Join us on the latest episode of “Owner’s Pride Podcast” as we dive into the adrenaline-fueled world of Ava Hanssen, a 13-year-old racing sensation from Elkhorn, Wisconsin. With a passion ignited at the tender age of 4, Ava has swiftly ascended the ranks in motorsports, showcasing her skills in various classes, most recently in the 2023/2024 Formula 1600s. In this episode, Ava shares her remarkable journey, including her impressive achievements like winning the 2022 Route 66 Sprint Series in both Briggs 206 Junior and KA 100 Junior categories, and becoming the North American Champion in Briggs 206 Junior. As a young female racer making waves in a predominantly male sport, Ava gives us her unique perspective on women in motorsports, sportsmanship, and the mental fortitude required in high-stakes racing scenarios, including handling nerve-wracking moments like being upside-down in a flipping racer! Plus, get insider insights into the strategic thinking behind racing, the role of sponsors in a racer’s journey, and the importance of nurturing dreams toward the pinnacle of motorsports – Formula 1. This episode also explores her partnership with racing world marketing legend Ralph Hansen Jr., CEO of Pegasus Marketing, underscoring the importance of strategic collaborations in advancing a racing career. Don’t miss Ava’s inspiring story, filled with determination, skill, and a deep love for racing. For more on Ava’s journey and achievements, visit Ava Hanssen Racing.
The Importance of Drafting in Racing
[0:00] So drafting has been a part of my life forever. It’s in karting.
I think drafting is in every single car sport.
But in karting, drafting is huge. But in race cars, it’s even bigger because once you’re behind somebody, the air gets cut and then there’s just a perfect gap for you to catch right up to them.
It can help you too, because if you’re not catching them, then you know that you have to have more straightaway speed.
Drafting is just huge in racing. seen. Welcome to the Owner’s Pride podcast.
I’m your host, Dan Williams, Dan E. Williams.
And yes, the E stands for EcoWash, the drop-tolerant, eco-friendly way to wash your car with just a little bit of water.
Use code EcoWashTheWorld at checkout on OwnersPride.com. You’re going to get 10% off your order because we care. It is true.
And if you’re picking up what we’re putting down here on Owner’s Pride podcast, please do like and subscribe. It means the world to us. It really, really, really does.
Today, I have a special guest, Ms. Ava Hansen, 13-year-old race car driver.
Introduction and Connecting with Up-and-Coming Racers
[1:01] Crazy, crazy. These up-and-coming racers that we are getting connected with, it’s so cool to come on here and talk about their story and how they’re getting into the world of motorsports.
We get them when they’re young like this, and then I make them promise when they get really famous down the road that they got to come back and give me another interview.
Ava, how are you doing today? I’m doing great.
All right, all right. And you’re up there in chilly Wisconsin, yeah?
Oh, yeah, cold, always cold. We’re kind of in your off season right now?
Yeah, I don’t race until March.
Now, they have the tracks are all kind of closed down in the wintertime, yeah?
Yeah. When I was doing an interview, it was either with Paul Page or Alunser Jr., They were talking about racing or testing cars on the track in the wintertime with snow piled up. Do you know anything about this?
I’ve never heard about that. I guess they said they couldn’t even see the cars, but the cars were on the track doing testing in snow.
[2:04] Yeah, I’ve heard of ice racing, but I’ve never heard of snow racing.
And we’re talking Indy cars here. I’m not talking about like snowmobiles or something crazy.
I have to do a little digging and get this story and I’m going to get it to you because it was pretty darn cool. Pretty darn cool. Yeah, I’ve never heard of that.
So as we’re here on the Owner’s Pride podcast, we are a car detailing and chemical supply company.
So I kind of like to start out all of these the same. And I have a little twist on this for you. But so I like to say, let’s jump in the Wayback Machine.
That may or may not make any sense to you, but it does to me.
And we’re going to go back.
