Hanna and ATC Racing set for national event debut ENNIS, Texas - To say that weather has had a hand in NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car racer Will Hanna's rookie season would be an understatement. In five outings this year, the Advanced Transmission...
Hanna and ATC Racing set for national event debut
ENNIS, Texas - To say that weather has had a hand in NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car racer Will Hanna's rookie season would be an understatement. In five outings this year, the Advanced Transmission Center Racing team has encountered rain on all five. But as one hurricane knocked them out of competition originally for this weekend's O'Reilly Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex just south of Dallas, it's postponement due to Hurricane Rita from it's original date two weeks ago to this weekend has them back in the hunt and ready for action.
Following the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, team owner Harry Clack loaned the team's living quarters trailer to relatives in the Biloxi, Miss., area to live in until their homes were habitable again. While a blessing to his family, the move originally forced the team to skip this weekend's race had it been run on it's original date. As one hurricane put them on the sideline, the extra two weeks from the Hurricane Rita postponement gave them the time they needed to get ready for this weekend's race.
"Family having a place to live comes first," said Clack, of Lafayette, La. "My brother and his family needed a place to stay until they got power restored in his area. We just got the trailer back this week, so with the reschedule, we made the call to go ahead and run the Dallas national. We are still in test mode 100%. We just want to get down the race track and collect some data. If we go a round or two, that's just more test runs we get."
Team driver Hanna, who runs the racing website InsideTopAlcohol.com which covers the alcohol categories, is excited to get the opportunity to compete this weekend.
"I think the whole team was a little disappointed when we were going to miss the race," explained Hanna, 26, of Richwood, Texas. "But when you put our little bit of disappointment in contrast with what the victims of these storms are going through, you really can't complain much."
"But we have a second chance at getting to run this event," Hanna continued. "We originally would have liked to get some testing done before we went into national competition, but the weather and the schedule just didn't cooperate for that. Instead we'll be testing and racing at the same time. The main priority is to get down the race track every run, especially the first. If this was football, we would be calling a simple run up the middle the first run. This car has a lot of untapped potential if we can just make a solid point A to B run. We also want to represent our sponsors ATC Transmission, Valvoline and InsideTopAlcohol.com well."
Hanna, his dad Rick and Assistant Crew Chief J.B. Hudson are excited to be racing in their home state.
"It will be fun to finally get to race here in Texas," commented Hanna. "Half the team is here from Texas, while Harry, Dale Babin, Kevin Sonnier and Nick Breaux are from Louisiana. We've enjoyed racing over with the guys in Division 2 (Southeast Division), but we're all Division 4 (South Central Division) racers at heart, so this will be our first outing with our peers in our home division. For me and J.B., the Motorplex is where we started alcohol racing together ten years ago, skipping out of high school to come clean parts on Jay Meyer's alcohol dragster. It's just cool to get to race at this level, much less in your home state."
Qualifying begins on Friday for the alcohol cars with two sessions. Qualifying resumes Saturday morning, followed by first round in the afternoon. Final eliminations will conclude the event on Sunday. Stay tuned to InsideTopAlcohol.com for the latest news in alcohol racing.