Money-wise, I wish I would have come along later, but there’s good and bad from both eras. Today, drivers gotta be actors as well as drivers…there are so many people watching them. Back then, we didn’t do it for money…we did it for fun.”
Since selling Hutcherson-Pagan in ’08, Hutcherson has been helping with his son’s business.
“My son started an indoor sports complex in Mooresville…basketball, volleyball, baseball, so I help with that. I lost my wife to cancer this past March, and that’s been very difficult. We were lifelong partners…we did a lot of traveling in the motorhome, which she really enjoyed, and I love to drive, so it worked out well. We would have been married 50 years in June.”
These days, Hutcherson often finds himself reflecting back on racing.
“I miss the business. Mostly, I miss the people. A lot of those good old racers are gone. Every time I’d go to the track, the first guy I’d go see was Jack Bowsher.”
Hutcherson, who will turn 72 on April 24, is living out much of his retirement days in Troutman, North Carolina and Virginia.
“I live in Troutman, right above Mooresville. I also spend a lot of time in Virginia. I’ve got 50 acres there so we go for the holidays…Thanksgiving and Christmas. My son and daughter usually join me there. My son’s got three boys now, so that’s pretty much the family. I’ve got a small house on the property, a pond and I built a garage where I tinker.
“The town’s pretty laid back…only two stoplights. My wife loved the holidays and we’ve got some great memories. She was never involved in the business, but no matter what I did, she stuck by me a hundred percent.
“When I’m home in Troutman, I spend time at the sports complex, go to the shop over in the buildings I rent out. I feel good overall…had some prostate issues but had that all taken care of. It’s been a tough year. After being married for 50 years, it’s tough. I know Mrs. Marcum went through it when John died.”
As one might expect, the conversation turned back toward racing.
“Before I ever ran ARCA, I ran mostly dirt with IMCA. As I remember, my first ARCA race was Winchester. I remember thinking, ‘what a place to start your ARCA career’…that place got your attention in a hurry. We didn’t do very good there, but, wouldn’t you know it, my first win (1972) was at Salem. I only ran three full years – ’72, ’73 and ’74. I drove for myself, which made it more difficult to keep up with.
“I drove just a few ARCA races in ’75, and that’s when I won the ARCA race at Daytona in Jack Housby’s car. It was actually one of Ramo’s (Stott) cars. Jack sponsored Ramo for years. Jack was a Mack truck dealer in Iowa.”
Hutcherson has stayed away from the racing scene since his wife got sick, but he’s considering coming back.
“I haven’t been to Daytona since 2008. When my wife got sick, I took care of her. But I’m actually thinking about going to Daytona this year (2015). I think it’d be good for me to get back and see what’s going on.”