Local sprint car racer remembered after his death - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Local sprint car racer remembered after his death

(WMC-TV) - A Memphian famous among racing fans is being remembered for his antics both on and off the track.
  
Hooker Hood talked cars with Elvis Presley and competed in races with Richard Petty - racing fans everywhere are now mourning his death

Friends said his real name was Clarence Hood, but after a stint in the Navy people began calling him by the nickname Hooker.

"And he obtained the name of Hooker in the Navy when he was actually feather weight boxer with a mean left hook," said family friend Melendy Kelly.

Kelly and her husband Dennis became friends with Hooker Hood nearly 50 years ago.

"He was a fierce racer and he loved to compete and he won more races during the 50, 60, 70 times more than most anybody in these parts," said Kelly.

His list of competitors reads like a "who's who" of racing - Bobby Allison, Red Farmer and Richard Petty.

"And when Richard Petty came to town a couple of years, he actually asked for Hooker to come down and give him his autograph - and as famous as Richard Petty is, that was a big thing to Hooker for him to ask for his autograph," said Kelly.
 
Hooker was a racing mentor to Melendy's husband Dennis and many others including Elvis Presley.

"Elvis had a love for speed, and Elvis was known for several times to come to Hooker's house and just hang out in his garage, sit in his race car and pick his brains for ways to go faster," said Kelly.

Hooker's specialty was the sprint car. 

In 1999 he was inducted into the sprint car hall of fame.

Hooker was 86-years old when he died, the Kelly family said he lived an amazing life.

Hooker always said, "Some come to see me win, and some come to see me lose - but they all come to see me."

Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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