Life on the Road: Hannagan Ready for Grandview Speedway For Randy Hannagan being away from home for over 200 days a year is nothing knew, in fact he prefers it that way. That is just par for the course being a World of Outlaws driver, and ...
Life on the Road: Hannagan Ready for Grandview Speedway
For Randy Hannagan being away from home for over 200 days a year is nothing knew, in fact he prefers it that way. That is just par for the course being a World of Outlaws driver, and competing in nearly 90 races a season from coast-to-coast from February until early November.
Hannagan and the rest of the World of Outlaws are in the midst of one of the busiest stretches of the season that has saw them race four times in a span of six days over the last week. On Wednesday, May 23 the series will head to Grandview Speedway in Pennsylvania for Thunder on the Hill, where Hannagan finished 10th last season after turning the fourth quickest lap in time trials at the high-banked 1/3-mile.
"It's good to go up there," said Hannagan, driver of the Penthouse Magazine Maxim. "Some of these race tracks we only get to see once a year or once every couple of years. Last year we ran decent up there. If we can repeat that this year, we will be really happy."
This will be the third race of the season for the World of Outlaws in Pennsylvania, but their only appearance at Grandview Speedway. After large fields graced the pit area at Williams Grove Speedway last week, a healthy field is expected again on Wednesday night. With a record number of teams following the World of Outlaws this season, the level of competition has been at an all-time high, and with the always tough drivers from Pennsylvania thrown into the mix, the racing will be fierce on Wednesday night at the 1/3-mile.
"Going to tracks like Grandview is different, since we don't go there often," explained Hannagan, a native of San Jose, who now calls Pittsboro, Indiana home. "Going into Pennsylvania is tough because the local guys race there every week and know the tracks."
After spending a number of years on the road, going to a track once a year or once every couple of years does not worry Hannagan very much. In most cases he can compare a track to another he raced on during some point of his career. Having competed with the World of Outlaws for a numbers of season since 1995, there are not very many tracks that the series competes at that he has not seen.
"Hopefully you have good notes," he said. "We keep good notes on what we do and records of everything, such as how much gear we run or what bars we run. Going to Grandview or anywhere for that matter and being fast there is always a challenge. A lot of our guys are fast at places like Grandview because we race at so many different tracks so many times, that it's just like any other race track. We adapt to situations a lot quicker than say a local guy because we are out on the road a 100 nights a year."
Being on the road all season wears on everyone involved, especially the crew members, who are the unsung heroes that make sure the car is ready to race each night. After the checkered flag falls and Hannagan climbs out of the seat, the night for the crew is just beginning. They have to load the trailer and take the car to get washed before hitting the road again to get to the next track. Also during this process, they have to find time to do their routine maintenance on the car.
"The crew guys are the backbone of the operation and they get the car up and down the road as well as the truck and trailer," said Hannagan. "They make sure everything is nice and clean. It's a lot of will power for those guys to keep this thing going."
Hannagan's crew consists of Steve Moulton and Chris Stillwell, who have been with him for a couple of seasons. They also received a helping hand from veteran World of Outlaws car owner and crew chief Mike Woodring a couple weeks back during a doubleheader in Missouri. During this stretch Hannagan earned a season-best seventh place finish at U.S. 36 Raceway in Missouri.
"One of the keys to staying fresh is to have a good crew, and I have a very good crew," explained the 1995 World of Outlaws Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year. "I don't have to spend as much time as I had been in the past with the race car. Years ago and even up until a couple years ago, I was with the car all the time, and driving the truck and trailer. That makes it very hard on the driver because you are trying to do it all. I have it now to where I can at least get a little bit of a break."
While Hannagan is on the road most of the year, the trips do not seem as long since he has his fiancee Angie and son Mason on the road with him. It also helps having them there when he has a tough night on the track and he can walk to his motorhome and forget about racing for a couple of minutes.
"Having them with me makes my life a ton easier now, than if they were sitting at home and I was riding with the truck and trailer," smiled Hannagan. "That would be quite difficult for me. It's really nice to have them out here, especially on the off days, when you can go and do something or just spend time with them. It makes it all worthwhile."
Hannagan's sense of humor comes out when asked if he could ever envision himself doing anything but racing. He began racing karts in 1982 and has not climbed out a race car since. He does not expect to hang the helmet up any time soon either.
"The other night after I didn't run too well at Williams Grove, I think I could have worked at Wal-Mart," he quipped. "I think I could have made more money working there that night than I did racing. Any bad day racing though is better than any good day at a regular job."
On Wednesday, May 23 at Grandview Speedway, adult advance tickets will be $30, with children ages 6-11 just $10, and kids 6-under will be admitted free. For ticket information call: 215-860-5631, or visit www.thunderonthehillracingseries.com and go to Advance Tickets on sale.