Miss Madison Crew Chief Larry Hanson Ready For 2015
MADISON, IND- (May 8, 2015) -— "Miss Madison/Oberto" crew chief Larry Hanson says, "the team is prepared." He said they are "ready to defend the Gold Cup." He said the team is champing at the bit to defend their "perfect record being top qualifier at each race." He said driver Jimmy Shane "fits the team like a glove."
Now in his sophomore year as crew chief for this team, Hanson is like an expecting father rather the crew chief for one of the most successful teams post Miss Budweiser.
At this time last year, the team was in a state of chaos and was struggling. The team lost multiple national champion driver Steve David to retirement. In addition, Mike Hanson, long-time crew chief, former driver, town hero and Hanson's brother abandoned ship leaving the community owned hydroplane without a leader.
Mike Hanson left to join a struggling Spirit of Qatar team and returned to his home town near Seattle.
"He didn't leave us in the best of shape," Hanson said of his brother's sudden departure last off-season.
The boat had been taken apart. Hardware and systems were in boxes, Hanson said. "I didn't really didn't know that part of the boat because over the years I have been looking after the motors."
But with help of many steadfast local crew members like Pat Furnish, his son Tyler and part-time resident Jimmy Gilbert, together they got the boat back to racing condition.
"We worked over the left sponson a bit, primarily the recovery area," Hanson said. The local crew also reworked the belly pan area in the center section too.
"I even had to paint the bottom of the boat, and I'm not a painter," he said after a weekend of applying several coats of the gray graphite paint to the bottom of the boat.
Lucky for Hanson the boat is in good enough shape the team will not have to paint the top of the boat. "We have a few areas we will have to reshoot, but with the 'Larry Oberto' colors we can't touch up the paint." The neon bright red and green have substantial fading after each season and become very hard to match when touching up.
Now that the part-time resident of Madison, Ind. and the town's crew chief has his painting apprenticeship completed he has moved into the engine room. Engine work is his passion and it is what he has been doing with the Madison Racing Team for the last 20 some years.
"Not much to do here but work on the motor we used in Doha (Qatar)," he said standing in the cramped engine room.
With his role as crew chief, Hanson said it has been a bit of a transition from just being the "motor man" to just "the man." He had to manage all aspects of the race team including the team's set up and driver Jimmy Shane.
"Jimmy has worked out well," Hanson said. "He is knowledgeable about the boat, he is good with the fans and he understands the Madison team culture."
Shane is scheduled to come to the shop and give the team some help with their remaining projects including the reinstallation of the electrical systems that retired NASA guru Jimmy Gilbert is charged with.
Hanson said he is most excited about this upcoming season because Dave Villwock will not be on the race course, "using us like a target."
"This year we are going to have to pick up our game because so is everyone else," Hanson said.
"Mike (Hanson) will come back stronger after fine tuning the Spirit of Qatar and (Jean) Theoret will be more comfortable with the race boat and team. Ted Porter has his motors down at Competition Specialties getting reworked. And Mike Jones and his crew have a fast boat."
"We will be ready and waiting," he said when the other teams pull into the team's hometown race July 3-5.