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2008 Stories

2008 – A Year in Review

December 1, 2008 Farmington, Minn.

Hansen Motorsports has arrived at the end of a successful 2008 season. We continued the building process in 2008 and several changes were made that will add to the team’s potential for the future. All team members are looking forward to 2009 with a new level of confidence and high expectations.

There’s no question that moving up to ARCA has proven to be a ‘challenging’ task. The level of competition is incredible and gets better each year. Car owners like Jack Roush, Bill Davis, and even Roger Penske are either entering drivers or supporting teams with technical and engineering support. When you compete against this kind of competition you must ‘step up or get out’. Our team is determined to keep on-task and continue to ‘step up’!

The past three years has been a period of fine tuning - and our operation is certain to be even more competitive in ’09. Todd continues to prove he belongs at this level. When the green flag drops ... he is a charger. He has proven to be able to get through traffic and ‘pass cars’. Todd has shown he is capable of starting anywhere in the lineup and with a car that is performing well he is right there at the top.

We also saw our share of instances where “stuff happens”. We chalk them up to the “nuances of racing” ... such things the occasional blown engine, an error in the pits, burned plug wires, and accidents. These all have the capability of altering the entire outcome of a racing season.

The attitude of the Hansen team is such that we learn from the negatives and turn them into “positives for ‘09”. We believe we now have our engine program in good hands. We established a relationship with Mad Croc Energy Drink as a sponsor (give it a try, you're sure to love it!) We received some coverage on Speed TV. We raised money for JDRF and are establishing a non-profit entity for the purpose of raising more money for JDRF and raising the awareness for the need for diabetes research. Our charitable efforts will be formalized around the name we coined in 2008 -- "Speed the Cure". Tony Mitchell of Gulfport Mississippi served as crew chief for 2008 and he provided a wealth of knowledge about ARCA racing. Dan Peterson and Skip Pollack worked at fine tuning car set ups and our entire racing operation in Farmington. They are integral to the overall growth and evolution of the team. Scott Brandt and Rob Grave continued their work with the team and were instrumental in helping us compete.

Todd’s role in the community continues to grow. Our efforts to support JDRF is driven largely by the fact Todd successfully manages his diabetes and can use that fact to demonstrate to other young diabetics that the disease does not have to limit life's choices. Being a professional race car driver, a hockey player and a college graduate is an indication that diabetes does not have to stand in the way of life’s successes.

Like many teams, the off-season will find us actively building cars and looking forward to the first green flag of the season. Our key ARCA races will again include Michigan, Iowa, Chicago, and Kansas. Along the way we plan on doing a lot of other racing. We are actively seeking additional sponsors and feel we are close to further success in this area. All in all, things are really looking up. Please view our “Photo Gallery” for a season of images ... we made lots of new friends in 2008.

2008 – A Year in Pictures

Chicago Chagrin

September 10, 2008 Joliet, Ill.

Team Hansen has had more “challenges” this season. Four expired engines and a wreck at the Iowa Speedway has ensured a year of lower than expected results. However, being of a stubborn nature and having a strong desire to succeed, the team traveled to the fast mile and a half track in Joliet Illinois known as Chicagoland.

Expectations were high. Three factors were pointing in the right direction. 1) The car was well prepared
2) The team leased a new engine from a highly regarded engine

builder in Wisconsin
3) Todd really enjoys the long, fast tracks.

The team was ready!

As has been the case all year, it rained on practice and qualifying day. With lots of hard work, Chicagoland track personnel were able to dry things out.

During practice it didn't take long for the team to determine that the rear-end gear needed to be changed. Because of the high stress load put on these gears it has been a team policy to rent gears “as needed” so there are always freshly rebuilt gear on each car hitting the track. The crew usually knows the exact gear needed for a particular track. Unfortunately, the team was unable to obtain the exact gear needed and had to settle for a ratio that was a touch to deep. With the new engine, a touch to deep became way to deep and Todd was hitting the chip at the flag stand.

For those who are unfamiliar with what "hitting the chip" means, it can be likened to a “rev limiter”. ARCA places a chip in the ignition boxes that limit engine RPM to 8700. When you “hit the chip” you no longer accelerate ... and thus you are not fast. Although racing lingo is spoken in English, it's still not always obvious what is meant.

Following practice, and at the very last minute, the team found a replacement gear from another competitor who agreed to rent it to us. Changing a rear-end gear is a significant task and takes quite a bit of time. ARCA has a rule that stipulates “you will present your car for qualifying tech by a specific time. If you are late, you are not allowed to qualify”. The team pulled out for qualifying tech one minute late! The penalty? Disqualification!

Team owner Bill Hansen doesn’t know exactly how it happened, but ARCA was able to garner the team a provisional starting spot. That meant starting last in a field of 41 cars. Troublesome? To the contrary, the team was ecstatic, relieved, and grateful!

