Joey HanssenDriver of the Prime Champ Dodge Joey Hanssen has experienced the highs and lows of being a rookie driver in the NASCAR Canadian Tire series.  Round number seven at Auto Clearing Speedway in Saskatoon would be one of the tougher nights for the eighteen year old driver.

During practice Hanssen set about learning another brand new race track and for the first time experienced an oval with high banking which is very different from earlier events.  “It’s tough going to a new track every week but that’s part of the learning process” said the driver.  “I was driving it too soft into the corners at first instead of attacking the way you should on a track like this”.

Hanssen would start the Prime Champ Dodge from the fifteenth position in the 250 lap feature event and immediately look to gain positions  “The start was really good” said Hanssen.  “We climbed up into the top-ten I think and I was running really good, I was faster than the guys around me so I was climbing up” he added.

Not afraid to mix it up with stock car veterans Hanssen continue to nose the Prime Champ Dodge forward and is often the case on a one third mile oval track there was some contact with another competitor.

“It’s too bad, we got a little bump from the #69 car and bent the toe and cut the right front tire, when the tire blew I hit the wall a bit so I had to pit” said the disappointed Prime Champ Dodge pilot.

The Prime Champ team quickly made the change and sent Hanssen back into the battle however the problems for the #40 car were more severe.  After only a few more laps the right front tire was down again forcing Hanssen once again to pit lane.  “Turns out when we bent the toe that the tire was rubbing on sway bar” said the driver.

Once again the Prime Champ Dodge team changed tires and also made quick repairs to prevent the tire from blowing but left the driver with a difficult car to drive.  “The guys fixed the problem and the car was tough to drive.  I could handle it” said the driver “but it wasn’t ideal” he concluded.

Hanssen would bring the Prime Champ Dodge home nineteenth but was disappointed with how events played out.  “I could still pass some cars, if we hadn’t gone down a couple laps earlier we could have been a top-ten car for sure” said the driver.

The 2009 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series returns to Ontario for round number eight on Saturday August 8th as they challenge the Mosport Oval track that night.  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 here you can cast your vote for Joey Hanssen as the NASCAR Canadian Tire series most popular driver.

Photo by Todd Lewis