Heading into the Dodge//SRT NHRA U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway this weekend, you may not be familiar with rookie Buddy Hull. If searching for a driver profile on the NHRA website, you will come up empty. But if you search a little further and check out the point standings for Top Fuel Dragster, you may also be surprised to see him sitting in the #12 points position for the 2021 season.
While many rookies would be satisfied, Buddy Hull is ready to start climbing the ladder on the track just as successfully as he does off.
Hull grew up in Central Illinois and is a third generation drag racer. He grew up at the racetrack with his father and his uncle which is where the competitive flame for Buddy began to burn. At 41, he has taken an interesting path to where he is today and you might pick up on that when you see him wedge himself into the cockpit. As a competitive powerlifter for 17 years, Hull has maintained a muscular frame that is as noticeable as his bearded smile when he gets ready to strap into his Top Fuel Rocket.
While Buddy Hull can boast impressive numbers and feats such as bench pressing 750-plus pounds, squatting 800-plus pounds and deadlifting 800-plus pounds, the numbers he speaks about now are having a .04 RT, a 3.7 ET or capping off a run at 330+ MPH.
So how does someone make the transition from competitive powerlifting to the highest level of drag racing? For Hull it seemed only natural to give it a go after doing some Nostalgia racing for more than 13 years. It's the competitive fire that burns within him that keeps him going as a business owner and entrepreneur, but it also lifts him and his desires to be just as competitive and successful on the dragstrip.
Earlier this season, Hull made his debut with Terry Haddock Racing in Atlanta. An existing friendship was only enhanced while working on a project together and eventually presented an opportunity for Hull to get into the seat. When speaking to Buddy, you quickly pick up on the appreciation he has for Terry and the opportunity he now has.
Hull made is debut at the historic Southern Nationals earlier this year and made the field as the #15 qualifier. When lining up in 2021, most drivers will tell you that Steve Torrence is not the person that you want to see in the lane beside you and that was the case for Hull in the first round at Atlanta. As a rookie, you hope for the veteran to make a mistake while at the same time trying to be as respectful as possible to the team, its car and all of the work that went into it. Hull understands that he has a job to do and that rule number one is not to blow the budget by making careless mistakes or pushing the car too far.
Through 7 events in the 2021 season, Hull is still working to make it past the first round in his rookie season. With an eye on Indianapolis he sounds confident on doing exactly that and is excited to get back on track after recently resolving some of the issues the team has experienced over the past few events.
With much of the 2021 season remaining, Hull balances his competitive nature with his drive to continue improving while making great decisions both on the track and off. He also has an eye on 2022 where the opportunity and potential on the track comes without limits. He believes he has the same to offer partners that wish to join him next year on that journey.
As I recently talked with Buddy Hull, it was easy to respect a man who respects the sport and his journey to get where he is today. While being reminded consistently just how competitive he is, you have to remind yourself that he is a 41 year old rookie trying to gain the respect of the fans, the other drivers and the NHRA itself.
Over the next 9 events to conclude the 2021 season, don't be surprised when Buddy Hull grabs his first victory. I wouldn't be surprised if he gets #1 on the biggest stage of all this weekend at Indy. We look forward to seeing you in the pits!
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Vertex Roofing and General Contractors - www.VertexRoofers.com
Circle Racing Wheels - www.circleracing.com
Tovar’s Automotive - www.tovarautomotive.com
Precision Fence / Concho Supply Inc. / Wulff Pumps
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