It's always fun to watch Todd when he “does his thing” – passing cars. It was a 200 mile race and Todd was able to take his time and gradually worked his way towards the front. He got up as far as 8th position! It meant he had passed 33 cars to reach this top ten spot! But as anyone familiar with racing knows, you have to make the occasional pit stop. The team waited as long as possible for a yellow caution flag. None came and thus Todd was forced to make a green flag pit stop. Fuel and tires.

The stop went off without a hitch... in and out. The only problem was that there were only 4 lug nuts on one of the wheels. ARCA officials on the track said: “no go”, and compelled the team to call for another pit stop to replace the missing lug nut. Another green flag pit stop. Then, as soon as Todd was back on the track there was a yellow caution flag, which allowed many of the other competitors to make a yellow flag pit stop. By the time everything was settled Todd was 3 laps down. He finished 18th.


An eighteenth place finish was not what the team wanted but were still happy with the results. The car worked well, the engine ran great, and Todd was on his game. We will be back. We are actively pursuing additional sponsorship for the 2009 season and have high hopes for success! We think that we have a lot to offer and therefore expect to be successful!

A Special Day at the Metrodome Celebrating Volunteers Who Support JDRF November 20, 2008 Minneapolis, Minn.

Hansen Motorsports continues to support the efforts of JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) to raise awareness for diabetes research. November kicks off the 60-day march to the annual JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes walkathon at the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN. The walkathon at the Mall of America is the biggest indoor walk to support any charity in the U.S. Hansen was proud to be on-hand on November 19th when JDRF and local community leaders are on-hand to thank past and future volunteers. As is always the case, families and kids alike – some battling diabetes at a very young age – are thrilled to meet Todd Hansen who demonstrates that managing diabetes doesn’t have to limit life’s choices!

Michigan Mayhem!

June 17, 2008 Jackson, Mich.

Hansen Motorsports traveled to the Michigan International Speedway for a June 13 race - and as has been the 'theme' this spring, it RAINED. We're beginning to think that if you have drought, schedule an ARCA race! (Apologies to our friends at ARCA Racing!)

The team arrived on June 11th and spent the day getting the new car through technical inspection. (If you recall our previous news update, the team purchased a Sprint Cup car the previous week and diligently worked to prepare for Michigan.) Whenever a new car is entered in a race, technical inspection is more detailed - with inspectors reviewing more than the 'usual items'. Thursday the 12th was a busy day -- with a 2 hour practice session followed by qualifying. The day finished with cars impounded ... meaning teams have no access to them ... until Friday's race.

Friday's scheduled 5PM race was ultimately postponed due to... RAIN. We were fortunate to get rescheduled ... to 8:30AM Saturday the 14th because this was a full NASCAR weekend. Squeezing an extra event in is never an easy task and ARCA officials deserve credit for preventing teams from having to pack up and head for home.

Todd qualified 28th -- not the starting position he or the team wanted. Yet, when the green flag dropped Todd diligently took on the task of passing cars and getting in position to compete for a win, a top 5 or top 10. However, he suddenly started falling behind. The motor sounded "off key". A trip to pit road revealed a spark plug wire rubbed against a header and burned through. With quick thinking in the pit, the team got a new plug wire in place -- and Todd finished the race 'running'. Though he finished several laps back, his lap times toward the end of the race were clocked as some of the best by any car on the track. A silver lining to what appeared to most as

a gray cloud. Considering all of the work that had been done on the new car it was remarkable that this was the only problem. The entire team, working on the car night and day for the week leading up to the race was, in the end, very pleased with the new car. Crew Chief Tony Mitchell, Car Chief Daniel Peterson, Shop Manager Skip Pollack and the rest of the team, Rob Grave, Scott Brandt and Scott Hansen are busy preparing the car for the next race.

Driver and team talent aside, all race teams look for a little luck, which has eluded us a bit. One would have hoped a 2 hour practice session and qualifying period would have allowed the plug wire problem to manifest itself. Such was not the case this year at the Michigan International Speedway!

Michigan International Speedway: 2 miles ... and 200 MPH

June 6, 2008 Minneapolis, Minn

The next race for the Hansen team is in Michigan. The Michigan International Speedway is a 2 mile oval and is the fastest track we will run on all season. This in not a restrictor plate motor race so all 800 plus horsepower will we used. We were not able to attend the open test session as team members were searching for a new car to replace the one that was involved in a crash in Iowa. However, Todd has raced there and "loves the place". In his initial ARCA race at Michigan he finished a respectable 11th. In ARCA's open tests at the Speedway, average speeds typically approach 190 MPH. That means that straightaway race-day speeds are about 200 MPH. Pretty quick.

The team did, in fact, just purchase a new car which arrived at the shop on Thursday morning the fifth of June. Crew members are working around the clock to have the car ready for Michigan. The car is a Sprint Cup car which has run in the top 10 in Sprint Cup races. The amount of work to prepare this car for ARCA competition is much more than one would expect. Everything from the fuel cell to the radiator must be modified to ARCA specifications. It's a prodigious undertaking! The team’s expectations are high.

