Defending FIA European Top Methanol Dragster Champion Fred Hanssen has his eyes set on a new challenge, as he has shipped his entire racing operation to the US in an effort to compete against some of the best racers in the world. While the Norwegian commercial fisherman may not hit the track this season, the wheels are in motion compete in NHRA competition in the US in 2013. The Fred Hanssen Enterprises team will be based out of Crew Chief Will Hanna’s home town of Deer Park, Texas, a suburb of Houston.
Making the decision not to stay and defend his championship was a tough one for Hanssen. His growing fishing business was requiring more of his attention, and racing in the US has always been his dream.
"It was very tough to not defend our championship,” said Hanssen. “I have been building this new fishing ship for a few years. Until I got everything working right on it, it is hard to send it out with other people running it. This has been hard work. I am close to having things to where I can take the time off to race again. That is why we made the decision to send the car to the US. Racing in the US against the best has always been my dream.
“I wanted to send the car over a couple of years ago,” Hanssen continued. “But Will told me we must win a European Championship first. Winning the Championship was not an easy thing to do, but we had a good season last year. I will go from being the big guy in Europe to the little guy in the US.”
Initial plans were to make his US debut in Las Vegas and Pomona at the end of this season, but Hanna and his wife are expecting their first child in late October, so his debut has been pushed back to 2013.
“The plan all along has been for him to come over and do Vegas and Pomona,” explained Hanna. “With our boy being due sometime in late October, I won’t be making the trip. I offered to try to tune over the phone and internet, but Fred said he wasn’t going to race without me at the track. Pomona is kind of on the outside of that window, but that’s a lot of work for one race. He would be going cold turkey into it after being out of the car for more than a year. Right now our focus is on gearing up for 2013.”
Despite being committed to racing in the US, sitting back and watching the record book being reset the first few events of the European season has Hanssen chomping at the bit.
“It is hard watching these guys run 5.20’s,” stated Hanssen. “We came very close, running 5.30 twice. I definitely miss the racing. We also miss the fans we have met over the past few years. Hopefully we get to see a few of them next year when we race in the US.”
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