« PREV. PAGE NEXT PAGE »

I remember when I wanted to be a police officer. I actually wanted to be an EMT or a police officer. I was kind of in that whole setting of thinking of what I wanted to do. And my uncle who was in the LA Sherriff’s office for years, he came and talked with me about it. I said, ‘You help people every day, that’s such a great job to have, you know, to be there,’ and he said, ‘It is a really great job to have, but you’re the kind of person who would go home at the end of the day and cry and be crushed and be horrified at the things you’d seen, and feel personally for the families and everything, and I don’t think you’re quite the right personality. People go out there and they see a lot of really horrible things, and at the end, you’ve got to be able to leave it behind and go home and have your life and not take it with you.’

And so after he talked to me about it, I thought, you know, he’s right. If I see a movie where the bad guy wins, I’m crushed for like three days straight. So probably being a police officer or EMT is not the right job for me. I still loved to go to the races on weekends, so I started thinking, ‘Well, that’s a path I could take too.’ It hadn’t really dawned on me, maybe because it was so obvious. I thought I needed to pick something different because it wasn’t a job, it was just what I did for fun.

What age was that?

AFH: That was the end of my high school years, beginning of my college years. And that was when I was beginning to race Super Comp too. But that was just a hobby, and a totally different world  from racing an A/FD. I was out at Divisionals with a whole different group, not the people I knew, and I had a lot of fun, but it was definitely good to come back to A/Fuel and all the people I knew. The announcers I knew, the sponsors I knew, the kind of group I knew as a kid. That’s all kind of come back.

Did you ever talk to your dad, or did he ever talk to you about going to Top Fuel? Or was it always going to be Funny Car?

AFH: Well, I did Super Comp, and I did A/Fuel, but I really just wanted to try Funny Car, you know? I didn’t have a big desire to go into Top Fuel dragster because that’s not what I watched growing up. I mean they’re cool and they’re fast, but I always watched the Funny Cars. If I missed Top Fuel, that was no big deal. But if I wasn’t in the stands for the Funny Cars, I was crushed. I’d be running through the pits. So for me, those were all the people I knew, my friends, parents. That was just kind of the group I grew up around, so that was why I was interested in going into that.

Are you comfortable driving a Funny Car now?

AFH: So far, so good. There’s moments when you get too much and you get a little nervous, but then testing is always a challenge because you’ve been out of the car for a few months, so you’re getting back in, you’ve got new crew guys, there’s just this nervousness. You know something wrong might happen, but fortunately the guys I have, they don’t mess up. Ever. They’re a very good group, and if something were to go wrong at the starting line, I have no doubt in my mind that one of my guys would go stop the car, no matter how much trouble they’d get into, and it’s same with me. I know if I did something wrong, I know that we’ll lose a race if that’s what it takes to make something right. And so having that level of comfort with my crew and my crew chief makes it way easier for me to jump back in that car.

Your dad often says that the only time he has any peace anymore is when he’s inside his car. Is it that way for you?

AFH: Yeah. You know, inside of the car it’s almost your own little space. It’s quiet. And you know, when you’re in the car, you’re probably getting close to running, so a driver needs that quiet time to get their thoughts organized, especially dad. I can understand that because he’s always running around crazy everywhere trying to watch his teams, so that is probably the only time in his life he has quiet, and I’m sure he talks to himself in there… (Laughs) So it’s probably not all that quiet in there.

« PREV. PAGE NEXT PAGE »