SPEEDWAY, Ind. – Chuck Hulse, a four-time Indianapolis 500 starter, 1959 CRA sprint car champion and one-time USAC National Sprint Car winner in 1963, died Monday, July 13. He was 93 years old.
The 2012 National Sprint Car Hall of Fame inductee appeared in USAC’s sprint car standings each year between 1959-1964, finishing 24th and 16th in the 1959-60 Midwest Sprint seasons. When USAC’s Midwest and Eastern Sprint Car divisions combined for a National trail in 1961, that’s where the South Gate, Calif., native began to hit his stride.
Prior to coming to USAC, his 1959 CRA season was one of dominance. Driving the Morales Brothers’ famous Tamale Wagon, Hulse won 13 of the 43 races that year despite missing nearly the entire first quarter of the season.
Hulse finished inside the top-10 of the USAC National Sprint standings in 1961 (ninth), 1962 (eighth) and 1963 (fourth). The 1963 season proved to be his most productive with the division, starting 18 races and earning his first feature win with the series in August of that year at Ohio’s New Bremen Speedway aboard Clem TeBow’s No. 8.
New Bremen was the site of Hulse’s violent USAC sprint car crash that cut his 1964 season short and put him on the sidelines for both the rest of 1964 as well as the entire 1965 campaign as he recovered from an eye injury.
Though he’d never return to a USAC sprint car lineup following 1964, he did return to USAC Championship Cars where he made a total of 60 starts between 1953 and ’68. He finished as the runner-up at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in 1963 and the California State Fairgrounds in 1966.
Hulse made his four Indianapolis 500 starts between 1962 and ’67, starting 16th and finishing 21st in his rookie year of 1962. In 1963, he earned his first top-10 at Indy, moving from 11th to eighth. In his return in 1966, he qualified a career best eighth, but dropped back to 20th. He made his final start his best in 1967, starting 27th and charging up to a seventh-place finish.