Watching a black no.17 make laps around the wicked-fast high banks of Kalamazoo Speedway is not an unusual sight. It’s also not all that uncommon to see that same no.17 in victory lane after a Modified A-Main.
For nearly three decades; Alamo, Michigan’s Brent Hook has been putting a smile on the faces of western Michigan race fans. For Hook, the interest in auto racing was sparked by a love for cars in general, and after he graduated from Western Michigan University where he played football, Hook decided to pour his competitive nature into a Sport Stock.
After wheeling the Sport Stock, Hook progressed into Limited Late Models at Kalamazoo Speedway, and then for several years his black and lime green no.17 was a regular in the Super Late Model ranks. Brent instantly proved himself to be a fierce competitor in the Super Late ranks, becoming the first driver in Kalamazoo history to capture two feature events in his rookie season, the first of which he still recalls with a grin, “I had to pass Mike VanSparrentak, Bob Curry, and Andy Ponstein. I was still 3rd with two laps to go and I passed them all for the win”. Brent proved those two wins back in ’95 were not beginners luck as in the years that followed he chased them with multiple others including Mid-Season and Season Championship events at Kalamazoo.
By the late 90’s Hook was looking for a challenge and found a new home with the Super Pro Series. The traveling series and stiff competition held an allure that Brent simply couldn’t resist, “I really liked the traveling, it was just a lot of fun going to a race track that you’ve only been to once or twice and having only 20-minutes to figure out how you’re going to qualify and make the race”.
It was while running with the Super Pro Series and the ASA Late Model Series that Brent first encountered Modifieds, “I thought they were pretty cool. They were wild, they were knarly, and they looked like they were a handful to drive, so I traded my template car for a Modified and sure enough they are loud, knarly, and pretty cool. You really have to drive them, even in the straight-aways and they are a lot of fun”.
Brent’s first years in the Modified ranks were spent touring with the USA Modified series, a series in which he continued to have success; capturing Rookie of the Year honors and a runner-up points finish in his inaugural season. When Kalamazoo Speedway added Modifieds to their line-up in 2007, Brent decided there really was no place like home and began competing back at the Zoo on a weekly basis. That initial season Hook found his way into victory lane 7 out of 14 times, and over the seasons that have followed he hasn’t slowed capturing more events and the 2009 track title.
As for the future of the Hook racing team; Brent believes that lies in the hands of his son Chaz. The 13-year old currently competes in the Heavy 160 and Sr. Honda classes at Little Kalamazoo Speedway (A USAC sanctioned 0.25 midget track located off the super-speedways backstretch). As for his own career, Brent is quite content right where he is at, “I just like to drive, I’m having fun, and I am happy”.
For the Hook family, Saturday nights at the track are all about fun and relaxation. As the owners of Tough Coat Powder Coating located on “D” Avenue in Kalamazoo, and the parents of two awesome kids; Tori (age 16) and Chaz, Brent and his wife Karen have very little free time, but the time they do get away from work is spent enjoying watching their children compete; as both are multi-sport athletes.