Hunt The Front is an online hangout for anyone who loves dirt track racing. Here you'll find news and results, as well as fun and thought-provoking pieces about anything and everything pertaining to driving fast around a dirt track in America.
Welcome to Hunt the Front! My name is Jonathan Joiner. I'm a high school English teacher by day and a race car driver by night.
I live in Milton, Florida, with my amazing wife Shadow and our two-and-a-half-year-old son Tennyson.
Along with being a good Christian, I have five main goals in life. The first three are to (1) be a good father, (2) be a good husband, and (3) be a good teacher. The fourth and fifth goals are to (4) go fast and (5) win races.
My brother Joseph and I drive race cars, Dirt Late Models to be specific. Our weeknights are spent working on our cars, and on most Saturday nights you can find us at a dirt track somewhere in the Southeast competing in the sport we love.
Much like breathing, racing is something I’ve always done. Whether it was watching my father, driving my own car, or working on my brother’s, for as long as I can remember, racing has played a significant role in my life.
My father drove race cars when I was a kid. Through Daddy, Joseph and I learned what it meant to be racers. We spent countless hours with him in the race shop, and we tagged along with him on hundreds of trips to dirt tracks across the Southeast. Daddy hung up his helmet years ago, but he’s always been the driving force behind our success.
My own racing career started in 2000, when I was thirteen-years-old, in what was affectionately known as the Hogg division. My first race car was nothing more than an old Nova with a four-point roll cage. I spent three years competing in the various lower divisions at my hometown track Southern Raceway, as well as Flomaton Speedway in Flomaton, Ala. and Northwest Florida Speedway in Baker, Fla.
In 2003, I moved up to the Limited Late Model division, and spent the next five seasons racing a mixture of Limited, Crate, and Super Late Model events. After winning the Crate Late Model track championship at Southern Raceway in 2008, I scaled back my racing efforts to finish college and start a career. From 2009 to 2015, I raced only a handful of times, while most of my time around racing was spent helping my brother Joseph.
In 2016, my racing career sparked new life when Daddy talked me into buying an Open Wheel Modified. I raced in the Modified division for one year then stepped up to Late Models in 2017. In my first season back behind the wheel of a Late Model, I won seven races and the Late Model Sportsman division title at Southern Raceway. I’ll be a happy man if I can match that success this year.
Regardless of how the 2018 season goes, I’m proud of what my family has accomplished in racing. We’ve won a lot races, but we’ve lost a lot more. We’ve torn up race cars and blown up motors, but we’ve made a lot of great friends and priceless memories along the way. Through all the winning and losing, I’ve come to realize that I’m blessed to have a deep and profound passion for racing. Some people call what we do a hobby. To me, it's a way of life.
My goal with this blog is to record as many of my family’s racing experiences as possible. I hope I can put into words the highs and lows, the wins and losses, the work and gratification that people like us enjoy and endure week in and week out.
A lot of what you’ll see here will obviously include recaps and reports from races that we attend. Whether it’s me, Joseph, or both of us of racing, and whether we’re racing in our hometown or in another state a thousand miles away, I’ll tell you how it went here.
I also plan to share some of my thoughts on dirt track racing in general. I’ll try my best to avoid controversial issues—we see enough controversy in the news—but I hope to share my opinions on any and everything pertaining to dirt track racing.
In addition, I hope to tell stories that illustrate how there’s so much more to racing than driving in circles around a racetrack. Through racing I’ve developed close friendships with people I never would have met, I’ve been to countless places I never would have seen, and I’ve learned hundreds of lessons that I otherwise would never have understood. I’m no Mark Twain, but I’ll do my best to chronicle some of those experiences here.
Lastly, I hope my posts convey just how family oriented our racing program is. My family plays a huge role in when, where, and how I race. Unless Joseph and I are racing at different tracks on the same night, he and Daddy are always with me when I race, and I’m almost always with them when Joseph races. My wife and son also come to most of my races and spend many hours with me in the shop. My stepmother Theresa (Joseph’s mother) plays a tremendous role in our racing as well and rarely misses a race. My twin brother Joshua lives five hours away, but he never misses a chance to give me and Joseph advice or to congratulate us on our accomplishments.
Then there are the countless friends and fans I like to refer to as our racing family. A few of them support us financially or spend hours in the shop with us; others simply stop by at the track to say hello. Some call me each week to see how I did; others follow along on Facebook. Whatever the case, these folks are a big reason why I race. Their encouragement and support are why I come back after a bad night and why I find pleasure in the good ones. These people know who they are and I hope they follow along and enjoy reading what I write.
For the folks who don’t know me well or even at all, I hope you hang around and follow along as well. You may not be a part of the “racing family” I mentioned above, but if you have anything at all to do with racing you can probably relate to a lot of what I said and what I will say here.
Wherever you fall on the spectrum, I thank you for checking out my site. I'd be much obliged if you shared my page with your friends. (See the Facebook and Twitter tabs below.) You can also sign up to receive my posts via email by entering your email address in the space provided then clicking the “Subscribe Now” tab. Finally, if we aren’t already connected on social media, you can find me by clicking the various emblems under "Follow Me."
Thanks again for visiting! I look forward to sharing our racing experiences with you and seeing where this goes.