And I want you to tell me the very first memory you ever have of washing, detailing, cleaning, doing anything like that to a car.
The Process of Cleaning a Race Car
[2:52] Probably around like six for fun to like my mom’s car or something with like a hose and soap and stuff but I’ve never really done any detailing or anything like that yeah that’s okay everybody’s got that first memory though how how do you take care of the race car like is there some kind of a regiment that that goes into that and can you tell me a little bit about that process process?
So the race car is, it’s very, it’s a difficult process to clean and detail it because there’s all the little crevices and stuff, but it’s easy on the, like the front of the car, because all you have to do is take like a microfiber cloth and just spray some chemicals on it and just wipe it.
But honestly, I think it’s a pretty like difficult process to do, but But otherwise, it’s pretty easy for the front.
Well, who’s taking care of all that for you? Is that part of your responsibility of the car?
Do you get out there and like, because I have a hot rod and I can go out in the garage and just look at it, even if I’m not driving it.
And I’m just like, oh, I just got to polish it just a little bit.
But do you do any of that stuff to the car? Or is it more just like a tool for you?
[4:02] It’s more of a tool for me. Normally, my dad does all the cleaning and stuff.
But if we’re on a team and stuff normally they have a person like dedicated to that but normally i don’t do much of the cleaning on the car yeah you’re like the singer in the band you don’t have to carry in the amps and and all of that stuff you just show up and do the singing yeah all right that’s pretty cool pretty cool so you being 13 years old you got into racing really early on um, what tell me tell me how you got into racing at such a young age and kind of give me that first story of how this started so I was about four years old and my dad took me to a go-kart track in Broadhead Sugar River in Wisconsin and I was like oh that looks super fun I like I would really like to try that so my dad he’s like, we’ll put you in a car and we’ll try it and I ended up absolutely loving it and I was just I wanted to carry on so I just continued, Do you literally remember being four years old?
Because maybe it’s just because they’ve passed a little bit for me, but I have very small flashes of memories from that time.
But what do you remember from that first time being at the track?
And was it the first race track ever, or was it the first go-kart?
[5:20] I would say it was the first go-kart, but I remember small little flashes, too, of like me winning here and there and carrying the checkered flag around the track when I was really little, barely being able to hold on to the checkered flag.
But I don’t remember much of being four. I just remember that first story of getting into a go-kart and just absolutely loving it.
Okay. Now let’s talk about when you do start to remember a little bit as you started to actually get a couple more years under your belt and a little bit of practice and talk about that that working up to your very first race?
Transitioning to a new track for more challenges
[5:55] So we, at Sugar River, once I started winning a lot of the races and we’re like, this is, this is getting a little too easy.
I’m not really learning much from it. I decided to move to Dallas, Wisconsin and make that my home track overall.
So we stayed there for a while and I was building up, building up, winning a couple here and there, but we just, I started getting a little bit more wins under the belt and I just wanted to go to a different track and that we made that our home track. And yeah.
[6:23] So how about like your your team, your colors and your numbers and stuff?
How did that come to be? Was that a choice of yours? Or was that pops just through your number on there for you? Or how’d that work out?
Well, the number 26 was just a totally random number that I just said, I want 26.
But yeah, that was just a totally random number. My original color was magenta, kind of a pink color.
But I kind of got, you know, that was I had a mohawk and the mohawk was magenta.
And I’ve had a mohawk for longer than I can remember.
But pink was like my original color. And that was like, Ava’s color.
That’s what people know me as like the pink, magenta, mohawk girl.
What and what is that now? And do you like have everything you know, part of this whole racing and what you’re doing is building a brand that’s a packageable brand, not only to be a great driver, but something that’s marketable for people that are going to want to work with you.
How are you going about putting that brand together as you’re you’re coming into it as you’re maturing and growing?
[7:25] Well, we have a very, very, very, very great brand going right now.
