Huntington Area Transportation gets unlikely exposure at Daytona

A go-kart bearing Huntington Area Transportation (HAT) emblems zips across Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, FL, last December. HAT driver Mike Brennan personally paid to have the HAT emblems placed on the go-kart, plus another kart, which both competed in a karting event held at the speedway. Brennan liked the idea of HAT being represented at the speedway, which is among the most famous in the world.
A go-kart bearing Huntington Area Transportation (HAT) emblems zips across Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, FL, last December. HAT driver Mike Brennan personally paid to have the HAT emblems placed on the go-kart, plus another kart, which both competed in a karting event held at the speedway. Brennan liked the idea of HAT being represented at the speedway, which is among the most famous in the world. Photo provided.

Vehicles bearing black and yellow Huntington Area Transportation emblems are a common sight around Huntington County.

Huntington Area Transportation – or HAT, for short – is a free public transportation service offered by the Huntington County Council on Aging.
Retiree Mike Brennan, of Huntington County, is a driver for HAT.

And on a recent trip to Daytona International Speedway, in Daytona Beach, FL, Brennan gave HAT some exposure at the racing venue, which is among the most famous in the world.

Brennan visited Daytona with his longtime friend Bill Bernet for a go-kart competition that the venue holds each year after Christmas. The competition, which ran from Dec. 27 to Dec. 30, 2018, featured over 1,000 karts, says Brennan, who calls go-karting a “lifelong love.”

Of those karts, two belonged to Bernet. Going into the competition, Bernet needed sponsorship for the vehicles. Brennan decided to help his friend out and contributed sponsorship dollars to the karts. Accordingly, the contribution entitled Brennan to advertising space on the vehicles – and he decided to use that space to recognize HAT.

“I thought it’d be fun to get HAT in the scene,” he explains.

Once HAT emblems were on the karts, Brennan christened each of them the “HAT Mobile.” Aside from emblems, he also supplied Bernet and his racing team with HAT hats.

One of the karts was a single-engine model while the other was a dual-engine model, says Brennan. Both are speedy, he notes.
“The single will do 135 (miles per hour),” he shares. “The dual, when the bugs get worked out … it’ll get close or hit 160.”

Racer Patrick Olsen drove both karts at the competition. While the single-engine kart went into the competition with a track record of success, both it and the dual-engine model ended up having a rough go of it.

“This year, with both carts, we blew up everything but the steering wheels,” says Brennan.

While the competition may not have been a successful one for the karts, it didn’t dampen Brennan’s pride over seeing the HAT logo streaking around Daytona, the site of NASCAR’s most famous annual race, the Daytona 500.

“I thought it might be fun … for the people of Huntington to see they were represented at Daytona Speedway,” he says.

Brennan has been a HAT driver for almost two years. Prior to that, he worked as a regional sales manager for 34 years.

He sees parallels between the two gigs.

“You’re driving a lot and interacting with people,” he observes. “So, that’s why this works for me.”

For more information on HAT, call the Huntington County Council on Aging at 359-4410 or visit www.HuntingtonCounty COA.org.