People ask us about the impact of rising fuel costs as it relates to operating a racing business. Forgetting anything about race-day fuel usage, here are some statistics about our recent trip to Charlotte NC. The team used its small hauler to travel to North Carolina to pick up the new car. That hauler is a one ton Chev. dually with a 454 cubic inch engine and was pulling a 30 foot enclosed trailer. Past trips required fuel expenditures of about $900. This trip used $1400 of fuel... more than 50% more! The cost of having fun continues to escalate!

Todd Hansen Congratulates Students for Supporting JDRF

Now the School’s “Local Hero”

May 15, 2008 Richfield, Minn.

The fifth grade students of Mr. Omar MacMillan’s Richfield Intermediate School deserved a big round of “thanks” for helping raise money for the Minneapolis/St. Paul Chapter of JDRF. So when Minnesota JDRF Executive Director Jackie Casey asked students if they would like to meet Todd Hansen and see his #77 Mad Croc race car, the response was a unanimous, and enthusiastic “yes”. After returning from the Drive Smart! Buckle Up Kentucky 150, Todd, team member Skip Pollack and team owner Diane Hansen visited Mr. MacMillan’s class and for two hours, the kids got to spend time with Todd.

After viewing Todd’s video, created in January to support JDRF’s Walk to Cure Diabetes walkathon, students had the opportunity to ask questions. With interest ranging from how Todd manages his own diabetes to questions about tires, speed, safety, what happens during a crash, and where his next race was scheduled, the students clearly showed their knowledge of racing – proving again how popular the sport is with the nation’s youth.

After autographs, photos and cupcakes provided by Ms. Casey, students headed to the parking lot to see Todd’s car. Students took turns getting behind the wheel and were delighted to convince their teacher Mr. MacMillan to give it a try!

As the school day ended, more students made their way to Todd’s car and to get an autograph.

When all is said and done, JDRF is the real winner ... with every contribution helping their cause to find a cure for diabetes. (Although we can’t help but love the student’s enthusiasm, especially when one young student shouted “Todd rocks!”)

Warm Kentucky Rain

May 12, 2008 Sparta, Kty

“Warm Kentucky rain" may sound good as a part of an old Elvis song, but it doesn't sound good if you want to go stock car racing. The Hansen team traveled to Kentucky to race in the Drive Smart! Buckle Up Kentucky 150 ARCA race on May 10th. It rained and thundered on both the 8th and 9th. Normally, it is not a big deal if it rains the days prior to a race, but this is not the case at Kentucky. The Kentucky track has what are called “weepers”. What are weepers? When the water table is high, moisture seeps through the track surface and the track becomes wet. ARCA test dates have been wiped out because of these weepers. Just a little bit of moisture on a track can translate into a potential crash... which is not good!

Qualifying based on speed and skill is important to the Hansen Team. The team did not want to see rain or ‘weepers’ cancel qualifying and force the starting grid to be set by season driver point tallies. Confident of our ability to run great qualifying laps, we didn’t want to take a chance of losing out when our season-long point total is still building. When Saturday turned out bright and beautiful, we knew this was a good sign! Track crews worked all morning on both ends of the track to dry it out. Practice was delayed for about an hour but the track finally dried out and the competition was underway.

Practice for the team went well ... as did qualifying. The primary goals were to make the race and then to finish the race in a respectable position. Both goals were met. Todd qualified in the middle of the field and then, when the race began he “did his thing and passed cars”.

It seems like there were lots of yellow flags in this event. Each yellow flag meant a restart and Todd was having some difficulty with them. If he used 2nd gear he would spin the rear tires and lose positions. If he used 3rd gear there was not enough acceleration to maintain position. During a long green flag run he was able to move into the top 10. There was a period of time where timing and scoring showed that Todd was the fastest car on the race track. He was running faster than the leaders. It looked like a top 10 finish until the white flag.

In racing, things don't always work out the way you want. As the saying goes: “sometimes you get the bear and sometimes the bear gets you”. On the white flag lap there was a yellow. That means there must be another green, a white, and then the checkers. Another green restart led to yet another yellow, to another restart, another yellow, and then one last time -- a restart and then the checkered flag. During all of that Todd would lose positions and then gain them back, but in the end finished a respectable 12th.

The team feels good about the finish. Four of the cars that finished ahead of Todd had at one time been passed by Todd. Of the teams that finished ahead of Todd many were development teams from NASCAR with great equipment. Thus, Todd and the team feel very good about the race and their ability to compete with the field. Were it not for the transmission problem, a top 10 finish was almost a certainty.

Next up for the team is a Michigan test and then it's on to Pocono.

Kansas Speedway – Kansas Lottery $150 Grand

April 26, 2008 Kansas City, Kan.

What's the Matter with Kansas? That's the title of a bestselling book published in 2004. That's also the question that the Hansen racing team asks themselves every time they travel to that beautiful race facility. Todd’s initial bout with the Kansas Speedway in 2006 saw him close to the top of the board in practice. Then he got a little frisky in qualifying and severely hit the inside wall. He was OK, but the team needed a new car.

