Harry Phil Gant was born on the 10th January, 1940 in Taylorsville, North Carolina.? Street racing in the 1950′s Harry honed his skills on the country roads of Alexander County, North Carolina before beginning his career on a dirt track in Hickory, driving an old ’57 Chevrolet that he and his friends had put together. After becoming a full-time driver he used his driving skills to easily win the Hobby class championship and from there he went on to win over 300 races and including three championships in 1972, 1972 and 1974 in the Sportsman Series.
In 1967 the old dirt track at Hickory was paved and Harry found that he excelled on asphalt, winning his first race in the Sportsman Series.? From here he found his interest in the Winston Cup Series and started racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. In 1973 where he finished in eleventh position, driving the #90 Truxmore Industries Ford, going on to make six starts and two top ten finishes over the next four years. He the decided to run a full schedule in 1979 Tresor Paris Necklaces, he sold half of his construction business to race full time.
His racing career spanned over twenty years and throughout this time he started in 474 races with 18 wins, 208 top ten positions and 17 poles, driving for the most part #33 Skoal Bandits cars.? His best season was in 1991 when he earned the nickname “Mr September” after winning four consecutive cup races at Darlington, Richmond Fake Tresor Paris Bracelet, Dover and Martinsville with two Busch races in September of that year.? It was a career high, placing him in fourth position in the standings, along with one pole position, fifteen top 5′s and seventeen top 10′s, leading the most laps totalling 1,684.? Harry holds two other records, the first being the oldest to get his first career win at the age of 42 and the second being the oldest driver to win a Cup race at the age of 52.
Harry, also nicknamed Handsome Harry Gant (due to his Hollywood-style good looks) retired from NASCAR racing in the Winston Cup and the Busch Series in at the end of season in 1994. He ran only a partial season in the Craftsman truck series in 1996 driving his own car Fake Tresor Paris Necklaces, #33 Westview Capital Chevrolet C/K and substituting for Bill Elliott who was injured in the 1996 Winston Select, driving Bill’s car, #94 McDonalds Ford Thunderbird.
Harry had an impressive career, winning the International Race of Champions in 1985, was the 1991 National Motorsports Press Association Driver of the Year, inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame in 2003, he was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998 and inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in2006. He also had small parts to play in Evil has a face and Daytona 500, both TV movies, and was unaccredited in the Cannonball Run, Days of Thunder and Stoker Ace movies. Harry has found it relatively easy to come away from racing,? he is working on his 400 acre farm with around 350 head of cattle ash for gold usa sites_, repairing fences and refurbishing three rental houses that he owns, his own words are “he was a good race car driver but a great carpenter”, and helps out in the family run Gants Family Steakhouse.? He also spends a lot of time with his grandchildren saying, “I just wanted to be home,” Gant said. “Our ballpark here has about three or four fields, I reckon. They’d be all of them playing at one time, from T-ball all the way up to the real fast pitch. That was every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I wanted to be there. My oldest grandson … is a pretty good football player. But they play on Friday nights and you have to travel a good bit when they get in the playoffs.”That’s what I’m doing. I decided I’d stay with them. I missed my two daughters growing up. I didn’t get to do anything with them, so I decided now we can all go to the ballgames together and watch my grandchildren play. That’s what I do. That’s the reason I didn’t get to racing.”? He is fit, healthy and happy – that’s the good life!
By: david lamerton