Jim Hunter, longtime NASCAR exec, dies at 71

Jim Hunter, the former president of Darlington (S.C.) Raceway who most recently served as NASCAR’s vice president of special projects, died Friday night in Daytona Beach, Fla., after a lengthy battle with cancer.

He was 71.

While a mainstay in the sport, in recent years Hunter had become a familiar face to most race fans.

He was often the NASCAR spokesman assigned to explain the sanctioning body’s rule changes and penalties in news conferences and never missed a chance to reflect on the sport’s history or his beloved Darlington Raceway.

“You know I wouldn’t want Jim’s job. He’s been thrown into media centers at some of the worst times in the world and I’ve been in the middle of some of them,” said team owner Rick Hendrick.

“He always, in the toughest situations, Jim always handled things with class. He always tried to be factual and to the point and not overdramatize things.

“But he also has never been afraid to walk in, step up and give NASCAR’s side.”

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