A Score to Settle: Randy Hannagan Heads to Calistoga for Harvest Classic Calistoga, CA--August 29, 2006-- Randy Hannagan has had great success at Calistoga Speedway and enjoys going to the spacious half-mile, but he still feels like the track...
A Score to Settle: Randy Hannagan Heads to Calistoga for Harvest Classic
Calistoga, CA--August 29, 2006-- Randy Hannagan has had great success at Calistoga Speedway and enjoys going to the spacious half-mile, but he still feels like the track owes him a little bit. He picked up the Scarborough Trophy in 1998 for winning the track championship. On the other side of the coin, he endured a vicious crash at the end of the 2001 season that left him with a fractured right leg, and a long recovery.
He also recalls an event in 1999, when he thought he had picked up a win, only to have it taken away from him after the car rolled into the inspection area. As a racer, these heartbreaking moments motivate him as he heads back to the track this weekend with the World of Outlaws Sprint Series for the annual Harvest Classic.
"I'd say it definitely owes me a couple, from getting hurt," said Hannagan. "I would love to go back there and run good. We also were leading a race there in 1999, and got disqualified for a hole in the header. I'd say that race track owes me a little bit."
For Hannagan who hails from San Jose, Calif., Calistoga Speedway is a scant two hour drive from home, where he will catch up with family and friends this week, before taking to the track on Saturday and Sunday. With the intense schedule the series runs, and his team having a shop in Pittsboro, Ind., he is not able to make it to his native state very often. He recalls fondly many nights racing on the half-mile with family and friends in the stands cheering him on.
"It's good to be going back to Calistoga," Hannagan said. "That's probably my home track, there and at Chico (Silver Dollar Speedway). It's good to be on the West Coast and to be able to race in front of my family, and the friends I have out there."
Hannagan is excited even more for the event, because it provides his team owner and brother Terry a chance to make it out to the race. Terry, who is wheelchair bound is a vital part of the team, and keeps in touch with Randy via the telephone when the team is on the road. Randy, along with Terry, and their other brother Jimmy all began racing karts together in the early 1980's, and helped teach other the intricacies of racing, and thus created their passion for the sport.
"It definitely adds motivation to race there, especially when you have the car owner sitting there," said a smiling Hannagan, driver of the Penthouse Racing Maxim. "It's easier to talk to the car owner when he is a different state, and I can come up with some stories to tell him why we didn't do good. He'll hopefully be able to make it out there and sit and watch. Hopefully he'll get to see a pretty good show."
The winner 1995 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award Presented by Maxim Racing and ButlerBuilt, is also excited because it will provide his mother Margie a chance to come and see the team in action as well. Randy traveled back to California earlier this season to be at her side, as she battled health issues. With her health stabilizing, Hannagan believes it will be the perfect remedy for her to make a trip to the track and see him and his team in action.
"Hopefully it all works out where he and my mom will get to go to the race," Hannagan said. "I'm really looking forward to seeing them at the track. It will be great for them to get to see the car go around the track. They put in a bunch of effort and support the race team. For them to finally get to see it, that would be a pleasure for me."
Before making the trip down to Northern California, the team will do battle on the 1/3-mile high-banked Southern Oregon Speedway on Wednesday night. After the checkered flag flies on that event, Hannagan knows exactly what he will do with his two days off before the Harvest Classic, as well as the couple days he will have off after the event before the Gold Cup Race of Champions the following weekend.
"I'll definitely go home after the race in Medford," Hannagan said. "We're going to blast home and get to see the family, and spend a day or two there before going up to Calistoga. After Calistoga, we'll go back home for a couple days before heading out to Chico and then out to Eagle."
The West Coast swing is always a favorite to the drivers, their families, and teams. Like some of the other World of Outlaws competitors, Hannagan and his crew made a stop last week on the way from North Dakota to Washington, to take some time to relax and unwind. With days off hard to come by while on the road, Hannagan took full advantage of some gorgeous weather to forget about racing for at least a couple yhours and to have a good time.
"I took my crew guys to Lake Coeur d'Alene (in Idaho), and rented a boat for a couple hours," he said. "We went out on the lake and cruised around. My fiancee Angie, and my son Mason and the crew guys went out on the lake and got to cruise around and relax. With this rigorous schedule we have throughout the year, it's good to just be able to take a day and smell the roses."
With 17 more race dates on the schedule, Hannagan is pleased with where his team is at in terms of performance. Despite missing those five races earlier this season to travel back home, Hannagan is just a few points of out of the top-10 in the series standings. With some of his favorite tracks coming up on the calendar, he believes that his first win of the season is just around the corner.
"We have been running pretty good," he said. "Maybe not as good as we should be, but nonetheless, I think the top competitors know that we are there to race. It has been in our hands, and we have lost it (the first win). We've worked toward some good finishes, and we have to keep working. It is right within our finger tips. We just need to reach out and grab it"
A win in front of his family and friends at Calistoga certainly would put an exclamation point on what has been a very consistent season for the team. Whether a win will settle the score with the track that still owes him a couple, that is up to Hannagan. One thing that is for sure is that he will stand on the gas all weekend and put on a great show for his home state fans.
For ticket information about the Harvest Classic visit www.hammerdownusa.com/calistoga.htm, or call 707-942-5111. On Saturday night, tickets will be $38. On Sunday tickets will be $40.