HIRED BY RIVAL: Mike Hanson won 14 races, four National High Points Championships and six driver’s titles with  Steve David in nine years as Miss Madison crew chief. (Courier file photo by David Campbell)
HIRED BY RIVAL: Mike Hanson won 14 races, four National High Points Championships and six driver’s titles with Steve David in nine years as Miss Madison crew chief. (Courier file photo by David Campbell)
Mike Hanson, the longtime crew chief for the Oberto/Miss Madison, has resigned to take the same position for rival Ellstrom Racing's Spirit of Qatar.

Hanson, who has been with the Miss Madison team in some capacity since 1988, apparently announced his resignation Thursday.

Neither Hanson nor team manager Charlie Grooms were available for comment but Miss Madison Racing confirmed the story on its Facebook page late Thursday.

"Rumors are true, Mike Hanson has left the Miss Madison Racing team," the post said. "We wish Mike and his family well with his future endeavors and thank him for his years of employment."

The news was somewhat of a surprise and came just two days after the team officially announced Jimmy Shane as its driver. Shane cited the chance to work with Hanson as one of the reasons he wanted the job.

"I think that there is no boat on the circuit that it is set up better than the Oberto and that's because of Mike," Shane said. "Mike Hanson and I have already been communicating very well and starting to plan out some small changes, some things that we think are going to be beneficial for the team as a whole. It's exciting looking forward."

Hanson was even quoted in the Miss Madison's official press release on Shane's hiring.

"We are very excited to have Jimmy joining the team and are looking forward to having a young talented driver who has the potential to stick around for a long time, such as Steve (David) and I have done," Hanson was quoted in a statement released by the teams.

Hanson was a boat builder and Unlimited pilot in the Seattle area when he was hired as the 15th driver in Miss Madison history in 1988. He also served as hull specialist and oversaw the boat's conversion from piston-power to turbine in 1991.

Hanson drove the Miss Madison for 11 seasons and won one race, at San Diego in 1993 when he became the first - and so far only - driver to win a race from the trailer position. He left after the 1998 season when the team was put up for sale due to financial problems related to a lack of a national sponsor.

He joined the Jones Racing Team in 1999 and in five seasons won two races, including the APBA Gold Cup in 2001. When that team closed shop after the 2004 season, Hanson rejoined the Miss Madison team as crew chief.

In Hanson's nine years as crew chief the Miss Madison enjoyed its greatest success. The team won 14 races and four National High Points Championships. Driver Steve David won six driver's titles over the same span.

It is unclear what direction Miss Madison will take. The boat was currently undergoing off-season work with Hanson in charge of the operation.

Ellstrom Racing has been building a new boat ever since its last hull was destroyed in an accident in Doha, Qatar, last January. Reports out of Seattle say that construction of that the new boat is behind schedule.