Fast forward to 2007. Todd had the good fortune to race the Country Joe #32 car at Kansas. It had been a long winter and he had no opportunity to test the car prior to the race. Additionally, the new fangled coil bind setup was coming into its own and Kansas was Todd's initial race with that setup. It takes a little getting used to. Perhaps it takes a lot of getting used to. Todd ran the race and... finished 14th. No one on the team wanted to call it a great outing but felt privileged to work with a top notch crew and car. The experience was valuable.

Fast forward to April 2008! The team went to an ARCA test at Kansas and watched it rain. When they finally got some track time (a day later) they were working with a new car ... a different car than would run in Iowa. This car was an enigma. So, when they came back for the actual race event, they brought a different car. It worked well. After30 laps of practice Todd went out to qualify. The first lap was adequate, but nothing to write home about. The second lap was different.. the most important lap of qualifying!

With heat in the tires it was very apparent that the second lap would be excellent---until the exit of turn 4. That's when the engine blew up! Without an engine, and coasting about 200 yards, Todd was only 2 tenths slower than his initial lap. We all would have loved to have known what the qualifying time would have been had the engine not expired. The talent of Todd and the team – along with a car they worked very hard on – came shining through... only to be thwarted by the engine.

Putting Kansas in a positive light, it was fortunate the engine let go when it did. Had the failure occurred in heavy traffic at the beginning of the race it could have precipitated a serious accident. So, our version of "Whats the Matter with Kansas" will require a return engagement next year. Time will tell!

Iowa Speedway – Prairie Meadows 250

April 20, 2008 Newton, Iowa

The results from the April 19, 2008 Iowa Speedway can best be described as an experience that brought Todd from the outhouse to the penthouse to the outhouse again. These are the ups and downs of racing.

Todd and crew traveled to Iowa to run an ARCA race on April 19th. The Iowa Speedway is in its third season of racing. It is a beautiful 7/8th mile facility where everything is first class. Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate. On qualifying day it rained and rained ... and rained some more until qualifying was cancelled. As this was a televised race there was no time to qualify the next day. Without the opportunity to qualify the field is set by “owner’s points. The team believed they would be going home as this was their first event of the season and they had no points and thus the first trip to the outhouse.

When the field was finally set Todd found himself starting in 38th position. He was the last car to make the show based on last year’s points and thus a trip to the penthouse. The green fell and Todd started strong, quickly passing cars. He moved up to as high as 7th place and Todd and crew were in an excellent position to do some damage. After the crew executed a great pit stop (changing 4 tires and adding fuel in less than 20 seconds) Todd and crew were well on their way to the penthouse.

This season ARCA has initiated a "lucky dog" rule. Specifically this means that when the yellow flag flies the lead car of the lapped cars is placed back on the lead lap. When the green flag flies the lappers race hard to be that lead car, which makes it more difficult for the front runners as the lappers are not about to move over. Well the ‘lucky dog” turned out to be unlucky as one of the lappers checked up in turn one. Todd, who happened to be just behind the lapper, did not expect the lapper to check up and rear ended the lapper and wound up crashing into the wall. Back to the outhouse! A great start but...

The car is junk so the team will take a backup car to Kansas this weekend.

Meet and Greet ... Benefiting Iowa’s Chapter of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF)

April 18, 2008 Newton, Iowa

Todd and his crew had an opportunity to “meet and greet” the residents of Newton and Des Moines as part of the Team’s efforts to help raise awareness for Juvenile Diabetes. Despite very poor weather conditions a number of residents showed up to help raise money for the research foundation. The Meet and Greet was held at Newton’s newest Hy-Vee grocery store and Todd and his team express their thanks to the entire Newton Hy-Vee team (management and employees). Kids received free zipper pulls, autographs, photos with the car and best of all... Mary Hunter, Executive Director of Iowa’s JDRF managed to ‘crawl into the car for a photo opp’! Hy-Vee pulled out all stops and grilled chicken, steak, ribs and burgers for the team and area residents. All-in-all, $250 was raised for JDRF – and the biggest benefactors are those who will benefit from ongoing research to find a cure for type 1 diabetes!

Special thanks goes to Jason Avery, Speed Channel for helping publicize Todd’s (and team’s) goal of raising money for diabetes research in a live segment during the Prairie Meadows 250.

Thanks also go to Daren Havens (Marketing Director, ARCA Racing) and Laura Manatt (Marketing Director, Iowa Speedway) for tickets/passes awarded to lucky folks who attended the “Meet and Greet”. Though race day weather was gray and cool, ticket winners saw an excellent race! We thank them for their support!

Iowa Speedway Testing – A Start to the New Season for Hansen Motorsports

April 2, 2008 Newton, Iowa

Team owner Bill Hansen reports that the overall strategy for the 2008 ARCA racing season is to do more testing at tracks on which the team will race. Hansen reported: “Our first test was the Iowa Speedway, which overall went very well. The team considers it to be a success.”

Hansen went on to say: “The car that we brought was stable, responded well to changes and was predictable. As is typical for many teams, we use a "mule motor" that has less horsepower and torque but lots of staying power. We use mule motors during the testing to maintain the freshness of the high powered “race” engines so they can be ready for race day.”

