Matt Hutter

Photo Credit: Mike Costic (MC Pix)

    Matt Hutter

Date of Birth
May 19th, 1971.

Chardon, OH.

My wife Tammy, my brother Trevor, my mom Thalia and my dad Ron.

Race Team
Right now, I’m just doing some drag racing with our family team.

Website  I also keep a Hutter Performance fan page going on Facebook to give people a little look at the day to day stuff we’re doing around the shop.


How did you get started in racing?
It’s always been the family business, so my dad was a big part of getting me going in racing.  We raced go-karts when I was a kid and I had a street rod that I did some drag racing with in high school.  When I was 19 we got our first late model and it was all circle track stuff from then on.

You have raced many different types of race cars from late models to the NASCAR Bush Series. Tell us little bit about your career.
We were pretty successful with that first late model car racing at Lorain and Sandusky, and we moved up to the Iceman series in a couple years.  That was a great car to have, because we could take it and run those Hooters races or the NASCAR All-Pro stuff.  We had some quick success in the All-Pro series, including a pole at the All American 400 that led to James Finch of Phoenix racing giving me a chance to drive ARCA cars for him.  I moved south and learned to work on those cars and drove ARCA for James and later Ed Rensi.  I also did some partial Busch schedules for Team 34 and Bill Papke.  I was working on the cars and learning about the cars the whole time – it’s really where I picked up a lot of my knowledge about fabrication, which I do a lot of now.  I was also a front tire changer for a while, which was a lot of fun.


Is there any race that sticks in your mind?
Probably my first ARCA race at Atlanta.  It was my first time on a track like that, in those cars.  We’d cut a right front tire and hit the wall in practice, and the Phoenix guys put a ton of effort into putting the car back together so we could race.  We got a lap down on a green flag pit stop (I’d never even done a real pit stop before) and raced Tim Steele to get back on the lead lap.  Just so much happened that race – so much experience.  We only ended up like 5th, but we had a chance to win it at the end, and I’ll never forget that race just because it was so much for a kid coming from the short tracks.


Which was the hardest track you ever raced on?
Tri-City in Michigan is crazy, like a road course with all left turns.  Then there’s Darlington, which deserves every bit of its reputation as a challenging track.  You can’t afford any lapse in concentration there.

Who was some your favorite drivers that you raced against?
Locally, we always had a good rivalry with Kenny Phillips’ bunch.  They had dad’s motors as well, so we felt like they were on even footing equipment-wise and we always looked forward to racing them.  In the Iceman deal there were a lot of guys that were tough – Dennis Berry, Tim Ice, Dave Kuhlman, Terry Cook – a lot of good racers.  Once I got into the Busch series, everybody was tough.  All those guys can drive.

So what made you say we are going drag racing after so many years racing in all different types of oval racing?
 It was mostly just the opportunity for a new challenge, and something different that I hadn’t done before.


You also into drag racing. How different of a sport is drag racing to oval racing?
It’s quite a bit different.  Oval racing, you’re always thinking about the whole race – when to push your car, when to save your tires, how to adjust for the long run.  If you make a little mistake, you can make up for it later on.  Drag racing is all about total focus for a few seconds.  A lot happens in a really short amount of time, and you need to be ready to react quickly to what’s going on.  There’s no chance to make up later for a mistake.  It’s a different type of challenge.

So what the biggest differnce in building a stockcar for ovals and building a car for drag racing? 
There are a couple main differences.  In the drag car, everything heavy-duty is in the rear.  All of the front suspension components and the brakes are very light weight – all the stress in happening in the rear of the car at the launch.  The body panels are also very light compared to an oval track car – you don’t plan for the contact that you get in oval track racing.  If everything goes smooth a day at the drag strip, the car comes home looking just like it left.  With oval racing, that’s not always the case – you can have a great day and you still knocked the fenders  off and have tire donuts on your doors.

Tell us about your latest car that you built?
 The car we have now is an ex-Pro Stock car built by Haas.  We modified it pretty heavily, installed a small block LS engine, fuel injection, and lightened the car up quite a bit.  The series we race in doesn’t have much in the way of rules, so we can do pretty much what we want.  Right now we’re racing a series call Asphalt Wars at Thompson Raceway. It’s 15 minutes from the shop and a really good and convenient place to race. Future plans are to travel a little and run quick-8 stuff at other tracks as well.

Photo Credit: Mike Costic (MC Pix)

What do you have in your car?
 It’s a 434ci LS-R engine with 3 stages of nitrous.  We run a Liberty 5-speed transmission behind a Bruno torque converter drive.  We use MoTeC for the ECU and data gathering.  We're looking for 1/8 miles times around 4.00sec and 180mph.

So how do you prepare for a drag race? Sometimes you may have hours between each race. 
We stay pretty busy between rounds just getting the car ready to go again.  Everything needs to be cooled down,  chute needs to be packed,  maintenance on the car done,  the data needs to be downloaded and analyzed and the appropriate changes made.   A couple hours sounds like a lot, but it’s time that gets used up in a hurry.

Now you work on high performance cars. Tell us about that and how to contact you.?
Our shop is called Hutter Performance, and we do pretty much anything  high-performance related to street and race cars.  We do a lot of supercharger kits, head and cam packages, and exhaust systems.  We have a chassis dyno to tune the cars, and my brother Trevor is the best tuner around.  We also do chassis work on race cars, custom headers, things like that.  We built our race car entirely in-house – chassis, interior, headers, engine, electronics – we can do it all here.  You can email us at or give us a call at (440) 285-8467.   You can see what we’re doing at the shop and contact us through Facebook by liking our Hutter Performance fan page.

What are some your favorite cars to work on?
We have some excellent products for the GM LS-engine cars.  A lot of the technology we come up with on the race engines goes into our products for street cars.  We get great results out of our head and cam packages, especially when you put it together with the right exhaust or even a supercharger.  People are blown away by how good their Camaro or Corvette runs, and that’s always really cool.

Hutter engines are in all types of race cars all over the country. How many years have you guys been building motors and where is the future going with Hutter motors?
We’ve been in business for over 40 years with the engine shop, and have over 20 national championships to show for it.  My dad Ron still runs things there.  He’s doing a wide variety of engines for different series right now, from ADRL Extreme Pro Stock to GRAND AM Corvettes and BMWs to the NASCAR Modifieds to local racers with late models and e-mods, as well as street motors for some of our customers at Hutter Performance.  The engine shop is as busy as ever, and I don’t see it slowing down any time soon.

If there was anything you would change about the past what would it be? 
Nothing, really.  I feel pretty fortunate to have had the opportunities that I have.  You learn something from every situation, whether it’s a positive or a negative and it makes you a better person – makes you more prepared for the next thing.

If somebody said to you they want to start racing, where would you tell them to start?
Depends on their age and what kind of racing they want to do.  I started in go-karts.  There’s junior dragsters for the kids that want to drag race.  If somebody’s a little older, I’d say just start at the local level – everybody’s got a local race track, just go out there and watch a little, talk to people, get a feel for how things work and then pick a class that you feel comfortable in.  If you want to be racing but not necessarily driving, head out to your local track and ask around – I guarantee somebody could use some help and you’ll learn a lot watching and helping out.

Is there anybody you like to thank?
First would be my family, especially my dad for getting me into racing and supporting me throughout my career.  Also the team owners who I raced for down south.  I’ve had a chance to do things and race on tracks that not many people get to do, and it’s been a lot of fun.

Copyright 2010

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