KENNY HANGAUER JR, WCIS Announcer. By Dan Hall.
Photo courtesy Mark Southcott.
In 2003, Kenny Hangauer Jr was inducted in the Wyoming County International Speedway Wall of Fame. This honor ranks at the top of Kenny’s announcing career. Kenny remembers, “I was deeply touched by this honor. This really made me feel good. To think the track thought that much of me is something really special. I will never forget this honor. I can’t even tell you what I said but it meant a lot. To be inducted into the Wall of Fame with people like Art Clark is a great honor.” A few other honors Kenny has earned are FOAR Score Hall of Fame (1994), Lancaster employee of the year at Lancaster (1986, Medial award from Can Am racing (1991), and FOAR Score media award (1986).
Kenny’s passion for auto racing started in May of 1958. He attended his first race at the old Civic Stadium. Kenny remembered, “That was a great place for racing. Guys like Dick Hurd and Jerry Gradl were racing and I loved it.” The next nineteen years, Kenny was a faithful racing fan. In 1978, he began to write for Area Auto Racing publication. In June of 1979, a friend recommended him to Ed Serwacki, promoter at Perry Speedway. Ken said, “My good friend, Ron Williams, hooked me up with the announcing at Perry. The first year, I announced the Street Stock division.” At the end of 1979, Kenny was invited back to be the full time announcer at Perry Speedway. He continued announcing at Perry till the end of the 1984 season. The 1985 race season, found Kenny announcing at four tracks. Those tracks were Genesee Speedway, Ransomville Speedway, Lancaster Speedway, and Humberstone Speedway. In 1999, Kenny started traveling and announcing with the new class, Cup Lites. He was the voice of Cup Lites for two years. In 2001, Jim Majchrzak approached Kenny about announcing at Wyoming County International Speedway. His acceptance brought him back to the bullring. Kenny did three more seasons at Wyoming County Speedway.
There have been many memories during Kenny’s career. Kenny said, “I have been fortunate to be part of some memorable events. The one that stands out is the fifty years of racing celebration for Art Clark. When Art came out, I said West Seneca has proclaimed this Art Clark day and you are relieved of all your speeding tickets. He is a great driver and it was a special night.” In 2001, there was another event which Kenny remembers, “This was just a few days after the 9/11 attacks. People were still in shock about the tragedy. I was sitting up in the booth when I noticed the Drivers, crew members, track personnel, and others coming out on to the track. They were all carrying American flags. They walked the track and returned to the pits. I was pretty choked up about that and could hardly talk. I was really touched by the display of patriotism.” There were many humorous moments that Kenny experienced. “One night at Lancaster, a daredevil was suppose to jump a ramp in his car. He came out in this small Chevy but stalled out on the backstretch. The toll truck had to push him and he finally got started. The car came around the fourth turn and I started hyping the approach. Daredevil X started up the ramp but it collapsed. The car ended up down in the first turn. I stated to the crowd, If this guy shows up at your front door and says he is a carpenter, don’t hire him. We have seen the results of his work tonight.”
In 2006, Kenny will continue to be the voice for the TQ Midgets. His passion for racing has not diminished. Kenny has been announcing races for nearly thirty years. His enthusiasm and humor are his trademarks. Western New York Speedways have benefited from his talent. Wyoming County International Speedway is proud to have Kenny as a member to the Wall of Fame.