Creating a race winning program can take time and experimentation. Steering a hand built machine – created on the family farm – Dan McHattie has learned how to win races. His resume includes 3 Peterborough Speedway track championships and 8 Late Model titles at Kawartha Speedway, but when that facility closed at the end of the 2012 campaign, he spent time chasing shows at a variety of venues, including Canadian Tire Motorsport Park Speedway and making selected starts on the American-Canadian Tour. No matter where else he raced, the Autumn Colours Classic at Peterborough Speedway was always part of the Cavan, Ontario racer’s 2013 agenda.
Dan McHattie will head into the province’s biggest motorsports event in the dual role of technical advisor and racer. He’ll offer his expertise to Limited Late Model drivers Chris Mitchell and Kelly Balson, who drive McHattie Chassis built cars. From the controls of his own machine, the pilot of the #71 J.J. Stewart Chrysler/Uniglass Plus Ziebart/Sidey NAPA Auto Supply/Barry McClennan Masonry/Douglas Automotive/Foxon Alternator & Starter/Praxair Peterborough/Webb Transmission crate engine powered Dodge Charger will be looking to add another Pro Late Model title to the honours he earned in 2007 and 2011. McHattie admits he’ll also be trying to erase the memory of the 2012 Autumn Colours event.
“It had been a decent weekend and we had just finished running the second round of qualifying Saturday afternoon,” said the driver. “A racing incident caused some damage to some custom-built suspension parts and sidelined our effort. Even though our shop is close-by, there was no way to get things back together for Sunday’s main event.”
Despite not running anywhere for track points for the first time in his career, McHattie managed to score one feature win – Saturday, August 17th – in 3 starts at Peterborough Speedway. The information he gained through his own research and development efforts, combined with the new, experimental technology Mitchell and Balson shared from their set-up notebooks provided enough data to put together a game plan that will benefit all 3 teams. Even still, the 37 year-old – who works as a mechanic at Kerr Industries in Oshawa – knows that picking-up another Autumn Colours checkered flag won’t be a walk in the park.
“Everybody out there will be chasing the same prize,” said McHattie. “I’m just looking to run some consistent laps and be in the hunt with about 20 or 25 to go. On a tight bullring like Peterborough, you need to get into a rhythm and develop a feel for how the show might play out. The Pro Late Model feature is 113 laps this year. That’s a long race, but it can go by very quickly if we get into a long stretch of green flag laps. No matter what happens, I’m hoping for a strong weekend.”
The feature events for the 21st Annual Autumn Colours Classic – presented by Lucas Oil Products – at Peterborough Speedway are scheduled for a 12:30 start Sunday, October 13th. Qualifying starts Friday, October 11th and continues Saturday, October 12th. For full schedule details