||Hey racefans, Cast Iron Junkie here, back at you with the second addition of "Twenty Laps With". This weeks
interview is with Bill Hahn. Bill is one of the very few walking the earth today with wins in 5 DECADES! I caught
up with him Sunday nite, after an impressive run at Fremont Speedway, finishing 5th, after starting 14th, proving he
can still get the job done behind the wheel!
So without further delay, here is "Twenty Laps With Bill Hahn", by Jeff Cornes, "The Cast Iron Junkie"
CIJ: Bill, before we start, I'd like to say thank you for taking the time to do this interview, after you drove your ass
off here tonite!
BH:Well, I don't know about driving my ass off, but thanks. I wished I could have started up a little closer to the
front, and I would have won the damned thing! We had way to much gear for hot laps, so we dropped her down for
the heat, but obviously not enough! LOL! That put me back in the pack for the start of the feature, and this place is
so slick, I just couldn't get up there quick enough. We had a good car, probably good enough to win, but hey, that's
CIJ: Let start with a little history. Where and when were you born?
BH: Curtice, Ohio, on 8/18/45.
CIJ: So you've got a birthday coming up next week. How old will you be?
BH: 39 again! LOL! I'll be 61.
CIJ: Well, if a guy was watching from the stands tonite, and didn't know you, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have
thought you were 60.
BH: Hell, it's just a number! I can still give these young boys a run for their money! LOL!
CIJ: Tell me the first time you were ever at a dirt track.
BH: It was 1967, I came here (Fremont Speedway) with Fred Wahl, to help him work on his car, and I just fell in
love with it.(dirt racing)
CIJ: What was you first race car?
BH: A 58 Chevy Biscane. We got her out of the junk yard. I got an old 283, put that thing in there, fixed up a roll
cage, and we were off to the races. That was in 68. I only ran two times that year and I won my heat that second
CIJ: Let's go real quick through the progression of the DLM division. That first car was a coil spring car, wasn't it?
BH: Yeah, it was. Just about all of them were back in those days, up here anyways.
CIJ: What was your first leaf spring car?
BH: Oh, I guess it was about 72, we bought our first chassis car, it was a copy of a Holman and Moody car, built for
dirt. That thing had all the good Holman and Moody parts on it. It was a 67 Ford Fairlane, and we won the Track
Championship, at Millstream Speedway.(Findlay, Ohio) Then we won it again in 74. I was always a Ford man, and
always was, up until 92. I needed another motor, and I got a hell of a deal on a Chevy motor, form Pete Montrie,
and it was a little lighter, and it seemed to help get the chassis #'s a little better. I've been in a Chevy ever since
CIJ: So , obviously you were doing a little traveling by then?
BH: Yeah, we tried to go everywhere they run them around this area, you know, Fremont, Findlay ,Eldora,
Mansfield, then Oakshade when it opened in 76.
CIJ: O.K., back to the DLM's. How long were the leafs the hot set up?
BH: Shit, I bought my last one in 87. A MasterSbilt, but most of them were Rayburns. Right about then everyone
started running the Super 6 deal. It was a tough class and a bunch of good drivers in it .Dean Haselbach, Dale
DeLong, Wally Hemminger, Jim Flemming, Art Ball, all those guys were tough!
CIJ: Ever have a cantilever car?
BH: No, a few guys did, but they didn't seem to be any better than what we had, so I never messed with them. I
know I beat a bunch of them tho! LOL! I look into them , but I myself, didn't really like the way that whole deal
CIJ: What about a swing arm car? Or a 4 bar car?
BH: In 95, I got a new MasterSbilt, swing arm car. It was an excellent car. It worked alot like the leaf cars, and you
didn't have to chase the set ups, like the 4 bar guys were doing.
CIJ: What about the 4 bar cars.?
BH: I got one on a deal from Old Man Yoder. (John Yoder,Shane's Dad) It was a MasterSbilt, and it had their color
scheme on it, the the Old Man told me, you run it like that and keep the "8" on it, and I could have it for $5000! So
I did. That was a fast SOB! Won some races with it. But you had to work on it alot more than a swing arm car, to
CIJ: So what did you like best?
BH: The leaf cars! They were fool proof! You couldn't dial yourself out of the ballgame! LOL!
CIJ: How many wins in your career?
BH: About 150. Not exactly sure, you'll have to ask my wife! Somewhere in there! LOL!
BH: I've got 8. 2 at Findlay, 2 at Fremont, and 4 at Oakshade, 1 in the DLM in 93, and 3 in the Super 6 class, 87,
88, and 90.
CIJ: What was your biggest win?
BH: Winning the ALMS deal at Oakshade. Anytime you win at Oakshade, you done somethin'! Toughest track,
toughest racers, and a bunch of them! LOL! It was a pretty neat deal to win that!
CIJ: Tougher than Eldora?