The team was encouraged with the lap time and speeds especially considering the use of a single set of tires. Todd and new crew chief Tony Mitchell worked well together as did all crew members.

It was a terrific start and a good return on all the work performed during the ’07-’08 winter months.

Team spirits are high ... as are expectations. And though the weather in the upper Midwest is still a bit on the cold side, Hansen Motorsports reported that pit stop practice is underway.

Mad Croc Energy Drink Teams with Hansen Motorsports for 2008

March, 2008 Minneapolis, Minn.

As a popular energy drink overseas, great tasting Mad Croc is now in the U.S. Looking to gain exposure to race fans, Mad Croc has agreed to a sponsor program with Hansen Motorsports. The team is excited to have Mad Croc on-board and feels it is a way for an up-and-coming team to help promote an up-and-coming energy drink ... and vice-versa!

“Race teams go through a lot of beverages during the race season, and energy drinks are a large part of the mix”, reports Todd Hansen, team driver. He further stated that Mad Croc tastes great and there is both regular and sugar free that doesn’t have an affect on his blood sugar levels.

Mad Croc will supply the team with energy drink throughout the season and other fun items to be given to fans. “Both kids and adults will love wearing the Mad Croc logo on a cap or T-Shirt”, says team owner Bill Hansen.

Mad Croc is excited to introduce their energy drink to race fans that come out to cheer Todd and the team. More information about Mad Croc can be found at their web site:


Todd Hansen Supports JDRF at January 19, 2008 ‘Walk to Cure Diabetes’
February, 2008. Bloomington, Minn.

Todd Hansen spoke before some of the 18,000 supporters of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) at the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN. JDRF holds this fundraising ‘walk event’ every year in January at many locations across the U.S. with the Mall of America being the largest of the indoor venues and second largest in the U.S.

As a type 1 diabetic, Todd was privileged to speak with parents and kids about proper care and management of diabetes and letting them know there is nothing to prevent diabetic children from leading active and productive lives. Todd’s words of encouragement were able to bring hope to families who have been told diabetes will control their lives. Many walkers saw Todd in a six minute video featuring his life as an ARCA driver including exciting footage from ARCA racing. Todd helped JDRF urge the audience to continue the effort to raise awareness about diabetes and help fund research that will bring a cure.

Hansen Motorsports, with support of team members Skip Pollack, Dan Peterson, Rob Grave, Scott Brandt and Scott Hansen, put Todd’s Chevrolet Monte Carlo race car on display in one of the mall’s retail courts. Todd posed for photos with kids and parents, and autographed signature cards and T-shirts.

It was an inspirational day with JDRF benefiting from donations expected to reach the Twin Cities Chapter’s goal of $1.65 million. Todd is excited to be supporting JDRF’s work.

January, 2008. Bloomington, Minn.

Todd Hansen, ARCA (Automobile Racing Club of America) driver, began his racing career when he was 16 but his race for a healthy life started when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 13 months old. Now 25 years old he is a driving force in raising awareness for diabetes. Hansen has recently partnered
with the Minnesota Chapter of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. He will

appear at the Walk to Cure Diabetes on January 19, 2008, at Mall of America where he will be joining 18,000 plus participants. There will be photograph opportunities with Hansen and his race car.

Hansen stated, “Being associated with a foundation that is so focused on a cure for diabetes is an honor. Diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, affecting nearly 22 million Americans. We are hoping to help build awareness both on and off the track. JDRF is doing great work and I encourage race fans everywhere to join us in our efforts”.

JDRF is the leading charitable funder and advocate of diabetes research worldwide. The mission of JDRF is to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research. Diabetes is a disease, which strikes people - many of them children - suddenly and requires multiple injections of insulin daily or a continuous infusion of insulin through a pump. Insulin, however, is not a cure for diabetes, nor does it prevent its eventual and devastating complications which may include kidney failure, blindness, heart disease, stroke and amputation.

Todd has had total responsibility for all car setup decisions as well as responsibility for all mechanical aspects of the operation with the exception of engine building. His diabetes responsibilities consist of monitoring his blood sugars on a daily basis. The constant threat of high and low blood sugars has proven to be a formidable challenge to his racing career. Hansen said, “For my safety and the safety of others, I test every time I get ready to drive on or off the track. I feel like it is my responsibility to my fellow racers and everyone I share the road with. Advances in technology and insulin have helped immensely.”

Hansen has consistently placed in the top 10 in competitive ARCA races across the country. Todd’s successes don’t surprise me at all, said team owner and father Bill Hansen, a retired 747 Captain for Northwest Airlines. He’s excelled in everything he has done and now he hopes to excel in diabetes awareness and finding a cure.

While Todd’s dad, Bill, has really partnered with Todd on his racing career, Todd’s mom, Diane, has been his partner in managing his diabetes. She recalls, “When Todd was diagnosed 24 years ago, the doctors said we would never have a normal life again. It has been challenging, but all of the research funded by JDRF has brought the chance of a long life and hope for a cure. Now I’m not sure which worries me more, Todd’s diabetes or that he races cars at 180 miles per hour.”

