The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest Sports

August 22, 2013

Hughes finds success in two classes

Hillbilly 100 qualifier will take place tonight at Beckley Motorsports Park

Most area race car drivers climb into one car each weekend.

Tate Hughes is driving two, and he’s having a blast with both of them.

Ten victories worth of fun, in fact. He has five wins in his AMRA open-wheel Modifieds car and five in his Crate Late Models car.

“I’m spending time in both cars about equal,” the veteran driver from Beaver said. “I like the competition.”

Hughes races most Fridays at Beckley Motorsports Park, then bounces between Princeton and Thunder Mountain (Justice) speedways on Saturdays.

He’s third in the Modifieds points standings at BMP and eighth in Crates points at Thunder Mountain.

Last weekend, Hughes was third in the Fast & Furious 40 at BMP, finishing behind winner Chris Meadows and famed NASCAR driver Ken Schrader.

The previous week he won the Crates race at Thunder Mountain, and on Aug. 2 he won the Modifieds race at BMP.

The latter was a must win. His older brother, Wayne Hughes, was the winner in the Late Models class, in which he’s third in points.

“Wayne and I definitely rib each other, and that’s why I had to win the night he won,” he said. “The pressure was on!”

Tate got into racing because of Wayne. One summer weekend Wayne went to the beach and little brother decided to, more or less, borrow his race car.

“Wayne left his car unattended and my dad and I swiped it,” Tate recalled. “I was 14 and I came out to the track and tried it out.”

It was a recipe for disaster, but both car and driver survived.

“I didn’t wreck or tear anything up, and we didn’t spin out,” Tate said. “It was pretty good for me for my first time out.”

He raced around 10 years, then gave it up in 1993 to “go to work, grow up, get married and buy a house.”

The urge to race was still there, however, and he did some motocross and go-cart racing.

In 2006, Hughes returned full-time to racing. While he’s never won a championship at Beckley, he’s won three at Princeton.

He does have a Fastrak championship in 2007 to go with titles in go-carts and motorcycles.

Much like his brother, Tate drives a smooth, classy race.

“I like to race hard, and I try to race clean,” he said. “I like to win, but if I don’t, it’s not the end of the world.

“Winning is nice, but respectable finishes are just as good sometimes.”

Contrary to what NASCAR drivers often say on TV, Hughes doesn’t think racers go out to wreck each other. Or at least not on dirt tracks.

“We all touch at different times, and sometimes people think that it’s intentional. I’ve been guilty of that,” he said. “But more times than not, it’s probably racing — people trying hard beside you.

“When you’re going door-to-door at 100 miles an hour on dirt, you’re going to touch sometimes. I think, for the most part, people race clean.”

Hughes hopes to race until he can’t do it anymore. What he doesn’t plan to do, however, is race against his brother.

“We’ve run very few times against each other. We try to avoid that,” he said. “We’ve always done well trying to keep each other happy while we’re racing. We’ve never even rubbed each other.

“It’s easier on our mom if we don’t.”

n n n

Beckley Motorsports Park will host a Hillbilly 100 Qualifier for Late Models tonight, as well as races in other classes.

The qualifier, postponed from two weeks ago because of rain, will guarantee the winner a spot in the Hillbilly 100, set for Labor Day at I-77 Speedway in Ripley.

The Hillbilly 100, one of the oldest of all dirt track competitions in the country, will pay $1,000 to start and $25,000 to win.

Also tonight, BMP will host a bike race for kids.

— E-mail:

Text Only
Latest Sports
  • 042014 old white Happy birthday to The Old White

    As Greenbrier owner Jim Justice proudly stood behind the podium on the first tee box addressing a crowd at the 100th anniversary of the historic Old White TPC Course, a surprise guest emerged from the bushes by the tennis center.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 042014 bubba Watson becoming a West Virginian

    Greenbrier owner Jim Justice was glued to the television a week ago today, watching Bubba Watson try to chase down his second green jacket at Augusta National Golf Club.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 042014 spartans LOCAL ROUNDUP: Spartans win Spring Break Wooden Bat Classic

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • St. Joe’s Lewis named 2014 High School Coach of the Year

    Huntington St. Joseph girls basketball coach Shannon Lewis has made a habit of celebrating success in Charleston over the last few years.

    April 19, 2014

  • 041914 old white Old White to celebrate 100 years

    The home of The Greenbrier Classic will be having a birthday today, and the celebration should be something special.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mullens, Pineville to meet in Anderson Memorial

    After many years away from the sideline, legendary Mullens High School coach Don Nuckols is returning to the game of basketball.

    April 19, 2014

  • 041914 D'Antoni Lakers mum on D’Antoni

    Mike D’Antoni was still the Los Angeles Lakers’ coach when he left their training complex to spend the Easter weekend out of town with his family.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041914 gibby WVU trying to find speed on defense

    Tony Gibson took over as West Virginia’s new defensive coordinator over the winter with the goal of trying not to do too much to rock the boat. As the fourth coach to hold that spot in as many years, the Van native — in his second stint as a Mountaineer assistant — knew that his players needed some stability.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041814 Sisler Diamond Classic continues today

    Fayetteville pitcher Kaitlyn Sisler pitched five innings of shutout softball as the Pirates beat Oak Hill 10-0 Wednesday in the Diamond Classic in Fayetteville.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • D’Antoni’s Lakers future still unclear

    With the Los Angeles Lakers season officially over — the Lakers beat the Spurs 113-100 Wednesday but finished 27-55 overall, the most losses in the club’s history and the franchise’s worst winning percentage since the Minneapolis Lakers in 1957-58 — Marshall fans will be keeping a close eye on what’s going on in Tinsel Town over the coming days.

    April 17, 2014