Day Motor Sports Driver Profile: Randy Hoover working towards breakout season

PARIS, Texas — Year after year, we see a handful of drivers at each of our member tracks on the cusp of that first big victory. Drivers who’ve studied the sport, soaked up knowledge and shown an ability to learn. We delight in seeing the raw emotion when they reach that elusive goal, no matter the division. 

For 36-year-old Factory Stock pilot Randy ‘The Mover’ Hoover, working towards a trip to Victory Lane is the primary focus for 2024. He’s been gaining traction and making progress, and now, with a supportive family, valued partners and a dedicated crew, it might just be time for that breakout year. 

“We struggled mightily all last season,” Hoover admitted. “It was a battle all year. I don’t usually show a lot of emotion, but I’d pull into the pits after the races and really be down. My wife is always there, and I’d tell her I just can’t make this work. I worked all year long, trying to find a solution.  

“I sold a nice, fairly new Outlaw car last year because I just never could get it right. It simply didn’t suit my driving style I guess. So I took the one I have now in trade, and had it all updated at Atomic Race Cars. We took it out last weekend, and it actually felt pretty good. I think I can win with it this year.” 

Unlike many current drivers who started out in Karts or Quarter Midgets, Hoover’s path was different. 

“Our family was always into drag racing at first,” he explained. “I started out driving Jr. Dragsters with my sister, Lindsay Creighton, when I was a kid. I’ll tell you right now, she was way better at it than I was. She traveled the country with my Dad.

“I started hanging out at the local track here in Paris with my Dad and brother, Shane Morton, and thought it was pretty cool. So I saved some money, and bought myself a Ricky Bunch Stock Car from Chad Ross with the help from my Dad. I was too young to race, so Dad agreed to drive it. He drove it for three-quarters of a year; went up on two wheels, and got hurt.”

As you can imagine, Hoover’s career path was about to take a different turn. 

“Dad slammed back down pretty hard, and broke his collarbone. As we were taking him out of the car, he looked at me and said ‘you got it next week, I’m done.’ So I got in it, and did really good in it. But that’s the not the same type of car we run today. Then I found out I was going to be a Dad at age 18.

“So I got out of racing, and sold everything I had. I focused on my son, and as hard as it is to believe, he’s about to turn 18 now. But I helped some friends as a hobby, and after the local track closed down I kind of just forgot about it. I tried the drag racing thing again six years ago, but it just wasn’t the same.”

There are times when the racing hobby clicks, and times when it simply does not. And then, you find out the local track has a renewed hope for the future. 

“I used to race with Kevin Sustaire back in the day,” Hoover said. “When I found out he bought the old 82 Speedway, and that KR was involved, I thought that was a pretty cool deal. Then one day my friend Jeremy Fodge calls and says just bought a race car. So I went to look at his new Factory Stock. 

“I went out to Kevin’s track to watch Jeremy race, it was the first time I’d been since he bought it. I had tried to stay away, but the bug bit me hard again that night. I was up in the stands on my phone, looking at race cars on Facebook Marketplace. I made a post I wanted one, and bought a car that next Monday.”  

Wherever Hoover unloads that Factory Stock machine in North Texas, he knows he’s in for a battle. 

“Without a doubt, the level of competition will be intense this year, especially at Rocket,” he said. “I know the fast guys will all be there, and geared up to win. It’s a super competitive class, but most of us try to have fun with it. Regardless,, you have to get everything just right on any given night to win.” 

When Hoover puts on his safety suit and gets ready to race, he straps into a rather unique machine. 

“I don’t even really know the exact origin of this car I’m driving now,” he admitted candidly. “I don’t know the brand, and I’m not even sure what year it was built. I just know it was in rough shape when I got it, so I placed no limits on the work to be done at Atomic. I told the man to straighten it out and make it right.

“He tore out some bars, welded in some new bars, and got everything back to perfectly straight. It took some work, but he turned this older mongrel into a pretty competitive piece. The handling last weekend gave me a good feeling about this season. My hopes are high to win a feature and have a solid year.” 

Along with his years of experience and updated car, Hoover also has ample supporters in his corner. 

“I want to thank all of our great partners, including Kickin’ A Equipment Rentals, Kickin’ A Farm and Ranch Services; KR Promotions, LLC; Afco Racing, Dirt Defender, Pulse Racing Innovations, Dirty Deeds Designs, Allstar Performance Products, 12 Volt Pros, as well as with Hicks Muffler and Tire. 

“I also want to thank Uptown Auto Sales, Overhead Door Solutions, Cullum Auto Parts, Inc., Blanton Construction, Callaway Customs and Nabors Racing Engines. I’ll also thank my loyal crew, including my wife and sons, Amanda, Blake and Gage Hoover; my Dad, my Mom, John Hoover; my Mom, Jill Hoover; and my brother, Shane Morton.”   

With the new season under way across most of the region, Hoover knows what he wants to accomplish.

“As strange as it may sound, we have no specific plans as to where we’ll race week-to-week,” he said. “Last year, I had all these dates circled on the calendar, saying we were going to race here, here, and there. That creates pressure, it doesn’t account for life comes calling, and it can take the fun out of it. 

“So this year, while we’re working hard towards a trip to Victory Lane, we’re also not going to forget that this is a hobby, not a profession. If we can’t have a little fun with it, I’ll move on. So we’ll move around this year, trying different tracks when we can. I want a win, badly, but we’re going to have fun.”

By Phil Whipple, Staff Writer
Photo by Stacy Kolar/Southern SASS