Clarence “Hooker” Hood
Born April 9, 1926 Home: Memphis, TN
of Memphis, Tennessee, earned a spot in the National Sprint Car Hall of
Fame in Knoxville, Iowa and would go on to become a famed Super-Modified
& Sprint Car driver. Hood ran his first races in 1948-49, racing both
motorcycles and midgets in the Memphis area.
ran a handful of NASCAR Grand National races in 1954-55 under the number
188, mostly at the old Lehi (Memphis-Arkansas) Speedway, but he did have
one run at North Wilkesboro and one Daytona start on the beach where he
finished a disappointing 41st. The car he ran at Daytona was with an
Olds 88 and the car was purple with a yellow roof and numbers...looking
like an Easter Egg.
His best years were in the period 1965-68. In 1966 he won 20 out of 22
starts, mostly on dirt. In 1967 he won 57 of 63 races, about 1/3 of
which were at West Memphis, Ark. Then in 1968 he won 48 times. Great
statistics for short period.
Hood raced at the Lakeland Speedway in Memphis in 1962 when he was
running a NASCAR Modified Special car. It was a blue coach #99 and he
finished 8th in track points that year. (Also running that night in a
#191 white coach was Sam Swindell, (Sammy's father).
Larry Flynn Lee
Williams Bob Milligan
Car #158 was a '37 Chevy, maroon with
white numbers and probably had an Olds or Caddy under the hood as they
were the hot GM set-ups of the day when engine manufacturers had to
match chassis and body (yep, those were the rules back then!!).
April 15, 2006
O'Reilly USCS Hooker Hood
Sprint Car Shootout Finale
Hooker Hood signed over 500 autographs for his
legion of fans in attendance at Garnertown Speedway and his presence
brought a great spirit to the event with young and old fans alike seen
sporting the legendary open wheel drivers special event T-Shirts.
Several vintage race cars will be on display at that time.
Part of a story written by
Woody Paige for the Denver Post, Feb. 2001
My earliest sports heroes were
"Hooker" Hood and "Big Foot" Riley.
You wouldn't have heard of them, but they probably had more battles the
Earnhardt and Richard Petty.
After one race, Hood (his real
last name and an apt one) and Riley were standing by the fence smoking
cigarettes and talking - which surprised a youngster, who assumed they
were mortal enemies. "Mr. Hooker, can I have your autograph?" I asked.
He patted my head and signed my piece of paper. Mr. Big Foot, could I
get yours, too?" Riley said: "Can't you see I am busy? Go away, kid."
I always pulled for Hooker and
against Big Foot.
As an adult, I found out Hooker
Hood's real job was that he owned a gas station. Big Foot Riley probably
was an IRS agent. I stopped in to see Hooker and tell him what a big fan
I had been. A tired, grease-stained man appeared at the window and said:
"Fill 'er up? Want me to check the oil?" Hooker and I had moved on.
Son Ricky Hood also was no
slouch behind the wheel winning quite a few USAC races and in the
southwest drove for Johnny Herrera's parents Joe & Martha Herrera.