Hunter Exley is a 19 year old graduate of the go cart ranks. The son of Heather and Danny Exley, Hunter wants to follow in his dads footsteps. Danny Exley was a successful multi-time track champion at Sharon Speedway and TriCity Speedway. When the younger Exley got bit by the race bug he started a budding Go-Kart career in the area and found success. He’d often helped and pitched in on his father’s car and got to learn a lot about Open Stocks. And, once the Go Karts were no longer feeding his appetite, the decision was made to have Hunter strap into the car and have his dad tune and coach his son as he took on the tough transition from carts to open stocks.
It was an awesome lesson as a father’s unselfish act to help further his sons racing career.
On this day, September 15, 2018, the ultra competitive Homak Penn Ohio Street Stock Series was at Lernerville Speedway to take on the local contingent in a $1,000 to win, 25 lap race that drew 47 cars. Exley had only raced at the track one time before in his old car last season. This season Hunter strapped into a Slider Chassis built by Franklin Pa’s Bobby Whitling, the 2017 Penn-Ohio Pro Stock Champion. Hunter has primarily raced at Sharon and Tri City Speedway’s because they are close to home, however the Exley family made the decision to get out a little more and compete at some different track while supporting Shawn Hook’s Penn Ohio Series. With any change for a young racer the learning curve can be steep and sometimes frustrating.
Hunter was set to roll off ninth in a loaded heat with multiple proven and veteranrivers on a new track unfamiliar to young Hunter. He held his own and late in the heat race found himself a little more comfortable the more laps he logged as he came home seventh on a wide open, tacky track which made passing somewhat difficult.
The crew lead by Hunter’s father went to work to make the changes needed to get the young driver more comfortable. For young drivers, communication is a huge key and being able to tell the crew what the car is doing and what they are feeling in the car is a key part to success. Being the set up guy on the very sharp 23Hjr, Danny Exley focused his attention on the right front of the car after talking to Hunter and the team got the car ready for the B-Main.
Following the race, Hunter missed transferring to the main event as there were only two spots available. Hunter wound up seventh in a race as stacked as his heat race had been, and again made huge strides in the performance of the race car.
It was clear to see the determination and frustration on the Exley’s face after the racing was over. Sometimes things don’t go a driver’s way, but the key to overcoming these frustrations is a great support system and to keep that drive and hunger to want to improve. It helps drive that competitive hunger. And that hunger is clearly in Exley. The support of an awesome family and crew that are all close friends certainly propels Hunter to success.
The final on track action for the team was the Non-Qualifier race with the team starting ninth and ending up fifth. It was a good night on the whole, as the team got to put the car in the trailer in one piece and the most important lesson of the night was the over coming bad pill draws and starting positions and the communication between Hunter and his dad. Exley is very appreciative of his father’s dedication to helping his career. “If it wasn’t for my dad I wouldn’t be able to do this,” Exley said after all was said and done for the night.
To get to see the dynamic the crew and family have is refreshing. With drivers like Hunter Exley and the passion and energy that both he and his team bring, this sport is in good hands.
VIDEOS With Hunter Exley:
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