NASCAR BGN: Hansen Readies for Busch Series Debut at Gateway
14 October 1998MADISON, Ill.,- After finishing second to Gary St. Amant in this year's American Speed Association (ASA) point championship, after tallying 24 career wins and 17 career poles in ASA competition since 1984, after placing fifth on the ASA all-time career victory list - Scott Hansen is still a rookie.
At least he will be for this Saturday's Carquest 250 NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division race at Gateway International Raceway. While the 43-year-old Hansen carries an impressive racing resume, when he climbs behind the wheel of the Graybar/Bussmann Chevrolet co-owned by NASCAR Winston Cup drivers Kenny Wallace and Ken Schrader, Hansen will be making his Busch Series debut. To prove it, the blue bumper of his No. 12 Monte Carlo will sport a NASCAR-mandated yellow stripe, signifying Hansen's rookie status.
"I want to qualify in the top-20 and come out of the race with a top-10 finish," said Hansen while testing last week at Gateway. "We've got to run all day long. We can't learn anything if we're not there at the end."
While Hansen is indeed looking to learn from competing in his first Busch Series race, this will not be the first time that he has driven a Busch Series car. The Green Bay, Wis., native qualified a Busch Series car for Schrader in 1994 at The Milwaukee Mile. Schrader was busy racing in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway on Saturday of that year, but he planned to race on Sunday in the Havoline 250. Thanks to Hansen, Schrader was able to start the race from third on the grid, as that's where Hansen qualified Schrader's entry in his first stint behind the wheel of a 3,300-pound Busch Series car.
"We wanted to get Scott more comfortable in a Busch Series car, even though he qualified one for me once before," said Schrader. "He had a really good test last week at Gateway, making about 17 runs altogether. He got a lot of laps in the car, and whenever he hit the track he always went quicker than he had on his previous lap."
Lapping the 1.25-mile oval was quite different for Hansen when compared to racing around the short tracks that comprise the ASA circuit.
"It reminds me a little bit of the Lakeland, Fla., track," said Hansen in reference to the facility where he won a USAR Hooter's ProCup race in 1995. "It had really long straightaways and tight corners, but that was only a three-quarter mile track. Add another half-mile into the equation and you've got Gateway.
"The biggest thing is going to be getting that heavy Busch car to slow down when I get to the end of those really long straightaways. When I first came out of turn two and later turn four I was thinking, 'Where is the end of the straightaway?' Still, it's a pretty awesome place.
"I think we're going to focus on turns three and four. That appears to be the fast corner, and I've always been told that you pick the fastest part of the racetrack and work on it. Once you get through there well, you give up what you have to on the other corner, but eventually it'll all come around."
While Hansen will be racing next to the Mississippi River at Gateway, Wallace and Schrader will be racing next to the Atlantic Ocean at Daytona. The re-scheduling of the Pepsi 400 prevents the two Winston Cup drivers from witnessing Hansen's first Busch Series race.
"It's going to be nerve-wracking because there's enough pressure on us to run well at Daytona," said Wallace. "I've got a lot invested in this Busch race and I've got a lot of pride on the line. Believe me, I've got a cell phone and I'm going to wear it out calling the guys at Gateway."
"I go through this every weekend," said Schrader. "I own Scott's ASA car and I have a truck team with Mike Wallace as the driver. A lot of times I've got two teams in two different locations. Scott and the crew have raced together long enough, and I'm confident they'll put on a good show for the folks around St. Louis."
Graybar is the nation's largest independent distributor of electrical and comm/data products with annual sales in the range of $3 billion. Based in St. Louis, there are approximately 260 Graybar locations across the country and the number of dedicated employees exceeds 7,000.
With headquarters in St. Louis, Cooper Bussmann, the first name in circuit protection solutions, manufactures and markets electrical and circuit protection devices for use in residential, commercial and industrial applications, and electronic technology markets. Cooper Bussmann has manufacturing facilities in six domestic and 10 international locations, with approximately 4,300 team members worldwide. For additional information visit www.bussmann.com.