Jerry and Wilma Hanna of Hawkinsville haven’t wanted for a quiet life in forty plus years – especially since the births of their daughters, Kim, 41, a hairdresser from Danville, Lyn, 37, a maintenance engineer from Cochran, and Candie, 30, an electronics student, also from Danville.
And with good reason.
The Hanna girls, all alumni of the Pulaski County School System, have led active lives since day one – fishing, hunting, riding horses, playing sports – both Candie and Lyn were softball and basketball stars – and baton twirling – Kim twirled with the local high school marching band even before she hit double digits in age.
When they were growing up, the sisters each had a different dream. Kim wanted to be a nurse and began nursing school until “I saw all the hairdressers and decided that was my calling.” Lyn thought about being a game warden until she realized that “I would end up saving all the animals and that just wouldn’t do.” Candie, smiling, said, “I have not quite decided what I want to be when I grow up.”
The sisters did agree on one thing though – racing. And no, not foot racing, though there is no doubt that they have been in a few of those. The kind of racing the Hannas got into was around a track in cars going very, very fast. On January 10, blog talk radio host, Russell Lovett will pay homage to the Hanna sisters and their racing career at www.blogtalkradio.com.
Lyn was the first sister to take up racing, according to sister Kim. “She started in her early 20s driving for a friend in the ladies’ class in Cochran at the track.” Her car number was 21 – after her the number she wore on her softball jersey in high school. She had been approached by a friend ,Eddy Stevens, to drive his car, and then later, built her own.
Kim followed a year or so later, also driving for someone else, until she built one on her own. The number 99 came to be Kim’s because “we were laying bricks for a walkway at our parents’ and out of the hundreds of bricks out there, one of them had the number 99 on it, and it just kind of stuck.”
Candie started racing at age 15 with her car donning her old softball and basketball jersey number, 11. Candie started racing with Lyn’s hand-me-down car until her new car was built.
Kim said, “We all three knew some about working on cars, but learned a lot more over the years. Lyn’s and Candie’s cars were built by our dad and then mine was built by Rim Rider Race Cars.”
Though the three did have to race each other many times, Kim said, “We all just thought it was a lot of fun. Yes, we had to beat each other, but we have always been competitive. No one was more prouder than the other two of us when one of us would win a race … except of course for mom and daddy.”
Like when Kim won the dominantly men’s Pure Stock Points Championship and was, she remembered, “the first lady to ever do so.”
Or when, “Lyn won a feature race that was done in memory of a friend who had just passed, or when Candie won the heat on her first night out with the men’s race, and ended up on the pole position for the feature.”
Kim said, “Female drivers should remember that the guys are not going to just move over … when you strap in and put that helmet on, you become a racer like everyone else.”
Thinking for a moment, Kim said, “You have to give respect to ear it, but there will come a time when you have to prove yourself.”
She continued, “Our mom said that she was always a nervous wreck everytime we took to the track … she got a lot of exercise running to the fence when a wreck happened.” Wilma Hanna got to be close friends with the pit stewards. “They became her ears when checking on us in a wreck. But she was always so proud of us when we won or just finished in the pits. Daddy said he only got nervous a couple of times – but that we because he knew we were in very well-built cars.”
Kim Hanna smiled, “And of course, because we were made of tough stuff.”
The Hanna girls will be featured on www.blogtalkradio.com at 6:30 p.m. January 10 with Russell Lovett hosting.