|Birth: ||May 18, 1926|
|Death: ||Dec. 24, 2012|
"Hooker" Hood, veteran race car driver, took his final victory lap on December 24, 2012. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, December 29 at the Bartlett Baptist Church with visitation to be held on Friday, December 28 from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. at the church (race attire is appropriate). Interment will be in the West Tennessee Veterans Cemetery. A veteran of the U. S. Navy, he is survived by his wife, Carolyn Hood; three sons, Rickey Hood, Robin Hood and Kenny Hood; two daughters, Stormi Hood-Runkle and Misti Cooper; one sister, Marian Stoddard; eight grandchildren and six great grandchildren.
This was in the Sports section of the Commercial Appeal the same day as the obituary.
Mid-South racing legend Clarence "Hooker" Hood, a colorful character who was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 1999, died Christmas Eve. He was 86.
Known for calling everyone "Cat," Hood won more than 700 races during a 50-year-plus career. In 1954 and '55, he made five starts in NASCAR Grand National competition in his '54 Olds 88.
A Memphis native who attended Tech High, Hood fell in love with racing in the late 1940s and won several hundred super-modified and sprint car features. He was revered on the dirt track at Riverside Speedway in West Memphis, where he enjoyed unparalleled success, including winning 20 of 22 feature events in 1966.
"He laid the foundation for auto racing in the Mid-South area," said Stormi Hood-Runkle, Hood's daughter. "And he raced until he was 75 years old."
His career reached a peak in the 1960s. He won the National Dirt Track Championship at Marshall, Mo., in 1967, a year in which he won 57 times in 63 events driving his Chevy-powered super-modified No. 99 car.
He followed his outstanding year with 48 victories in 1968.
"He was just real talented," said Pete Walton, a spokesman for the United Sprint Car Series who grew up watching Hood race. "And if a track got rough, he got better. He had a great feel for (handling) a race car on a race track."
On the Riverside International Speedway website, the home page led with "Loss of a Legend — Prayers and Condolences
On midsouthforums. com, Hood was referred to as "the oldest outlaw of them all."
One post to the site's message board described what made Hood a legend: "Lakeland late (19)50's. Charley Parrish and Coo Coo Martin ran 1st and 2nd one night on the ¼ mile asphalt track and made a gesture of it and it (ticked) Hooker off. His words were, ‘Hey Cat come to West Memphis tomorrow night and I'll lap you.' It just so happened they went and he lapped them."
At the height of his racing career Hood could be found racing motorcycles, stock cars and midgets on practically every night of the week in either West Memphis or at the Mid-South Fairgrounds. Hood also had an affinity for young race fans.
"That was a big thing to him," Hood-Runkle said. "He would say, ‘You make the children happy, you make the parents happy.' He would not leave the pit area after a race until he spoke to every last kid."
Upon being inducted into the Sprint Car Hall of Fame, Hood, who routinely gave his trophies away to those young fans, told an interviewer: "I've had a great life and I wouldn't do anything different except to try and run a little faster and that would be hard to do."
WORLD WAR II
West Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery
Plot: Section L, Site 3172
Created by: B Holland
Record added: Dec 24, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 102530739
Added: Jan. 20, 2014
Missing you so much. I think about you so much and just wish I could look around and you would be here. Love you more....|
Added: Dec. 31, 2013
Happy Thanksgiving!!Wish you were here to enjoy this day.....always in my heart...love you.|
Added: Nov. 28, 2013
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