So many times in life you don't really find out some things about people you thought you really knew until their death. It's sad that happens, but in a way it's also serves as a reminder to all us that we don't always know people as well as we think.

   Also, it serves as a reminder that there is a lot more to people than what we find out from talking with them or spending time with them. So, it is with Jim Hunter, NASCAR's vice president for special projects and former president of Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.

   In the last few days and weeks I've come across some very interesting tidbits about Hunter, things I didn't learn myself in the 13-plus years I've known them. I decided to share a few:

   Did you know Hunter was the recipient of the Order of the Palmetto? He was awarded South Carolina's highest civic honor in 1995 by then-S.C. Gov. David Beasley.

   Did you know Hunter was an author? In 1975, his book "The Gamecocks: South Carolina football" was published by Strode Publishers of Huntsville, Ala. He also authored a widely-read biography of David Pearson titled, "21 Forever."

   Did you know Hunter once worked for Dodge? He broke into the public relations business in the 1960s, working with Dodge motorsports. He also handled public relations for a number of top IndyCar drivers before embarking on his NASCAR career.

   Hunter spoke from authority because it did it all - he worked in newspapers, both at The State in Columbia, S.C., and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He worked in public relations. He worked as a track executive.

   He did all that and so much more.