Hanson on track to repeat as North Star Touring Series champ

With a pair of feature wins under his belt in 2013, Slayton’s Matt Hanson is looking to add to his wins.

He just hopes it doesn’t take as long as he had to wait between his first two.

“Slayton was my second win,” said Hanson of his race in the hobby stock class on Aug. 2. “I won the opening race for the North Star Series, I won that in Fairmont. I had a second-place finish the next night in Arlington, then I had bad luck.”

The reigning North Star Touring Series champion started the season strong, winning the opening race in Fairmont on May 10.

The North Star Touring Series takes Hanson to Redwood Falls, Arlington, Fairmont and Jackson, in addition to Slayton.

A streak of tough luck kept Hanson from the winner’s circle until last week when he claimed his second feature win of the year at his home track in Slayton.

“I’ve always raced Slayton,” Hanson said. “It’s only two blocks from my house, so you almost have to race there.”

Hanson got his first taste of racing from an uncle, Dan Wajer.

“I started out going to them, watching them in the stands,” Hanson said. “Then I ended up going out and helping him out on the farm, working on the car with him and going to the track. I did that for about nine years.”

After his uncle retired, the racing bug drew Hanson south, where he got his taste of NASCAR style racing.

“I went to Morrisville, North Carolina, to a NASCAR school,” Hanson said. “I ended up doing some pit stops for the Hooters Cup and some ARCA races, stuff like that.

“I ended up moving back home and started racing.”

It was then when he decided to get into racing himself, and the IMCA hobby stock class looked like a good fit.

“I came back, and a year-and-a-half later I started racing,” Hanson said. “(Hobby stock) is a little bit cheaper than most of the classes. There is a lot of competition and we are all pretty equal.

“On a given night, the top five cars are bumper to bumper. Anybody has a chance to win the race.”

This season, Hanson has four top-five finishes in the series and three top-five places in Slayton. There was one race he did not finish and two lower finishes on the year -19th and 11th – but he hasn’t let that deter him.

“The week before, my luck started getting a little better,” Hanson said. “I blew a lot of tires, I was on fire, it was lots of little problems.”

Despite his lack of luck, Hanson sits in first place in the North Star Touring Series points, but holds only a three-point margin over second place with one race to go.

“The way they do the points, I haven’t had very good finishes,” Hanson said. “The guy sitting in second has had a lot of good finishes.

“It’s going to be a close one.”