BH: Yeah , but it's different. Eldora is big and fast, but if you keep your momentum up and keep it off the wall, it
ain't that big a deal. Oakshade on the othere hand is a drivers track. You've got options at Oakshade! LOL! You
can go just about anywhere, you can pass just about anywhere, and it takes a combination of balls and brains! LOL!
I've got plenty of balls! LOL! Not so sure on the brains deal anymore! LOL! You gotta love a track like that, and
for the most part they have the best track surface anywhere on a weekly basis.
CIJ: Well, I'll have to agree with ya there! It is awesome, and when they turn the DLM's loose for the feature, you
are gonna see some racin'! None of this slick, follow the leader bullshit you see going on just about everywhere.
BH: Just Like anywhere on dirt, it's gonna get somewhat slick at the end, but Oakshade's shaped just right for
passing, on just about any condition. That's why you guys(the Bombers) put on such good shows! Last week you
could have thrown a blanket over the top 5. You don't see that as much anywhere else, and it seems like it happens
every week at Oakshade, hell there's been 2 photo finishes in the DLM's, this year, where you didn't know who
was the winner!
CIJ: You're right, you gotta love Oakshade! O.K., let's me get back on track. I know you won a bunch in that 49 car
of McComas'(Ron McComas), what kind of car was that?
BH: Well, he had two cars, they were WRC cars, mono leafs with coil overs, by Rodney Combs. We ran good just
about everywjere we went. That was when Earl (Baltes) had 5 tracks, and they ran the points like a series. I was
3rd in the points twice. Got a bunch of wins on that deal.
CIJ: Who were some of the guys you looked up to back then?
BH: Chick Hale, Floyd Gilbert, Vern LeFevers, Billy Teegarden, Rodney Combs, Gene Petro, all those guys!
Those were some drivin' SOB's! Old Floyd used to tape full beers in the car with him! LOL! He was a crazy Sum
Bitch! LOL! Those were the good old days at Eldora! I learned alot about how to get around that old place. When
Vern had that 13 car, he was about the toughest of them all! We talked about the cars, seemed like everytime I was
there back then.
CIJ: Did you win at Eldora?
BH: Oh yeah, I won there three times. One was a Sunday day race, and I led all the laps. Pretty sure all three wins
were in 83, in the 49 car.
CIJ: What about the Johnny Appleseed?
BH: I never won it , but I was in a bunch of them, just about all of them. When it started, they ran it at Mansfield,
and I made all of them.
CIJ: How about the World 100?
BH: I made one. 1983, and finished 10th! I dropped out on lap 2, with a broken fuel pump belt, and there was a
caution on lap 6, and we came back out then. I got a article in Circle Track Magazine out of that deal. You know,
Low Budget team, competing at the highest level, that sort of thing. I think I still got a couple copies.
CIJ: Let me get one,and I'll incorperate it into the article! That is just the kind of thing people want to see, here at
www.dirtfans.com . These guys are all about preserving the history of the sport we all love so much! The drivers,
tracks, and fans, all getting equal attention.
BH: Well , I tell you, it takes all of those things to make it go. You hear about dirt tracks struggling and closing up
everyday, and it's because they don't have all of those things. We are really lucky up here(Ohio) shit, we think it's a
low car count if we ain't got 50! LOL! But I tell you, that is what made us the racers we are today. If you don't have
to race your way into the feature, because you ain't got enough cars to make 22 or 24 in a starting field, you'd tend
not to push it. Most guys anyways. These last 10 , 12 years, all the UMP Champs have been from over in Illinois,
where they got 17, 18,or 20 cars, and them guys know it. These Rodney Melvin's and Tony Izzo's and Ed Dixon's,
Faust's and all them couldn't hold a candle to a guy like Kris Patterson back then. He was racin' aginst 40 and 50
cars every nite, and still be in the top 10 or 15. I don't know the exact numbers, but it's well documented! And this
year they've changed the way you get points when the car counts are over 20, and they should. It's 2 and a half
times harder to win against 50 cars than 20. They're gonna find out! Some of these boys up here ain't no joke!
Rusty Schlenk seems to be the one who's concentrating on them UMP points. He's got, what, 13 or 14 wins, and a
several 2nd's and thirds. Damn, he's only 20 years old! I heard them talking about points per event average, and
he's second to Randy Korte, but he ain't got nowhere near the races counted them guys in front of him do. Then you
got Ruhlman, Aaron Scott, the Noonan kid(Casey Noonan), they are all tough. This kind of competition make
better race car drivers.
CIJ: There isn't any doubt in my mind, as I said to someone over on 4m.net," we are truly blessed up here" "They
don't call Ohio the Heart of it All, for nothing"!
BH: You got that right! LOL!
CIJ: Back to the questions. You drove for McComas a couple years, did you drive for anyone else?
BH: Yeah, most recently I drove for George Knecht for three years, 2000, 01, and 02. We did pretty good in that
car won some races, and always ran competitive.
CIJ: These last couple seasons, you've drove several different cars. What's up with that deal?
