All too infrequently it seems that a person, man or woman, comes along in life that presents a different but especially a memorable place in the grand scheme of what we all take as being important. Robbie Huck is one of those special persons that leaves a particularly positive memory on many of those lucky enough to know him. Women more often than not adore him while men attempt to emulate him or at least copy his demeanor.
Robert Wardlow Huck III known simply as “Bob” and his wife JoAnne had two sons from their marriage. Mathew Tracy Huck, was born in 1963, and six years later Robert Wardlow Huck IV was born November 19, 1969. The later more commonly known to the world as “Robbie”. Born in Lebanon , New Hampshire, when Robbie was 9 months old he and his family moved to Anchorage, Alaska because of his father’s business and work. This was also during the start of the massive Trans-Alaska Pipeline project, at the time, the largest construction project ever undertaken in the world. Mathew or Matt is quiet by comparison, introspective, and careful in his speech choosing to give serious consideration to each answer given when asked. Matt’s primary interests lie in ice racing motorcycles and his family. Robbie is centered around building engines for fast cars and driving them. He is encyclopedic in his knowledge of mechanical subjects and he freely gives an answer when he knows the subject matter at hand. The refreshing side of Robbie is that as deep as his knowledge is, when he does not know the correct answer, he will freely tell the person asking the question that he does not know without attempting to bolster his status with an answer that is obviously simply made up. He is an amazing man in today’s world and sadly not seen enough of.
It can reliably be repeated here that his racing career began roughly around the time that he was 4 years old and had been given a toy horse with wheels. He promptly located the stairs leading down to the basement of his home and rode the toy horse down those same steps. “He seemed to enjoy the ride” was how his father explained it to this writer. Some of his mother’s grey hair no doubt came from watching her son ride anything with wheels that could be pushed or pulled to the top of a hill behind their home. Then trying to stay attached to that same wagon on the way down to the bottom of the hill faster than the other kids.
Robbie attended Bartlett High School in Anchorage and graduated in 1988 with no particular urge to attend college and obtain a degree in academics. His interests were rooted in mechanical oriented machines especially anything with wheels that could go faster than those around him. His parents considered changing his name to “Moving Violation” shortly after he got his Alaska Driver’s License. The fact that Robbie knew most of the Anchorage Police Officers by their first names before he graduated from High School was not lost on his parents either. He did however serve an apprenticeship in a Detroit Diesel shop learning those engines inside and out following High School. While working at that shop, management warned him several times about his trying to do burnouts with the forklifts. They eventually changed the speed limits on those pieces of equipment to: Slow; Fast; and Robbie.
After leaving home and striking out on his own he moved to Eagle River which is a suburb of Anchorage and has lived there ever since. Marriage has always been something of a challenge for Robbie however when he adopted his son Brandon, he has always placed Brandon’s health and welfare foremost above all else in his life. Brandon forms a very special part of Robbie’s life.
A part of the onus for Robbie’s love of cars could probably be attributed to his Grandmother. When he was 11 years old she purchased a subscription to Car Craft magazine for him. Today at over 47, he has never missed an issue of that tome’ from being delivered to his home.
When this writer was interviewing Robbie for this article, several questions were posed in hopes of obtaining a better understanding of the person and his inner feelings on some matters. One of those questions revolved around “Hero’s” in his life. I believe that more than anything else Robbie’s answer to this gives the best answer to the depth of his character and his personal beliefs. He said “well I have several hero’s in my life, but the first would be Bob Hamre”. This man was a High School Counselor at Bartlett High School. He understood Robbie’s passion for cars and mechanical aptitude and worked tirelessly to keep him interested in school with the benefits that would later come from finishing High School. The second person was Frank Rosendale who owned a Union 76 gas station in Anchorage and gave Robbie his first real job working on and around cars.
During his senior year in high school, Bartlett High School had to undergo significant renovation to remove asbestos insulation and the entire school year was affected by this work. One day Frank Rosendale asked Robbie what he planned on doing with his life while the school disruption was going on. Robbie replied that he was thinking about quitting school and simply working full time. Rosendale’s response was that he could continue to work for him but at a slightly reduced rate, or, he could stay in school and get a small but significant hourly raise. Robbie chose to stay in school and there was never a better choice in his life. His other “Hero’s” were Burt Munro, Dale Earnhart, John Force, Don Gartlett, The Michigan Madman – E.J. Potter and Gene LeMay.
Robbie's crew chief for 18 plus years, Justin Hills
Outside of his son, Brandon, there are three other men who have played a significant role in Robbie Huck’s life, his work and his passion for drag racing. The first of those men is Justin Hills who is more of a younger brother to Robbie than merely a close friend. Robbie first met Justin when Justin was a student at the King Career Center taking a welding class. Robbie and another friend were building or rather attempting to build a roll cage for a car that they were racing. The quality of the welds that they produced left a large gap in both professionalism and quality.
One evening Justin called Robbie at the instigation of his shop teacher and asked if he could come to Robbie’s shop and see what they were doing. Robbie looked at the welding that they had just done and what needed to take place next. Thought for a moment and said to Justin “see if you can do any better with this overhead weld seam.” Justin proceeded to produce the best weld that Robbie and his friend had seen in the entire car and from there the rest is history. Today Justin holds the position of the Crew Chief on Robbie’s Top Eliminator Nostalgia Dragster. He is also one of the few trusted persons that Robbie will allow to work unsupervised on his dragster. Justin has matured and grown with Robbie and today is part owner in Eagle Automotive, a general automotive repair facility in Anchorage, Alaska.