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Curt Hansen

(Dike, IA) – “What am I doing here?” That was the first thought in Curt Hansen’s mind during his first-ever race on an Iowa dirt oval. You see, Hansen had drawn the No. 3 pill for the start. When the green flag flew, he followed the pole starter into turn one when mayhem unfolded before his eyes; the polesitter began rolling, the red flag flew, and Hansen had second thoughts about even beginning a racing career. Iowans, however, are happy he didn’t quit that day. Hansen went on to a distinguished racing career that ended too quickly. Had his eyes been better, there’s no doubt Hansen would have raced for several more years than he did. Often driving a car owned by his father, Curt Hansen won more than 300 feature races during his career. In 1978, Hansen raced four tracks regularly and won track championships at all four – Wednesday night in Oskaloosa, Friday in Cedar Rapids, Saturday at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, and Waterloo on Sundays. That year was the first of two years that Hansen was voted by the fans as Iowa’s best driver in the Iowa Racing Yearbook.  He had a number of wins in major events and won the Cornhusker-Hawkeye Challenge three straight years, 1975, 1976 and 1977. Among other major victories, Hansen won the Falstaff 100 in Cedar Rapids in both 1976 and 1978, he won the Pabst 100 at East Moline, Illinois, the Knoxville Late Model Nationals in 1977, the Boone Grand Nationals in both 1977 and 1980.  He also traveled some, winning the Canadian Dirt Track Championship in 1977 and the Dirt Track Classic at Deland, Florida in 1972. Hansen came out of retirement briefly in the 1990s and ran a few more late-model races in the NASCAR All-Star Series. He also ran for a time in a Modified, but eyesight eventually forced his retirement.