Dirt Late Model Vet Tim Hitt Passes At 55

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Tim Hitt, the first Rocket Chassis house car driver, passed away Friday at the age of 55. (Rick Schwallie Photo)
Tim Hitt, the first Rocket Chassis house car driver, passed away Friday at the age of 55. (Rick Schwallie Photo)

SHINNSTON, W.Va. – Tim Hitt, the first Rocket Chassis house car driver, died unexpectedly Friday afternoon at the age of 55 after suffering a heart attack while golfing with friends.

Hitt drove the Rocket Chassis House Car from 1991-99. The native of Weston, W.Va., was a two-time Pittsburgher 100 winner and $45,000 Hav-A-Tampa Shootout winner.

Rocket Chassis co-owner Mark Richards connected with Hitt in the early days of Rocket, with Hitt providing an engine and Rocket providing the car.

“He was a great guy to be around. I volunteered to work basically for nothing and he basically volunteered to drive for nothing, and we took all the winnings and built a race team over that eight-year period,” said Mark Richards. “He won a lot of races and we bought better equipment, better engines. It was a good relationship. It was good for Rocket Chassis, it was good for all of us. It was good for Timmy because it gave him a chance to keep racing when he got to the point where he couldn’t afford it on his own.”

Steve Baker, co-owner of Rocket Chassis, remembers Hitt as a good friend to all that you could count on for anything, at the track or away.

“It’s very tough right now, unbelievable really, we were just with him in Florida. We reminisced a lot about old times and the things we’ve done throughout the years,” said Baker. “Our kids grew up together and we done a lot outside of racing. He was one of the greats”

Baker recalled one of his fondest memories in recent years.

“I remember a go kart race a year or so ago. I’m not sure what the actual name of the race was, we just called it the old timers race,” Baker explained. “He and I had a hell of a race. I won that night. He joked that it must feel good to finally beat him since I never could in a dirt car. I’m truly going to miss him.”

Josh Richards remembers Hitt as a mentor.

“Timmy was a hero of mine growing up,” Richards said. “My earliest memories at the shop, traveling down the road, and learning to work on race cars, with him as the Rocket house-car driver. It’s a sad day for the racing community and a reminder that we don’t know when the Lord will call us home. He will be greatly missed.”

Funeral arrangements have not yet been finalized.