We learned this morning of the passing earlier today of Bob Hughes, the patriarch of the Miss Madison Racing Team. He died in a health center in Sandusky, Ohio, at the age of 89.
Hughes was the founder of Clifty Engineering in Madison, Indiana, a full-service tool and die business who started with the Miss Madison team by volunteering parts and services. Since Bob and his wife Carol (who passed in 1999) had no children of their own, Bob “adopted” the race team and beginning in the early 1970’s, joined the Board of Miss Madison. Bob was President of the organization for over 30 years, ending his active involvement in the early 2000’s. During his tenure, he was also active on the Boards and Committees of the governing bodies, helping to guide the sport and its finances.
Once Bob stepped back from his daily involvement with the team, he turned the reigns over to Charlie Grooms and crew chief Michael Hanson, who, along with driver Steve David, took the tea Save m to heights that dwarfed the team’s prior successes – boats campaigned by Miss Madison, Inc., have won a total of 40 races, the second highest total in history, six Gold Cups, and 11 national championships. Those 11 titles, by the way, have all come during the past 14 seasons.
It is safe to say that the Miss Madison team, now the longest continuously active unlimited team in the sport’s history, would be a completely different organization and would most likely not be nearly as successful without the continuous financial and logistical support of both Bob Hughes personally and his company. Bob contributed millions of his own dollars and untold millions in parts and services through Clifty Engineering – that support allowed the team to stay afloat and actively campaign for both wins and sponsors. According the team President Charlie Grooms: ”Bob was one of a kind, and the team and the town owe him a big debt of gratitude for all he has done for Miss Madison over the years. He will be missed”.
H1 Unlimited offers its most sincere condolences to his wife Pat and many friends of Bob Hughes on this sad day.