We have Ralph Hansen, who’s our marketing manager right now, who’s getting my name out to a bunch of people across the US because he’s gotten great connections with people.
But right now, we’ve left Ralph Hansen to have all the marketing stuff because he’s a great person. He knows a lot of people.
So we left that to him. He’s a great guy.
Yeah. Ralph is one of my fraternity brothers. others. He is a super sweet dude.
And you know how that is huge.
Like it is akin to you as a younger racer hooking up with somebody like Ralph, who has got so many connections and so much experience.
He was one of the main people who he introduced the Kmart model and started really influencing putting marketing onto race cars.
Yeah, I was really surprised when I talked with another young racer, Jason Pribble, that it is actually the race car driver who is the person that brings all of the money to the teams.
I really thought this was completely the other way around.
So part of building that brand out is making something that people want to invest in.
How do you think that plays on a scale of how much is being just a great driver and how much which is having a brand that’s something that’s kind of marketable and pushable to the people that are paying for it.
The importance of both driving skills and a marketable brand
[8:54] Yeah, I totally agree with him. Usually it’s the drivers bringing money to the team all the time. It’s really a draining sport.
And you could be a great driver and just can’t find a team because it’s so expensive.
But you could be a not so experienced driver and find a great team because you have so much money.
But if you have a very good brand and put that out to people and you get all that money, you can do whatever you want.
[9:16] Now, one of the things that I noticed about you, because you’re on my radar now on social media, But I see a lot of stuff popping up for you, short videos and pictures and everything.
Is Ralph’s team handling all of that for you or are you making that content?
I usually make all the videos and stuff. Ralph puts it out to a bunch of people and I’m so thankful for that.
But normally I make all those short reels and all those short videos and stuff.
[9:46] Racing, this is men and women on the same track. There’s not a women’s league for racing and a men’s league for racing.
How many, and detailing of automobiles is kind of the same way.
Like it’s very much a male-dominated profession, as is racing.
How does it feel being a woman coming into a male-dominated sport like this and really doing well at it?
[10:12] It can either hurt you or it could help you. You could either be very loved by the community.
It just all depends. Normally, I don’t get any help on the track because I’m a female.
But sometimes people do want to work with me because I’m a female.
It’s very confusing. It can either help you or hurt you.
And maybe this is just social media driven, but I see a lot more female racers as of late, like really just coming across my social media feed.
Increasing representation of women in the racing world
[10:37] Has there been a turn in the past few years where women are really more stepping into this?
[10:44] I think 100% there’s been a lot more women coming into the sport than I would have expected but I think there’s a lot of younger younger girls coming into karting to make their way up the ladder and there’s a lot of like older women coming into the sport which is very it’s it’s nice actually because I have more people I could look up to now but yeah there’s just a lot more waves of females coming into the sport yeah and kind of explain like a lot of the people who listen to to this podcast, we have people from the race world and we have people who are just auto enthusiasts and then we have a lot of people who own small businesses detailing cars, but it’s all auto related.
But explain a little bit kind of those steps that you take as a young driver, moving your way up through CART.
Explain as coming into this as a four-year-old driver and starting obviously at the bottom, what are those steps?
And just kind of paint a picture of how many levels there are that you have to take until you get to the top.
[11:42] So if we want to go into depth in carding, there’s so many classes in carding, but I’m going to be more broad and I’m going to go, it’s normally you start at carding and then you go to F 1600, you can go to USF and then you can go to F4, F3, F2, and then F1.
But if you want to throw FE somewhere in there, there’s a lot of Fs, but yeah, there’s a lot of steps to make it to the big leagues.
And what are the kind of the parameters or what what is it that level that you hit where you go to the next step is it an age thing or is it a skill or a win thing or how do you how do you keep going up that ladder normally it’s an age thing because right now i would really love to move up to a formula 4 but since i’m only 13 i have to wait till i’m 14 to move up but normally you have to be a certain age to move up to the next level.
