116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
VINTON — There’s a good chance you know Bobby Hansen, even though he isn’t that Bobby Hansen.
Although he currently works for Collins Aerospace and DJ’s weddings on weekends he’s not racing, you may remember this Hansen from his stop at 98.1 KHAK.
“People ask me all the time if I’m him,” said the 56-year-old Hansen of the 60-year-old former Hawkeye basketball star who played nine seasons in the NBA.
“I sure hope somebody comes up to that Bobby Hansen and asks, ‘are you the Bobby Hansen that races cars?’”
Bobby’s father Curt won several championships at Hawkeye Downs and was inducted into the Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame both in Iowa and nationally.
When Hansen’s wife Lisa says it’s, “in his blood,” she’s not exaggerating.
“I was raised at the racetrack,” Hansen said. “When dad retired in the spring of 1982, my senior year, it’s like, ‘What are we going to do this summer? Sit home? What?”
That’s when the Dike native decided to save up money from his part-time job and bought a bomber car to race at Hawkeye Downs starting in 1985.
“First night I got third and was hooked,” Hansen said. “The second week, I won.”
Although Hansen knew he would never live in his famous father’s footsteps, he still loved driving.
“He is a fantastic driver and while I’m a good driver, I’m not that level,” Hansen said. “Nowadays, it takes so much money.”
That’s why Hansen has spent the last six seasons saving for a fresh ride he built for the 2021 season and he can already feel the difference.
“Last year’s car, that was 15 years old,” Hansen said. “Now that I got the car to work, if we get this thing to come off a corner, look out boys.”
Working on his crew to help him catch up to the field is a Hansen family affair with father Curt, uncle Craig, cousin Kyle and friends Kent and Kim Cromer filling his pit with love and support each week.
With his 57th birthday just over a month away, Hansen still is chasing that feeling he found for the first time back in the 1980s.
“It’s the passion inside of me,” Hansen said. “It’s the rush you get when you know what you’re doing with the racecar and you’re faster than everybody else.”
Even when he isn’t the fastest, Hansen makes sure he can provide a positive experience for race fans.
“I try to be the friendliest person because when I was a little kid I knew all of the drivers and some weren’t friendly,” Hansen said. “My thoughts are to be the nicest guy to everyone out there whether I’m racing against them or just hanging out at the trailer talking to them. Especially little kids, because that’s who loves to come out here and get hooked on great racing.”
Hansen spends time at different tracks around the area, including Independence and Benton County.
Benton County Speedway welcomes drivers into the pits at 4 p.m. Sunday with the grandstands open at 4:30 and racing scheduled for 6.