BH: Well my son Kenny is driving our car now, I still drive it some, like tonite, but I'll drive just about anything
LOL! I've drove my nephew's(Chuck Hummer) car some to help him get it sorted out, I did the same for Jeremy
Grover, and I drove Bob Potridge's car on and off several times. I just love to race, so they don't have to twist my
arms to get in the seat LOL!
CIJ: Tell me a little about Kenny.
BH: Well he has help me from the time he was a little kid. I'm really proud of him, he's a hell of a wrench! I couldn't
have done as well as I did without him, and hell, I wouldn't have wanted to do it without him. He worked has ass off
helping me throughout the years, so I owe him, and I'm gonna do everything I can to help him try to win some
CIJ: Well from what I see, Kenny's a pretty damed good driver. I know he don't give up, no matter where he's
BH: Yes he is, and no he don't! LOL! Now days with all the money these guys are spending, we don't have
nowwhere near the equiptment most of them do, but he trys hard, and he understands how to adjust on the cars to
make it the best it can be, and we're happy with that. Winning isn't everything , but wanting to is! Ain't a doubt
about whether or not he wants to win. He's beating guys with alot better stuff than he has, so like I said, we're
happy with that.
CIJ: Well I think he's lucky to have you for a Dad, and you're lucky to have him for a son!
BH: You're right, we're both lucky there.
CIJ: There is some rumors floating around, you've got a pretty good ride for the 2006 World 100? Care to confirm
BH: Well I do have a couple options. One I'm not sure if it's going to get done in time, and the other is Chuck
Hummer's car. So either way, we'll be down there trying our best!
CIJ: I think that's awesome, you've always seemed to get around Eldora pretty good , and that place seems to fit
your driving style!
BH: It does, I've got enought laps under my belt to know what not to do, and I try not to do anything dumb, and just
be consistant. Like I said before, it a momentum deal down there, and I try not to get the car upset. Seems to work
CIJ: Any goals for the rest of 2006?
BH: Naw, I ain't really got any goals anymore, but I just want to be competitive.
CIJ: How much longer can we expect to see you in the seat?
BH: As long as I feel good! LOL! Again, as long as I can still be competitive, and have a shot to win, I'll keep doing
it! I just love to race! LOL! I already said that didn't I?
CIJ: Ah , yeah , you did! No big deal , we'll print it twice! LOL
CIJ: Bill, before we wrap this up is there anyone you'd like to thank?
BH: Fuck, we'll be here all night! LOL! I'd have to start with my wife Lil, she's been behind me the entire time and
I love here dearly. All my kids, and grand kids, I love them all , and they're some of my biggest fans. Just so I don't
drag this out , I'd like to thank everyone who's ever helped me, in 40 plus years, that's a hell of alot of people!
Some more than others, but I want to thank them just the same!
CIJ: Anything you want to say to the fans?
BH: Thank them all! You know I've got fans 75 years old, and they still come to the races! It doesn't get any better
than that! Really, I just appreciate every single one of them, no matter how old or how young, I love them all!
CIJ: Well Bill, it's damned sure been a peasure for me, and you know I'll be rooting for you everywhere I see you!
Let me wish you the best of luck for the rest of 2006, and let me say I hope you cut a career best qualifying lap at
the World this year, and hope you've at least got a shot on Saturday!
BH: Well, I sure appreciate it, and I'll try my best, like I always do. And let me say, thanks to you for choosing me
to do the interview with, and turning me on to dirtfans.com, hell I didn't even know anything like that existed! It's
pretty cool. That Industry Outlaws deal , really brings back some memories! Tell them boys if they would like to
have me on there, call me anytime! Old Billy Teegarden is just as crazy today as he was back them! LOL!. Them
articles about Billy, Floyd,Vern, Gene and and Jim Dunn are the first things I've actually sat down to read on the
computer ever, other than a post or two on Oakshade's message board. I'm not a computer, guy, of course, but you
guys that are bringing these stories and stuff out in the daylight is just an awesome deal! Hell I didn't even know I
was on there till you told me! LOL! So really , thanks Jeff, you do really nice work, and I think it's cool that you are
doing a little something for the race teams, tracks and drivers around here. Like I said, I didn't even know this stuff
existed, so thanks again!
CIJ: Well no need to thank me, you damned sure deseve to have your story told, and I'm honored to do it! You
know I've been a fan of yours for over twenty years now, and proud to be associated with you and your family.
You're just an outstanding bunch of people. Let me give a special thanks to your wife and daughter, for taking the
time to get 40 years of pictures, trophies, and stories together, to make this possible! No nicer women on the planet!
BH: Well thank you again, Jeff.
There it is race fans! Hope everone enjoys it! I am honored and proud to bring you stuff that has a special place in
my heart, and hope there is a little something in there for everyone!
As always, I want to thank JT Le Fever and Jody Shannon for the opportunity,because without their dedication,
passion and vision , none of this would be possible!
Thanks Guys, Jeff Cornes, "The Cast Iron Junkie"