The win was even more special for Hennessy, who’s step-son Tyson won the Thursday night prior at the Brighton Speedway Kart Klub in his first ever race.
“I hope he and I can do that more often. His win is more special. I’m still excited for my car, but that’s what it’s all about – your family. We’re racing two nights a week. That’s where we spend our time and that’s what we want to do,” said Hennessy, who admitted he got a little emotional seeing Tyson carry the checkered flag on his victory lap.
Hennessy is a two-time Canadian Modified champion at the track, the defending champion, for that matter. The Picton, Ont. native is a lifelong racer with the need for speed in his blood.
“My dad took me to the races before my first birthday, so I was around racecars right from the start,” Hennessy said of his start in racing. “(Growing up) there was a guy up the road that had a Late Model, Bob Broad, so that’s who I cheered for. Then my neighbours, two of them, bought a street stock and they shared it. I used to go with them all over the place.”
Even before he was able to travel with neighbours and family friends to various tracks, including Brighton, Hennessy knew he wanted to be behind the wheel one day. Hennessy recalls as early as age five his plan to find a way in to a racing seat.
“I always knew that’s what I wanted to do. I remember driving home after the races in my dad’s car and thinking about how I was going to get a racecar,” Hennessy explained with a laugh. “I used to get $5 a week for my allowance. I figured I could save it up until I was old enough to race and then I could buy my first racecar with it.”
The same five-year-old boy still lives inside the now 30-year-old heavy equipment operator by day, but more importantly, racecar driver by night.
“I won’t give it up now. There’s not a chance I’d give it up,” Hennessy said emphatically. “I just love being at the racetrack. I like being around the people. I like being a part of something. Mostly, it’s the people.
Hennessy believes last Saturday night is a perfect example of the camaraderie that exists at the racetrack. The rear axle broke on his No.87 in his heat race. Several drivers rallied to help piece the car back together and enable him to win. The help even came from what fans might consider an unlikely source.
“I break my car and I have guys like Dan Ferguson coming over and offering stuff and he’s my number one competitor. Doug O’Blenis comes in my trailer with me and helps me get the broken piece of wood and broken axle out of the rear end. Other guys running around giving me parts. Then I turn around and beat them (on the racetrack),” Hennessy said.
“If it wasn’t for them helping me, I wouldn’t have been out there Saturday night. Where else can you get that?”
It’s true. The racing community has proven itself time and time again to rally behind those in need, both at the racetrack and in everyday life.
For Hennessy, life and racing have come together over the past two years. Andrew’s younger brother, Josh, began racing in the Canadian Modified division last May and is in his second season of competition in 2016. With Tyson also racing his go-kart, dirt racing has become a real family affair.
“The best part is being close. We’re doing the same thing and being able to hang out with him. You want to be close with your brother,” Andrew said of his brother Josh, who pits directly beside him. “He’s family and you want to see him do well. He lives in Alberta through the winter, so I really only get to see him half the year. Racing gives us an opportunity to make up for lost time, so to speak.”
Family is important for Andrew Hennessy, but so, too, is winning. A win and two second-place finishes is an impressive start for the point leader. To win a championship, however, Hennessy he knows he must compete the full marathon, not just the first 100 metres.
Andrew Hennessy’s championship defense continues on June 4 when the Canadian Modifieds return to action as part of the Workman’s OK Tire School Bus Race presented by Lange & Fetter Ford and Hotch’s Auto Parts. Spectator gates open at 5:00pm before the first green flag at 7:00pm. Visit www.brightonspeedway.ca for complete event information.
About Lange & Fetter Ford: Located in Trenton, Ont., Lang and Fetter Ford is committed to superior sales and service. Open Monday to Saturday, Lange and Fetter Ford offers the highest quality new and pre-owned car sales. Visit them at 52 Dundas Street East in Trenton or online at www.langefetterford.ca. Call them at (613) 392-6561.
