EARL J. HUBERT
Earl started his racing career at Kankakee Fairgrounds in the late 1950’s. After the fairgrounds closed in 1960 due to a driver’s strike. Earl continued his career by driving at Sugar Island Speedway winning the 1964 Late Model Championship driving a 1960 Chevy Impala.
In 1967 Earl was the driving force and personally responsible along with a few others who brought about the return of Stock Car Racing to the Kankakee Area. The group he formed was able to secure steel sheets for a new retaining wall, improved lighting and participating in the preparation for the re-opening of the Kankakee Fairgrounds.
After the 1st year Earl formed a corporation to promote races, purchase heavy equipment to maintain the track and run the concession stands. The corporation operated under the name of Kankakee Speedway Improvement Incorporated with Earl serving as President.
Earl’s Legacy will always be that he was the first to race a small block Ford engine and win races! When the #43 hot lapped & qualified, every fan and crew member could hear his Ford engine screaming over 9,000 rpm. Earl built and assembled his own cars as well as his own engines and perfected them to be fast and to require minimal maintenance. In the 1970’s Hubert revitalized Short Track Dirt Racing when everyone followed his example and switched from, big block to small block engines.
Already having numerous Holiday Championship feature wins, Earl mastered Kankakee’s mid-week open competition series winning its individual Championship over season Champion Tony “Shaggy” Izzo. It was the “Run what you brung” series. Earl’s screaming Torinos and Mustangs were winning races at Santa Fe, Kankakee and scoring Championships at Boswell in 1974 and Rensselaer in 1976. In 1973, he switched to a Buick powered car and recorded his biggest win of his career, the Santa Fe National Clay Track 200 Lapper. It was the first and only time it was won by a Buick.
On July 4, 1976 at Boswell Speedway, with over 100 cars in the Pits for the Holiday Firecracker 100 lapper, Earl failed to qualify. He started last in the semi-feature and raced his way to a win qualifying him to move to the 100 lap Main event. He once again started last and craftily moved through traffic to score a popular win to the delight of his many fans. Earl J Hubert is listed 12th on the All Time Feature win list at Kankakee Fairgrounds with 23 Feature wins. Earl will always be remembered for his warm smile and willingness to assist and mentor rookie drivers.
So It is my pleasure on this 24th day of March 2018 to induct Earl J Hubert into the Illinois Stock Car Hall of Fame.