From super late model track champion at I-94 Raceway and Fergus Falls Raceway to the ARCA RE/MAX Series, from graduating with honors from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul with a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration to All-City hockey player, Hansen is not afraid to put the pedal to the metal when it comes to helping find a cure. As a start, he has formed a team for the Walk to Cure Diabetes. He is inviting race fans and anyone who cares about curing diabetes to become a member of his team. Team members can go to and click on ‘support a walker’ and type in walker name Todd Hansen or team name Speed the Cure.

Todd and his parents are available for interviews. JDRF can also provide additional organizational event and research information.

2007 Stories

TRADING HELMETS - ARCA sophomore set for 2007 racing season

March, 2007.  Minneapolis, Minn.

ARCA driver Todd Hansen traded his Simpson racing helmet for a Lincoln Electric welding helmet to build two new chassis from the wheels up during the off-season.

This is a first for the talented and versatile driver. The team opted for two Laughlin bare chassis in January and the sparks have been flying through a couple weeks of sub-zero weather and two big Minnesota blizzards. Hansen and car chief Dan Peterson enlisted the help of veteran NASCAR crew chief Cliff Champion to look things over in the final stages of the chassis build.

Champion's resume reads like a Who's Who in the sport and includes stints with Ricky Rudd, Dale Jarrett, Benny Parsons and Richard Childress, to name a few. "Todd and Dan did a great job," Champion said. "They surprised me with their workmanship and overall understanding of race car construction." Champion may get the call again as the cars are now having bodies hung in Charlotte, Champion's home.

The situation will be better when sponsorship efforts are initiated.  "It's a tough road," says team owner Bill Hansen. "But our situation isn’t unique and we don’t give up easily.”

Hansen plans to run a limited ARCA schedule. Initial plans call for a shakedown test in Kansas in early April and races there in late April.  The schedule resumes in Iowa and Michigan in June. The season ends with Nashville and Milwaukee in August. Additional races will be added with additional funding.

2006 Stories


Minnesota team owner flies high and low

Minneapolis, Minn. – Hansen Motorsports owner Bill Hansen is a Renaissance man. He has done just about everything a man can do. For starters, he is a retired Northwest Airlines 747 captain. Then add 47 years in racing as both driver and team owner. If that isn’t enough, the 66 year-old Minneapolis commercial real estate owner is also an attorney.

Everybody that knows him will tell where his passion is: It’s racing. Now, with almost half a century in the sport, he is watching history repeat itself as he mentors his 26 year-old son Todd’s evolving racing career.

Hansen started racing stock cars in 1959, the year he graduated from high school. He raced on Washington State short tracks for other car owners. Tracks were both pavement and dirt, “I ran anything I could find to drive,” Hansen recalls.

A fateful change happened while Hansen was a student at the University of Washington in 1966. He took an eclectic mix of courses including engineering, math and psychology. He admits he was getting nowhere fast when he read a Parade magazine article that said you could make a million dollars as an airline pilot. “Hey,” Hansen thought, “that’s got to be lot like driving a race car, so I quit school, went to work at Boeing and took flight lessons in my spare time.” Hansen, in typical racecar driver fashion, completed all his flight training in a year and a half.

He flew charter aircraft for a short time and was hired by Northwest Airlines in 1968. “My timing was perfect, this was during the height of the Vietnam War and there was a shortage of pilots.” The move to Minneapolis and real winter weather was an eye-opener. He had to scrape the money together for a decent winter coat because entry-level flight pay was far short of the million-dollars the article promised!

Hansen hedged his bets and started law school because the pilot’s union always seemed like it was one vote away from a long strike. Hansen received his Juris Doctorate in 1977, passed the bar but continued to fly. There was only one strike in 1999, just before he hung up his wings as a 747 captain and instructor pilot.

The allure of racing kept calling even at the time he was graduating from law school. “I went out and bought a sprint car. That’s before they had wings. I got upside down the very first day.” It was a rough year overall and included a pretty serious injury. His wife put her foot down with an ultimatum: “You can own them, but you can’t drive them.”

Racing and flying are very similar disciplines. “I love them both,” Hansen says, “because in both instances you have to handle a very high-powered, sophisticated piece of machinery in a very precise manner. The consequences of failing to act in a precise manner often times can be devastating.” Someone once asked Hansen if the responsibility for the hundreds of people sitting behind him was daunting. “No way,” he quipped, “because if I fly into a mountain, I’ll be leading the parade. If I take care of myself, my passengers will be just fine.”

Hansen developed a very successful sprint car operation after that. “Every time we showed up, other teams knew we had to be reckoned with, except,” Hansen continues, “when we raced Steve Kinser in the World of Outlaws.” John Eskuri, who Hansen calls “Johnny Go Fast”, was his wheelman. “He came to my shop when he was 16 and told me

he wanted to race for me.” Hansen “adopted” the kid who became a member of Hansen’s extended family and, “he’s still around, but not as a driver.”