About Hotch’s Auto Parts: With two locations in Eastern Ontario, Hotch’s Auto Parts specializes in high-quality recycled auto parts. The locations in both Ameliasburgh and Bowmanville offer only the best levels of service. All parts from Hotch’s are automatically covered under a 101 day warranty. Hotch’s Auto Parts also offers a daily delivery service to Belleville, Trenton, Napanee, Kingston, and Prince Edward County. Find out more at www.hotchsautoparts.com.
Workman’s OK Tire: Workman’s Ok Tire has been located in Quinte West since 1995. Owned and operated by Mike Workman, OK Tire has built nearly 20 years of customer relationships. Experience the OK Tire difference that comes from an independently owned and operated store able to tailor service specifically to its customers. Visit their newly renovated location at 494 Bigford Road, Monday to Friday between 8am and 5pm.
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Brighton Speedway’s 2016 season is proudly supported by the following corporate sponsors:ABC Taxi, Adecco, AeCON, Bainer’s OilGARD Anti-Rust, Battlefield Equipment Rentals, Bay Marine, Behan Construction, Belleville Boyer Nissan, Belleville Transmission & Auto, Bellevue Fabricating Ltd., Bicknell Racing Products, Bill’s Johns, BJ McColl Fams, Bonn Law, Boyer Chevrolet Napanee, Brighton Automotive, Brighton Recycling, Budweiser, Campbellford Chrysler, Canadian Energy, Canadian National Autism Foundation, CANEX, Classic Hits 95.5, Classic Rock 107.9 The Breeze, Coca-Cola, Comfort Zone Heating & Air Conditioning, The Community Press, Cool 100, CSC Products, Davis Auto Repair, Deerhaven Farm and Garden, Dibbits Excavating, Eastern Overhead Doors, Electro Cables, Excel Tower Service, First Place Trailers, Gerow Propane, Gilmour’s Meat Shop, Gord’s Water, Greig Truck & Trailer, Hellraiser Race Bodies, Hewbrook Incorporated, Hits FM 95.5, Hotch’s Auto Parts, Hoosier Racing Tire, Humber Nurseries, ImageFactor.ca Motorsport Designs, JJ Stewart Motors, John’s Equipment, Jones Automotive, KD Transmission, Kiwanis Club of Trenton, KOA Campground of Brighton, Krown Rust Control Trenton, Lange & Fetter Ford, Larry’s Towing, Leaf Racewear, Leclair Electric, Lester’s Hot Dogs, Lucas Oil, Maestro’s Painting, Mark Heating & Cooling, McDougall Insurance and Financial, Mix 97, Monacoe’s Hair Salon & Day Spa, Monster Energy, Motosports of Trenton, Muskoka Aircraft Refinishing My FM 100.9/93.3, Mystical Distributing, NecksGen Head and Neck Restraint, NOCO Fuels, Owasco RV, Part Source, Peter’s South End Garage, Qunte Mall, Quinte Septic, Rapid Rad, Read’s Accounting, REMAX (Saoirse Graham & Nicole Parks), ROCK 107, Rona Trenton, Sanderson Tire and Automotive, Stewart Electric, Stix & Stones Billiards, Stoneridge Specialty Insurance, Target Fabrication, TAS Communications, The Trentonian, Therapeutic Massage Centre, Towne and Country Liquidation, Turris Communications, UCB Radio Canada, Ultramar CST, Vanderlaan Building Products, Vandermeer Toyota, VanZuylen Tire and Alignment, The Vinyl Solution, Vito’s Restaurant, VP Racing Fuels and Workman’s OK Tire.
About Brighton Speedway: Brighton Speedway is a 1/3-mile clay stock car racing oval located on the shores of Lake Ontario in Brighton, Ont. The speedway hosts five weekly stock car divisions on Saturday nights from May to September. The weekly Pro Late Model division competes under RUSH Late Model Weekly Series sanctioning.
Brighton Speedway mailing address: 775 County Road 64, Brighton, ON, K0K 1H0.