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Go Speed Racer

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Young Owen County racer chases his future

By Molly Haines

Owen County’s 6-year-old Donnie Holleran has been racing go-karts since he was 4, and he is already receiving attention for his talent.

Donnie, who is the son of Don and Adella Holleran, decided he wanted to race while watching the Daytona 500 on television with his dad.

“I never pushed Donnie to race,” Don Holleran said. “I see too much of that with kids in sports and I don’t believe in it. When he was 4 he and I were lying on the living room floor watching the start of the Daytona 500 and out of nowhere he said ‘Dad, I want to race.’ So within a month we had his first go-kart.”

Holleran said finding a place for Donnie to practice wasn’t easy in the beginning.

“At age 4 there were no tracks to race at,” Holleran said. “We started him out in the parking lot at my work. I then found a road course in Ohio that would let him practice, and later that year a dirt track in Maysville that would let him practice during their intermission. He went to his first race a few weeks before his fifth birthday, finishing 12th out of 13 kids.”

Holleran said that afterward Donnie began to hone his skills and won in Felicity, Ohio.

“He told me on the way to the track that he was going to start driving fast,” Holleran said. “I said, ‘OK, just be careful.’ There were only a couple of kids there for that race and he surprised me. He really got up on the wheel and started driving. That was his first win.”

Subsequently, Donnie began racing quarter midgets, a type of racing that is typically for kids ages 5 through 16. The cars gain speeds from 30 to 70 miles per hour.

While racing quarter midgets in Terra Haute, Donnie qualified fourth out of 18.

“He had a bad flip during the race,” Don Holleran said. “It really scared him and we wound up selling all of our racing equipment.”

Although frightened by the accident, Donnie was still determined to race.

Donnie now races go-karts on dirt tracks and in rookie novice classes.

Donnie has won nine features and countless heats. He has also won a championship at C.C.F.R.

Holleran said Donnie is looking forward to racing again this season.

“As far as the future, we are definitely running again this coming season,” Holleran said. “We have a newer chassis that we are getting ready, in hope of a repeat of the track championship in Clark County and running several other tracks including Clay City, Junction City and Bardstown – maybe even more depending on what next season’s schedules are.”

Holleran said once Donnie turns 8, more opprotunities will come up for him to race.

“Once he’s 8, most all tracks have a class for that age group,” Holleran said. “As long as Donnie wants to race and we can find some way to pay for it, we’ll keep him going.”

Holleran said if one day Donnie wishes to become a professional race car driver, he will be supported.

“He says he wants to be a professional race car driver, but he also wants to go in the army, be a police officer and many other things,” Holleran said. “At this age it’s too early to tell, but we’ll support him either way.”