Eskuri even went as far as to follow his mentor into aviation. “After he finished all his flight training he came to me one day and said he wanted make his living in racing. I said: ‘not with me, you’re not. You’re fired.’ He didn’t talk to me for six months.” Eskuri is now a captain for United Airlines.

Hansen’s addiction to speed was as bad as it gets. He just had to get involved in the American Indy Car series, a sanctioning body that ran retired stock block Indy cars. The only problem was he just fired his driver. Hansen’s wife Diane then said: “Your mid-life crisis is going to kill you anyway, so may as well drive it yourself.” Hansen ran the series for years, a perennial top three-championship points finisher. Hansen took the checkers for the last time in 1996 and screeched the runway in 1999 at the Narita airport in Tokyo, Japan.

Like Father, Like Son

The little boy in the picture below took his first green flag two years after Hansen crossed the finish line for the last time in 1996. Today, Hansen’s son Todd has 12 years under his belt and has proven himself on the track with more than 100 heat and feature short track wins and two championships. In addition, the younger Hansen is involved in the mechanical workings and race setups himself. He is a quick study and can talk technical details in crew chief parlance.

“I admire the hell out of this kid,” Hansen says, “and not because he’s my son. His intelligence and intensity are impressive. His situational awareness and competitiveness blows me away. It’s so much fun to watch.”

“The bottom line,” says the proud father, “is he’s so comfortable. When I watch him climb into that race car it’s like he’s climbing back into the womb.” He reminds me of Kenny Schrader, who will race anywhere, anytime.

Todd is the same way. I just have to make sure I don’t become ‘parent blind.’ I fight like hell to prevent allowing myself that luxury.”

Having been around the sport since 1959 and he says: “I know talent when I see it. I sincerely believe that and if I didn’t believe that I would not be spending the kind of money I do.”

“It takes three things to succeed in racing,” says Hansen, “first you have to be intelligent. There are no stupid successful drivers. The second this is you have to have a certain amount of courage. And the third thing is you have to have Velcro.” That means the driver becomes a part of the car every time he cinches up the belts. “That, Hansen adds, “is something you can’t learn. Either you have it or you don’t. Todd has it.”

2006 marked the beginning of Todd’s entry into big-time racing – entering the ARCA RE/MAX series. Hansen Motorsports put in a credible showing with a limited schedule and little-to-no sponsorship support. Todd turned in three solid top-10 finishes in just 5 starts. At Nashville Superspeedway, the “unknown rookie” qualified eighth out of an entry list of 72 and finished one spot better in seventh. He also outgunned better-financed development drivers such as Chase Miller, Steve Wallace and Evernham Motorsports development driver Erin Crocker.

Hansen Motorsports took delivery of two Laughlin chassis in the 2006 off-season. Todd and his former hockey teammate Dan Peterson, one of the initial crew members of the “modern Hansen Motorsports era” worked hard to prepare the team for the 2007 season. Dan remains an integral member of the team that has grown to include other specialists dedicated to the advancement of Hansen Motorsports and driver Todd Hansen.

The 2008 season is full of optimism as the team unveiled its new look, including new web site, an affiliation with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and a sponsorship from Mad Crock Energy Drink.

The once “unknown rookie” from the unlikely racing home of Minnesota will continue to show the racing world what determination and work ethic means!

News Archives for Year 2006

Rookie Todd Hansen, Best Untold Story in ARCAville

November, 2006. Toledo, Ohio.

You may not know much about ARCA RE/MAX Series rookie Todd Hansen. After all, 2006 was his first season on tour, and he comes from that far away stock car country place in the north.

Yet, in just seven series attempts, the 24 year old Minneapolis, Minnesota driver, with zero sponsorship, made big-league results. Despite two DNF’s, one from a broken motor at Kentucky Speedway and the other from a wreck at Chicagoland Speedway, Hansen hovered in the top-10 everywhere else in ARCA’s most competitive season on record – that would be 54 years and counting.

“Todd’s finishes didn’t surprise me at all,” said team owner and father Bill Hansen, a retired 747 Captain for Northwest Airlines. “He’s excelled in everything he’s done; why would this be any different?”

From super late model track champion at I-94 Raceway and Fergus Falls Raceway to the RE/MAX Series, from graduating with honors from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration to All-City hockey player, Hansen is not afraid to step up to the plate. Once he’s there, homeruns are not out of the question.

Well, maybe not a homerun quite yet in the increasingly competitive RE/MAX Series, but his batting average is nothing to sneeze at.

“He absolutely loves the big tracks,” added Hansen. “If he didn’t have a windshield, he’d come back with bugs all over his teeth from smiling so much. It just seems to come naturally for him.”

