Dan McHattie drives racecars as a hobby and for 31 years, his Field of Dreams has been the short tracks of Central Ontario. What sets the 45-year-old father of 2 apart from the competition is the fact that he builds the cars that he drives.
During the winter months, the veteran racer from Cavan, Ontario showed photos in a series of social media posts that indicated he was putting together a new ride for Peterborough Speedway’s 2022 season. Since the car’s Saturday, June 4th debut, the latest incarnation from the Dan McHattie Racecars Shop, located on the family farm is unbeaten when the green flag flies. While he is quick to point out that he isn’t a professional fabricator, he says he enjoys the car building process.
“Since I started in the sport, I’ve built every car I’ve ever raced,” admitted Dan McHattie. “This year’s edition of the No. 71 car is the 6th Late Model that I’ve run and over the years, I’ve built cars for other racers too. The question I’m asked most often ‘where do you start’ isn’t as complicated as it sounds.”
McHattie says he believes it is best to not overthink the process, just get started. In the true spirit of hometown racing, there have been no hidden secrets to any of his builds. Anyone who wants to know can ask for details about the car, take measurements and get honest answers and information. As much as he likes winning himself, he’s not above helping other racers find the formula they’ll need to get to victory lane.
“I’ve built 5 complete cars for other racers and made repairs and helped with set-up information for countless others,” said Dan McHattie. “I was setting-up cars for other competitors when I was 16. My Dad Gerry always taught me that I could build anything I needed and not have to buy it. He and my Mom provided me with the tools to do it myself. Jr. Hanley and Mike McColl have always helped when I needed advice and have been very supportive of me building my own equipment.”
McHattie has been a life-long proponent of local, weekly short track racing and is well-known for including young fans in his victory lane photo shoots and sharing the trophies he receives in an ongoing effort to help build the sport.
For the 2022 season, Dan McHattie’s No. 71 Peterborough Speedway Late Model is proudly sponsored by JJ Stewart Motors, Douglas Automotive, Sidey Auto Supply, Barry McClennan Masonry, Crowe’s Gas/Crowe Karts, Shane Michaels RV, Webb Transmission, Foxon Alternator/Starter, Praxair Peterborough and Kawartha Hydraulics.