#40 Race FiveRookie Joey Hanssen, driver of the Prime Champ Dodge Avenger in the NASCAR Canadian Tire series claimed his first top-ten finish a week ago and was ready for more success as the team rolled into Sun Valley Speedway for round number five.  However it was a difficult night for the Prime Champ Dodge team to begin the string of three consecutive events in western Canada.

As usual the afternoon practice session is partly to get Hanssen acclimated to the track he has never seen before and make sure the car is sound.  “This is the third different oval track we’ve raced at and none of them are alike so it takes a while to get used to it” said Hanssen.  “

When the 300 lap race began Hanssen proceeded cautiously at first looking to get into a rhythm.  “We did pretty good at the beginning we were a bit slower than I expected” said the Prime Champ Dodge driver.  “Unfortunately because it was such a long green flag run we got a couple of laps down” he added.

The Prime Champ Dodge team would also suffer from some bad racing luck.  “After we made our pit stop for fuel, we got a flat tire and had to make another pit stop and had to change tires really early in the race under green” said a disappointed Hanssen.

With new tires and adjustments the Prime Champ Dodge would take off.  “After the trouble we had a really amazing run” smiled the driver.  “We passed a lot of cars, just about everybody twice and the car felt fantastic until the other guys had their pit stops and got some tires”.

Trouble would however once again find the Prime Champ Dodge Avenger.  “We had another flat tire coming so I came in again”.  The handling on the Prime Champ Dodge became such an issue that the young driver from the Netherlands used common sense and get the car off the track before causing problems for others.  “I almost lost it in turn three.  I thought something broke; the chassis was on the ground so I stopped.  It’s a bit disappointing to finish fifteenth but we’ll get ready and I look forward first to Edmonton and then another oval at Saskatoon” said Hanssen.

The 2009 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series season continues its swing through the west.  Next stop is Saturday July 25th at the Edmonton Indy weekend.  This years schedule will consist of thirteen races on ovals, road courses and temporary street circuits from coast to coast in Canada.  All thirteen races will be seen on TSN.  By clicking the link http://www.nascar.com/news/features/mpd.poll.canadian.tire.series/index.html you can cast your vote for Joey Hanssen as the NASCAR Canadian Tire series most popular driver.

Photo: Joey Hanssen making his way to the track during practice at Sun Valley. Photo by Todd Lewis