DARLINGTON, SC (WIS) - NASCAR Vice President and former Darlington Raceway President Jim Hunter knows a thing or two about fighting tough battles and we're not just talking about on the track.
Hunter was diagnosed with lung cancer this past October. The disease is currently in remission.
Hunter planned his treatments so they would end just in time for the start of the NASCAR season. He also discovered that getting back to the track and spending time with his extended family is also some pretty good medicine.
Hunter was back in familiar surroundings last month. It was Southern 500 weekend and the former Darlington Raceway president was hanging around the media center that bears his name.
"This is my favorite racetrack," said Hunter. "Always has been and always will be."
Last October, Hunter was in Talladega, AL, and he wasn't feeling well. His throat was swollen and so was his right arm.
Hunter was taken to a hospital where they discovered a blood clot and the cancer.
"Through the blood clot, they found out I had lung cancer," said Hunter. "I had been a smoker for 58 years, so it was no surprise to me."
Hunter's cancer was discovered on a Saturday. Three days later, he started chemotherapy.
"I sympathize with anyone who has to go through chemo," said Hunter.
Hunter is now NASCAR's vice president of corporate communications. When he was Darlington Raceway's president, he often used humor to promote the racetrack. That's Hunter playing the role of a charging bull. With the help of friends, Hunter is attacking cancer the same way.
"The people in this industry wouldn't let me get down," said Hunter.
NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick reached out to Hunter the same way Hunter reached out to him when Hendrick was fighting leukemia.
"What you really need is support from your friends and family," said Hunter. "It's always good to see other people that have survived cancer because that gives you the motivation to keep on fighting."
So far, Hunter is winning the fight.
"I feel very, very fortunate," he said. "Thank the good Lord I'm here and feel as good as I do."
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