And it came with impressive results. In his first series attempt at Nashville Superspeedway in April where there were a mind-boggling 72 entries, Todd, in his father’s unsponsored car, qualified eighth and finished seventh. To give you an idea of the quality of the field that day, Yates development driver Stephen Leicht won the race with Brewco Motorsports development driver Brad Coleman trailing in second. Eight-time RE/MAX Series champion Frank Kimmel was third followed by veteran and former series Rookie of the Year T.J. Bell in fourth. Willie Allen was fifth ahead of Gateway winner Cale Gale (running the full Busch Series in ’07) in sixth with that ‘unknown soldier’ from Minnesota in seventh. Drivers who finished behind Hansen included Dodge development driver Chase Miller, Steve Wallace and Evernham Motorsports development driver Erin Crocker just to name a few.

Then, with just one car while they worked another, the bottom started to fall out. They broke a motor at Kentucky and then wrecked their only completed car in qualifying at Kansas.

Undaunted, the team steered back north for Minnesota and completed
construction on their other Laughlin chassis in time for another trip to Nashville
in August. For Hansen Motorsports, the team is actually, mostly, two guys – Todd and his lifelong, grew-up-together hockey pal Dan Peterson, both of whom work on their ARCA car(s) fulltime in the shop back home.

“After the Kansas wreck we went down south to Laughlin’s shop; they had a car we liked, so we bought it,” said Todd. “They gave us such a great deal on another Laughlin chassis so we bought that too and towed them home.” Towing home for the Hansen’s is an ordeal in itself. Outside of races at Chicagoland, Milwaukee and Kansas, the ARCA RE/MAX Series does not exactly lend itself to an easy traveling schedule proximity-wise for the born and bred Minnesotans.

Nonetheless the Hansen’s got their newer stuff home where Todd and his life-long pal Peterson put one together in time for a late-summer surge that started at Nashville, where they finished tenth. After that, it was a solid 11th place finish at Michigan followed by an impressive eighth place finish at Milwaukee.

Chicagoland was next, but unfortunately they had to tow a wrecked racecar back home after getting caught up in an accident on a restart.

“We initially thought the car was salvageable, but after putting it on the jig, we learned everything but the left frame rail was bent. So now we have two wrecked cars, and we’re starting over.

“I just bought a plane ticket,” added Todd, who was on the way farther north to go deer hunting for the week. “We’ll rent a U-Haul and bring back two Laughlin chassis – intermediate cars. Tony Burgess of Laughlin’s been so good to work with, and we’ve had such great results with their equipment; we won’t go anywhere else. The guys at Lauhglin are quality people.

“We’ve already stripped down our shop, reorganized everything, painted the floors; we’re ready to build cars. We took everything salvageable off the two wrecked cars and we’ll use everything we can on the two newer ones. I’d give anything to run the whole tour; we absolutely love the series, but also need to focus on getting partners.”

No one understands the financial obligations from the Hansen’s world more than Todd’s dad Bill, who’s been footing the bill in retirement.

“The coming year ... and even next year will be important for our team’s growth, said Bill Hansen. I am focusing on the business and finding corporate partners. But no matter what, we’ll run three to four of the bigger races no matter what. The right partners will allow us to run 10-12, or more. Of course our ultimate goal is to run the entire schedule. We love the series and there’s nothing more we’d rather do that run the whole deal.

“Todd loves the big tracks, and does very well at them. And he’s already got three late model championships under him on the short-tracks, so we know he can get the job done. He just loves to race, period.”

Todd Hansen Finishes 7th In Very First ARCA Start

April, 2006. Nashville, Tenn.

The largest-ever ARCA field contended for a chance to start at the Nashville Superspeedway on Saturday April 15th for the PFG Lester 150. This race was run in conjunction with a NASCAR Busch race on Easter weekend.

With more than 70 cars entered, the line for tech inspection was long ... practice was half over before Todd could hit the track. Being early April, Todd and his crew have just begun their ARCA career and know it will be a challenge to qualify for this and other events. Going into his first race the crew was new at making car set-up decisions. Todd tried a few changes that ultimately did not work causing the car to have a “severe push”. The crew made a number of changes to remedy the push but none of them were working before the practice session was closed by race officials.

Qualifying commenced and with the number of changes that had been made, Todd did not know what the car would do. Todd cinched up his belts and cut two laps that put him 8th on the grid. Todd's crew was ecstatic, as only the top 32 positions are filled based on qualifying time -- the rest of the field is filled with provisionals, which Todd did not have.

During qualifying, the car still had its push, but the entire field was impounded leaving them opportunity to make adjustments. When the race began, Todd was able to run in the top 10 and for a time was as high as 5th place. Fuel calculations indicated that one pit stop would be enough if it was later in the race. Todd's new crew made their first ARCA pit stop around lap 40 and surpassed expectations. The crew performed remarkably and made no mistakes and Todd rejoined the field in good position for the run to the checkered.

Following the pit stop Todd was constantly in heavy traffic dealing with lapped cars as well as battling for position. A late caution mandated a green-white checkered and when all was said and done, Todd had an impressive 7th place finish in his first ARCA start.

The teams that finished ahead of Todd are more experienced with better funding than a rookie running in his first ARCA race. The Hansen Race Team is very proud of their accomplishment and will start preparing for the Kentucky race on May 13th.

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