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Qatar team confirms Hanson hire
Larry Hanson to stay with Miss Madison
Courier Sports Staff
Saturday, March 15, 2014 5:00 AM
Ellstrom Racing officially announced the hiring of Mike Hanson in a statement issued by the Unlimited hydroplane racing team on Friday.
Hanson had been with the Miss Madison Racing Team in some capacity since 1988 - first as driver and later as crew chief.
"The decision to leave the Madison team was obviously a very difficult one. I have been fortunate to be associated with a bunch of the greatest people a guy could ask for, on the Madison team and in the Madison community," Hanson said in the release. "I hope they understand that the opportunity to spend more time closer to home in Seattle and work with a team the quality of Ellstrom Racing is a once in lifetime opportunity. We had great times and won a lot of races and championships together. I will always be very proud of everything we accomplished and wish the Madison team nothing but the best in the future."
Hanson won 14 races and four National High Points Championships in his 10-year tenure with the Oberto/Miss Madison. All of those years were spent working with driver Steve David, who won six driver's titles over the same span.
David retired from driving in September and with Hanson's departure on Thursday, the team will have a decidedly different look this season. Larry Hanson, Mike's brother and the team's engine specialist, is staying in Madison with the Oberto/Miss Madison race team according to the team's Facebook page. The team hired Jimmy Shane, who won the national championship last year with the Graham Trucking, as driver on Tuesday.
Ellstrom's Spirit of Qatar team has been out of action since fire destroyed the team's boat in January. The team has been busy building a new boat and Hanson will spearhead completion of that project for the 2014 H1 Unlimited hydroplane race season.
"Mike Hanson's experience and skill set fill a definite need on our team," Team owner Erick Ellstrom said. "As we are dialing in a brand new Spirit of Qatar for the upcoming season, Mike's expertise with everything from hulls to hardware and systems will be invaluable.
"We obviously know Mike very well, having raced against him for many years and working alongside him and his team in the pit area," Ellstrom added. "The addition is very popular with our entire team, as Mike is one of the most-respected, best-liked people in the sport and we are happy to be able to give him the opportunity to work closer to his home in Seattle."
Hanson and his wife Tonya live in Bonney Lake, Wash., southeast of Seattle. They have a son, Trevor, and a daughter, Aubree. During his tenure with Miss Madison Racing, Hanson lived in Madison during the race season and during offseason maintenance projects but spent the rest of the year with his family in Washington.
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