Will Hanna Gainesville summary

Hanna finds the 5.60's in Gainesville GAINESVILLE, Fla. - NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car pilot Will Hanna posted career-best numbers during this past weekend's ACDelco Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla. Hanna, driver of the Big Easy ...

Hanna finds the 5.60's in Gainesville

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car pilot Will Hanna posted career-best numbers during this past weekend's ACDelco Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla. Hanna, driver of the Big Easy Daiquiri Factory/Advanced Transmission Center Monte Carlo recorded a career-best 5.660 second elapsed time before going out in round one.

Hanna, 27, of Richwood, Texas, is quick to point out the team's newfound performance stems from the hard work of Team Owner/Crew Chief Harry Clack and some help from fellow Top Alcohol Funny Car racer Steve Harker. The team qualified 11th in the field with their quickest and fastest pass to date, a 5.660 at 254.09 mph. Coming into the weekend, the team's prior best was a 5.82 at 250 mph.

"We've all put a lot of hours and work into figuring out this Lencodrive combination," said Hanna. "But Harry's hard work and commitment to this program is what put us here. I was lucky enough at the end of last year to get to work for Steve Harker as a crewmember, and he's kind of taken us under his wing, showing us some of the finer points of Funny Car racing. We put a shorter injector hat on the car which allows me to see better and react to the car quicker. Harry helped figure out how to apply what Steve has taught us to our torque converter car, and the new injector helped me get the car down the track better. We started off the weekend going point A to B, which gave us the data to step it up to that 5.66."

"I was pretty excited on the top end after our first run," Hanna continued. "We've really had problems with extreme tireshake all year, and that was the first time it didn't shake and I was able to run it to the shift light. I thought we had just run a killer number, but the guys told me we only ran a 5.90, and while it wasn't a total let down, I was thinking we ran quicker. Well Saturday morning the air was killer, and it made a good lap with just a touch of tireshake. It moved around a little in the middle, but nothing major and felt like a good lap. I didn't want to get excited until the guys told me what we had run. They told me a 5.66 and about did a backflip."

Hanna & Clack entered the final qualifying session in the eighth position, and were two pair from running when a massive oil down by another competitor caused NHRA to cancel the session. Several cars in front of them improved their qualifying positions, bumping the team to eleventh and setting up a first round matchup with former Olympic Gold Medalist Marty Nothstein.

As the pair were going in to stage, NHRA Chief Starter Rick Stewart instructed the racers to shut down, as one of the cars that ran prior to them had their parachutes tangled under their car, preventing the track crew from pushing it off the track. The pair was pushed to the back of the order to allow their cars to cool down. In the 're-do,' Hanna took over a tenth of a second starting line advantage in reaction time, but lost traction immediately, giving the easy win to Nothstein.

"It may have been a combination of things," explained Hanna. "Our stage rpm started climbing and it was just too much for the track. We're pretty bummed we left one on the table there, but we learned from it and have a good baseline to go into our home race in Houston. Hopefully we can pick up where we left off and make another good showing for the Big Easy Daiquiri Factory, Advanced Transmission Center, Goodridge Hoses & Fittings, Valvoline, FWRC and InsideTopAlcohol.com"

The next event for the team will be in two weeks for the O'Reilly Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park.

-credit: cm

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Series NHRA
Drivers Steve Harker