AMERICAN hard charger Randy “The Hurricane” Hannagan is among the latest nominations for the 42nd Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic.
Premier Speedway officials yesterday confirmed the Pittsboro, Indiana, native would return to race the Classic for the first time since 2009.
Hannagan, who will drive for West Australian team Muir Motorsport, won a legion of sprintcar fans with his efforts in that race.
He won a transfer from the B-main to the A-main, starting out of position 17 and racing into fourth behind winner Brooke Tatnell.
Hannagan is one of six Americans confirmed for the Classic, which will be run as a three-night showcase for the first time from January 24 to 26.
Compatriot Brad Sweet, who is these days a regular on the Nascar Nationwide circuit, is also among the foreign raiders confirmed as starters.
Sweet will drive for Broken Hill-based Ruhs Racing.
His dirt track exploits include winning the $50,000 Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway, Ohio.
Premier Speedway general manager David Mills said the American pair were “serious drivers”.
“The last time Randy Hannagan ran, he won the hard charger award. He came through the B-main and finished fourth in a good drive,” he said.
“He’s come here a few times. He used to be a regular, ran the World Series Sprintcars. He knows what he’s doing.
“He’s going to be competitive, no doubt about that.
“And Brad Sweet runs Nascar in America at the moment. He’s running in the Nationwide series.
“When he’s not running for that, he runs for Kasey Kahne Racing in a three-car team along with Cody Darrah and Daryn Pittman.”
Mills said 30 drivers had nominated for the Classic, which was “comfortably” a record for late October.
He expected the field would go close to eclipsing the 98 cars which started this year’s Classic.
Mills tipped 18 Americans to make up the field, while two women — Rhiannon Burleigh and Kristy Ellis — have confirmed their spots.
Tasmanian Mark House will cross the Bass Strait for the event, while Victorians Darren Hickman and James Hennessy are returning.
Warrnambool hope Jamie Veal, who ran fifth this year driving for New South Wales’ Dave Doherty, is also in the mix.
“If we exceed that 98 car count we had this year, it would be an amazing thing given the current economic climate,” Mills said.
“But there’s a chance we can get over 100, which would be perfect. But right around the world, car counts, to get over 100 is a pretty tough deal.
“The good news is every competitor gets to run for some money during the three nights.”
Defending champion Steven Lines last month confirmed he would race.