Local racecar drivers leading Montgomery Motor Speedway
Published 2:28 pm Wednesday, August 12, 2015
By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor
Joe Hudson and Rusty Alverson have been racing as long as they can remember. Husdon, 50, resides in Alabaster and says he started racing consistently about 30 years ago, but his dad had dirt cars and racing go-karts that Hudson drove from the time he was 14.
“It’s all I ever wanted to do,” Hudson said during a August 12 interview.
Alverson is 10 years Hudson’s junior, just 40 years old, and lives in Calera. He has been racing since he was around 18 or 19, and cut his teeth at the Birmingham International Raceway. After the BIR was shut down following the 2008 season, Alverson turned to Montgomery to continue his passion.
Both Hudson and Alverson are accomplished drivers, and both are currently leading the field in points in their respective classes. Hudson leads in the late model sportsman class, and Alverson in the mini-mod class.
Hudson has been around the racecar and stock car world his entire life. He spent about 10 years working for the Richard Petty Driving Experience, a travelling event much like a fantasy baseball or basketball camp that allows people to drive a NASCAR racecar. He has also driven a motor home for Bobby Hamilton Sr., which according to Hudson was, “like a million-dollar bus.”
Now, Hudson works for brothers Bobby and Roger Reuse. The Reuse brothers own Alabama Controls, Inc., a successful energy management and security technology company started by their father in 1975 with offices in Pelham, Montgomery, Huntsville and Gulf Shores. The brothers’ hobby of choice is stock car racing, and Hudson now works for them maintaining their stock cars.
Hudson has known the Reuse brothers most of his life, saying his father bought their family’s first racecar from the Reuse family, and counts himself blessed to have had the opportunity to be around the sport he loves for most of his working life.
“I’ve been very fortunate and blessed to be around it through the years,” he said.
Racing is a perk of what Hudson gets to do, and getting down to Montgomery every other Saturday to challenge other local drivers is something he’s been doing for a long time. He started racing there in the late ‘90s he said, and had been going back as often as he can.
Alverson said he was born into racing. His whole family, from his grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins (who he has raced against) all are involved with the sport. He owns his own car, a 2010 Ford Fusion and can spend upwards of 30 hours a week working on it.
“Racing is one of those deals where there’s a lot behind the scenes,” he said. “There’s a lot of hours spent thinking, a lot of heartbreak. It’s not an eight-to-five job. There are some nights this year where we’ve worked until 11 or midnight.”
Out of all the elements of racing that Alverson enjoys the most, he made sure to relate the family friendly atmosphere of the short tracks, and talked about how great the community is.
“It’s just very family oriented,” he said. “It’s not like what you think of at like Talladega or anything like that. It’s a very family friend atmosphere.”
The track has five different classes that race consistently, and a sixth class that races about half as often as the other five. Hudson and Alverson have both led their classes since the start of the season, and now with two races to go both sit in good position to bring home the points championship.
While both Hudson and Alverson said that being a professional racecar driver would be incredible, he’s just happy to get the opportunity to race. Although, Hudson does admit, winning the season points championship would be nice.
“They just give you a pat on the back,” he said. “Last year the winner did get a cooling shirt and water system which helps keep you from getting so hot. I hope they give that away again, that’d be pretty neat.”
The season finishes up on Sept. 12 with the Alabama 200.