Clack and Hanna move into offseason with high hopes for '06 ENNIS, Texas - Despite ending their season on a down note, NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car rookie Will Hanna and the Clack Motorsports/Advanced Transmission Center team feel data collected...
Clack and Hanna move into offseason with high hopes for '06
ENNIS, Texas - Despite ending their season on a down note, NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car rookie Will Hanna and the Clack Motorsports/Advanced Transmission Center team feel data collected from back-to-back events at the Texas Motorplex just south of Dallas has them in position to become contenders next season. While the racing on track may be over for the season, preparation for next year is already in progress.
The team made their national event debut two weeks ago at the O'Reilly Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex. The outing netted them a career-best 5.864 second pass at 241 mph. In the first round, after cutting a stellar .003 reaction time (.000 is perfect), Hanna experienced a wheelie bar failure, resulting in a huge wheelstand off the line, and negating any chances of making a representative run.
"We made huge strides forward at the national event," stated Hanna, 26, of Richwood, Texas. "I finally got aggressive with my steering, and I was amazed at how much steering you can get away with versus a dragster. If I steered my dragster like that, I would be flipping end over end in the fifth row of the stands. In a Funny Car, you HAVE to steer them like that. Now that I know how the car will respond to aggressive steering, I think I'm more prepared to deal with the car moving around."
"We also put the new Hoosier 2055 tire on the car," Hanna continued. "The car went from shaking my brains out in the middle of low gear to smooth as silk. I short shifted the car anticipating the shake, and it just didn't do it. We still ran a 5.86 in the process. While that's the best we've run, that's not what we're looking for. Unfortunately, after the wheelie bar broke in the first round, we didn't get a chance to see what the car would run revving it up."
Team Owner/Crew Chief Harry Clack of Lafayette, La., was also pleased with the team's progress at the national.
"We continued to learn and make forward progress at the national," stated Clack. "We came into the event in a test mode, and trying the new Hoosier's seemed to really help the tireshake situation. Will's making progress in his driving and the crew overcame some engine problems before the first round to have it ready to go in time."
The following week, the team stayed at the Motorplex for the Division 4 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series closer. In the first qualifying session, Hanna posted a 6.10 at 240 mph to qualify sixth at the time, but experienced heavy engine damage that sidelined the team for the weekend.
"We had the parts and peices to put the car back together, but some of the parts we were testing were damaged, so we decided to go home and fix the problem," Clack explained. "We got a good idea of what caused the problem, and we'll take a good close look at that area before next year. At this point, we'll finish mounting our 2005 Monte Carlo body, examine and evaluate the parts we have, accumulate some new parts for next year, and come out testing at the first part of next season. We'll continue to stay in 'test' mode until we run consistent low 5.70's and 5.60's. When we do that, we'll switch into 'race' mode."
"Looking at the data from that 5.86 run, I think that run could have very easily been a mid to low 5.70 by just shifting at higher rpm's than I did," cited Hanna. "The crew we have on this team- Harry, J.B. Hudson, Kevin Sonnier, Dale Babin, Nick Breaux and my dad Rick is one of the best I've ever worked with. Every one of them can do just about anything you need them to do on the car, which is very important if you ever have a problem. Valvoline has also been very supportive of us in our rookie season, and we look forward to continuing our relationship with them in 2006. We'll be busy over the winter, get our ducks in a row and come out swinging next year. I think the whole team is very, very excited about our chances next year."