Lee Hurley was inducted into the AARP Hall of Fame on December 9, 2004.
The AARP (Alabama Auto Racing Pioneers) Hall of Fame resides in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame & Museum in Talladega, Alabama.
This page shows some pictures taken during the induction and part of the speech given by Clyde Bolton.
Born in Ensley 62 years ago, Lee Hurley seemed to always know how to take things apart and put them back together, starting with his bicycle and then the family car. His quest for speed came at the early age of 9 when he designed a homebuilt early soapbox derby car and could be seen screaming down the hills of Ensley Highlands. Then there were go carts which led to micro midgets at the Irondale Squirrel Cage.
Drag racing caught his fancy in the late fifties along with driving a dirt track car at the fairgrounds. In the early sixties, racing on asphalt at the fairgrounds became his passion. He built cars for Marvin Barber and Billy Clark among others. He raced in Montgomery, Huntsville, Midfield, and BIR. During the sixties, after 14 wins in a row at BIR, Tom Gloor placed a bounty on his head which ended only when Lee crashed. Three weeks later he was back and began racing in the sportsman's series all over the south. In 1969, he received a knee injury in Jackson, Mississippi, requiring surgery, and another avenue in this sport came into being.
He spent a couple of years designing and building engines for Bobby Allison and team owner, Mario Rossi. In 1972, he opened Hurley Engine Service Company, which we know as HESCO, with emphasis on high performance engines. He is still in business operating a full service automotive shop and machine shop with 20 employees with specialty engines shipped world wide.
Looking back, here are some of Lee's accomplishments:
- Instrumental in racing careers of Neil Bonnett, Jimmy Kitchens, Chip Mullinax, Bobby Allison, Darrell Waltrip, Soapy Castles, Jabe Thomas and J.D. McDuffie.
- Fielded four AMC IMSA RS sedans for independent drivers from 75-77. Had 13 Daytona wins with these cars.
- Built engines for Neil Bonnett winning two NASCAR championships.
- Prepared and drove a car and a truck setting world records at Talladega Speedway in '76. These records still hold today. The truck is on display at the Talladega Motorsports Hall of Fame & museum.
- Built engines three years for Archer Brothers Racing SCCA Race trucks, winning the Manufacturers championship twice.
- Prepared engines for Chrysler Motor Sports for use in desert racing, stadium racing and Nascar dash Series.
- Engine consultant for Jeep Truck Engineering's racing programs.
- Souped-up a Volvo Station Wagon for well known Paul Newman.
- Hosted a one hour call-in radio show, CarTech, for several years and was known as the original "Car Doc".
Known as the best engine builder in the south, Lee's favorite response to customers who inquire as to cost of an engine is "Speed costs money….how fast do you want to go?"
The truck that set the speed record at Talladega
The Hesco Family