Happy Harry is enjoying recent success
Harry Shaffer has been racing at Fonda Speedway and other local tracks for 25 years, but the last few races have made Harry very happy.
“I am definitely happy right now,” Shaffer said. “Things are going good.”
Part of the turnaround to the season came a couple weeks ago when Shaffer and his crew broke his brother’s [Mike “Action” Jackson] old Teo coil car out of storage and raced to victory on Memorial Day weekend at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park.
“It sat in the garage for over a year and then sat outside for almost two months,” Shaffer laughed. “Then we worked on it until 10:30 or 11 the night before and got it ready and came out and won with it. We got in a little jingle last Friday, but the car is fast. We have a bent axle but we still had the third fastest time for the Ridge Redemption.”
It looked like Happy Harry was poised for a Memorial Day weekend racing sweep the following night at Fonda Speedway as he stalked race leader Danny Santabarbara early and passed him for the lead with six laps to go.
A late-race caution ended his run as Chad Edwards and Rocky Warner found their way past to deny him the win.
“At Fonda, we have a 2014 Bicknell and it is going pretty good. We ran it up here the first few races because the Teo wasn’t ready,” he said. “That car is great down there. I love it, but I have to get used to driving the bottom. I like the top but I am practicing running the bottom this year. We have been doing pretty good but the problem is Rocky and those guys are fast on the top.”
Keeping a positive outlook, Shaffer is looking forward to the Sportsman double features at Fonda on June 13.
After winning his heat race on May 16, he felt good because he also has a front-row starting spot for the feature. However, he modified and sportsman features were washed out.
He is hoping to parlay that good starting spot and the good racing luck he is having now into achieving a goal he set for himself.
“I lost my dad last year,” he said. “I have been racing 25 years at Fonda and I am yet to win a feature and I was hoping to do that before he passed away but he died suddenly. So now we are trying to get one for him. That is my goal this year. I don’t need a hundred wins down there but if I can get one win for him. that would be good.”
It is said that what is done in the garage before the race translates to success on the track.
“I have to thank my brothers Mikey and Benji. They have been with me forever and I have a couple of new guys who are helping me on the car and they are showing up to the garage and learning,” Shaffer said. “I’ve got to tell you, it makes a big difference having help and having people coming to he garage more often. It use to be my brothers when they could get there or by myself. The Winner’s Circle has been with me since 1995 and Signaction, which is my brother’s business, is on the 21H at The Ridge. I also would say we are well funded with friends, too.”
Looking back at his quarter of a century behind the wheel, Shaffer just laughed.
“Can you believe that? I am not a young gun anymore,” he said. “The thing is I have never run a full year. I run until I wreck something, break something or run out of money. When I run out of money, I stop for a while and make sure the bills are paid at home first.”
Shaffer said he already has plans for when he achieves his goal at Fonda Speedway.
“I told them [his crew] if I get a win at Fonda then I am going vintage racing.”