Age restrictions for moving up to higher levels
[12:33] So yeah, it’s not much of a skill thing.
Gotcha, gotcha. Well, how fast are the cars going that you drive right now?
The car that I drove right now is about 135 miles per hour on a straightaway.
But yeah. And how high off the ground are you sitting?
[12:53] I want to say about like six or seven inches, maybe.
Maybe when I when I saw the Indy 500 cars up close and realize how literally they’re sitting on the ground, you know, a couple inches and you’re going that darn fast.
How is it because you started at such an early age?
It just feels natural and it’s no worries for you or second nature.
Or how do you feel when you’re going that fast?
Well, in karting, a go-kart seat is about maybe an inch, inch and a half away from the ground.
So once I made it up to like KA 100 juniors going 60 miles an hour that close to the ground, I think I just got pretty used to it.
But I’ve been doing it for nine years sitting that close to the ground.
So I think it’s just natural to me now.
So when, it’s kind of funny, but as you, so as you’re a kid and you’re growing and growing really fast, do you, were you able to like buy one set of race gear and shoes and everything?
Or did you have to change those throughout the season because you were growing too darn fast for it?
It’s a funny story. My dad always complained. He was like, I have to keep buying you new suits, new helmets, new shoes. It was insane.
I think we have about 15 overall suits if we put them all together because I had to buy so many different new pairs of gear all the time.
[14:15] That’s really funny. That’s really funny. Okay. OK, so as we were talking about
Inspirations from Haley Deegan and Danica Patrick
[14:20] women in racing, who are some of the women drivers that are that you kind of look up to or hope to emulate?
I would probably say Haley Deegan or Danica Patrick are the female drivers I would probably look up to the most.
But yeah, probably those two drivers.
But I probably look up to Haley Deegan a little bit more. When I was a little kid, I was like, I want to grow up to be like Danica Patrick.
But I think I just kind of like grew out of her and more into like Haley Deegan.
In okay so do you understand that like the mechanics of the car and do you help out in any of that part of stuff do you get out there and do some wrenching too i try as much as i can sometimes it’ll be like no i don’t need help it’s fine go relax or something but i always want to get a little bit invested into the car mechanics and stuff so if i do have to solo ride one time i know exactly what to do how to fix it etc but i always try to get a little bit help here and there.
[15:15] Now with these these cars going so fast and are do at the level that you’re at right now do you experience like the drafting and and some of those things with the cars and the dynamics the aerodynamics of the cars and if so tie into that a little bit and tell me how it feels driving one of the cars and how something that maybe you feel will make you make an adjustment and how you you address that?
So drafting has been a part of my life forever. It’s in carding.
I think drafting’s in every single car sport, but in carding, it’s drafting is huge, but in race cars, it’s even bigger because once you’re behind somebody, the air gets cut and then there’s just a perfect gap for you to catch right up to them.
Teaming Up: Cahill Motorsports and Racing Dynamics
[15:59] It can help you too, because if you’re not catching them, then you know that you have to have more straightaway speed, but drafting is definitely huge and it feels I don’t think it feels like there’s wind hitting your face because there shouldn’t be but drafting is just huge in racing and so on your on a team with tell me a little bit about the team that you’re on right now so for 2024 I’ll be teamed with Cahill Motorsports they’re a great driving development team and we just wanted to choose them because they have a bunch of experience under the belt and they’re just a great team to be with.
[16:35] And how many people can make up a team for a race car series like that?
I would say the bare minimum would probably be about eight or nine, but I think Cahill has about 12 or 13 people under their tent, maybe at a time for mechanics and data people.
And now do you guys all hang out together as a team, even though you’re sort of racing against each other?
I mean yeah sometimes we’ll go like out for dinner and stuff but i think we’re all friends under that tent so nothing changes if we have a bad day or even if we have a good day i i came from playing like team sports where people would be on the same team and then i wrestled in high school which was on a team but it’s an individual also um how how does it feel to have the the the people that are on your team actually be competing against you?
