Hugh and Matt Plumb's dad is an equestrian and Olympic champion who competed in the sport of three-day eventing. He began his international competitive three-day event career at the 1959 Pan American Games in Chicago. Throughout his career he competed for the United States in several other Pan-American Games, and won three gold medals, including an individual gold in 1963 and team golds in 1963 and 1967.
Plumb also competed at several Eventing World Championships, accruing four silver and bronze medals. Plumb, who is the only equestrian rider to have been inducted to the United States Olympic Hall of Fame, was named to the U.S. team in every Olympic games between 1960 and 1984, as well as appearing for the last time at the 1992 Summer Olympics, and competed at all of the Games except for 1980, when the U.S. did not compete.
John Michael was previously married to fellow Olympian Donnan Plumb, and the couple has three sons, Charlie, who became a successful event rider, Hugh and Matt who decided to become racecar drivers instead of following in their parent's footsteps.
A week before the eighth round of the 2012 CTSCC to be raced at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Hugh Plumb, who is ranked third in the 2012 championship, tells us about his family of champions including the next generation of Plumbs and his expectations for the rest of the championship.
You are from a family of Olympic athletes since your mom and your dad competed in the Olympics. Why did you pursue auto racing instead of continuing the tradition of your older brother and parents?
Hugh Plumb: "Because I didn't like horses. I thought the most fun part of riding horses was going fast and unfortunately that phase of the Olympics isn't the only discipline you have to do. The cross country discipline - I enjoyed that because it was 20 minutes of going flat out over 15 fences but unfortunately you had to take care of your horse and do other disciplines in the 3 day event of sport that I didn't enjoy. So I would rather go full tilt all the time. With horses, you have to feed them every morning, very early, and clean up their mess!"
Did you have to choose between horse eventing and auto racing?
Hugh Plumb: "No, at that time I was wanting to race motorcycles (BMX) and I think I had to choose at some point which direction I was going to take and the sport of horses is a full time job and I didn't want to commit to that. I had other sports, lacrosse and wrestling that I wanted to commit myself to rather that riding horses."
Did your parents teach you anything about their extraordinary Olympic career that makes you be a better athlete driver today?
Hugh Plumb: "I think what they gave me is my competitive instinct. I think they gave me a very humble approach which is what they have. In the art of high professional athletes that they are, they always taught me to be extremely humble and prove your worthiness as opposed to talking about your worthiness."
Your kids are young but they are already very involved in sports. Your daughter is already competing in eventing and your son wants to be a lacrosse champion.
Hugh Plumb: "Yes, my daughter who is 11, last year won the field hunter trial award, awarded to the rider between 11-14 on a national level, so she won that very, very early and it is a very prestigious award to win. She's also a very competitive field hockey, ice hockey and lacrosse player, but her main focus at this point is following in the footsteps of her grandparents. My son is playing school sports but wants to be a lacrosse superstar in high school and college."
On July 27 the day of the London Olympic ceremony you will be racing at Indianapolis. This race is one of the most important races of your career. With a top result you and Al Carter can be back in the lead of the 2012 championship and continue to be a championship contender. Do you have a lot of pressure before Indy?
Hugh Plumb: "No, in my opinion it's just like every other race when I get in I have got to perform at 100% and whether it's Indy or any other race, I want to win and I want to compete at 100%. So really, no, there is no difference. At Indy it's wicked with the heritage, given the history of Indy it's a special place to be so it's an honor to be racing there but I treat it like any other race."
Your brother Matt is the championship leader. You and Al Carter are third in the standings. With three races to go in the championship the 2012 Continental Tire series may turn on to be a Plumb family affair at the end. Do you have any extra motivation to beat your brother Matt this season?
Hugh Plumb: "I always have an extra motivation to beat my brother, but it's not only my brother, it's anybody that I am competing with. I feel very special to be able to compete with a family member at what I do and I would like to make it so we are 1-2 in the championship with Al Carter and I leading. But there's nobody else I would rather be racing out there than my brother."
Are we going to see Hugh Plumb hoisting the 2012 Championship trophy on September 29?
Hugh Plumb: "That's very possible. It's within our grasp. We and our 45 B+ Foundation - Jetset Magazine Fall-Line Motorsports BMW team need some luck on our side and in the series. Anything can happen. We just need some things to happen our way."
On Thursday, July 26, Hugh Plumb and Al Carter will visit the oncology department of the Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St Vincent in Indianapolis.
Source: B+ Racing