Because it seems like even though everybody’s like, hey, that’s all nice and dandy, there might be some kind of animosity if somebody gets, you know, their butt handed to them, so to speak.
[17:44] Yeah, so I definitely think racing is just, even if you’re on a team, you’re still going to be very much competitive towards your teammates.
But I think even having a teammate, you have to go against them just like any other driver.
But you have to make sure that you treat them and respect them as your teammate and not, you know, just like push them out of the way and say, I’m passing you goodbye. Like you have to you have to actually help them and stuff.
Do you have a kind of a ritual that you do? And tell me a little bit about that that you do before your races.
I don’t really I don’t really do much before the races.
Maybe I like sit by myself for like a couple minutes or so. But when I get into the car is when I like to have not much commotion or voices around me, especially when I get on the grid.
I’m like, can I just have a couple minutes to myself just to like reflect to myself on what I’m going to do this race, what I’m going to do this practice.
But I don’t really have much that I do before the race.
How long does it take you once you get into that car and buckle in and buckle yourself in that you just start to hit the zone?
And when you’re driving, does it do you just go kind of deep into the zone?
So it takes me about maybe five minutes to get kind of in the zone, like, okay, we’re going out, we’re going to drive.
On the track, it’s like, it’s totally different. I don’t know the feel, but it’s just, I let all the background thoughts go away and I let all the racing thoughts come in and I just drive.
A Perfect Race Day Scenario
[19:13] If you were to look at a day at the racetrack, what would be, and you can extrapolate a longer answer on this one, but tell me from the time you wake up in the morning until you go to bed at night on race day, what a perfect race day scenario would be?
Oh, a perfect race day scenario. I would probably say wake up around 7 a.m., get into the car, maybe get two warm-up sessions. sessions, first place in those warmup sessions, that puts me into a good state.
And then qualifying session in like the mid-afternoon-ish, and then probably qualify pull on that.
I think every driver’s perfect scenario would be get first all the time.
But qualifying, get pull, and then I would probably have a pre-final on the same day.
I don’t really like when series do like a pre-final on one day and then the final the next day, because it kind of throws me off and throws me out of the the zone so i like the pre-final maybe like mid-afternoon ish obviously get first in that because every driver loves winning and then in the final i would probably have that like late afternoon early evening ish get into the car and then have about like 20 25 laps and just drive.
[20:26] Um okay now what we just said makes me a little bit more curious so when you go to a day of racing racing, it’s not one race like the Indy 500 or Grand Prix or something.
It’s like a series of races where people are eliminated down to the final race.
Some races, there’s LCQs, which is last chance qualifiers.
If there’s over a certain amount of cars, they make them go into a last chance qualifier and the top three or the top four drivers move on to the final.
So it just all all depends on how many drivers there are.
[21:00] I think it’s so darn cool that you guys are driving race cars at, you know, I, it was a big deal for me when I was 13, if I could drive the riding lawnmower, my dad probably was apprehensive to even let me do that.
Perhaps I was a little more of a wingnut. I just think it is so darn cool that you guys get to do this.
What do you think it is that sets you apart from other drivers out there?
I think it’s definitely the experience maybe.
The different drivers, I could be less experienced than the top five drivers, or I could be a rookie and they could have five years over me.
But normally in cars, you sometimes get thrown into a group with 50-year-olds or 60-year-olds or 20-year-olds, and I’m just a 13-year-old driving.
And honestly, I don’t mind it. I don’t even know about their age much until I get told that.
But it’s just a mix of a bunch of different experience and age levels.
[22:02] When I was with my old company, we were one of the lead sponsors for the Blancpain
Utilizing Data Analytics in Racing
[22:06] World Challenge series, and we worked with a couple of the teams.
So I got to go down and stand right on the pit wall while the races were going on, and they have these great big carts with all kinds of electronics in them.
How do you guys use your the analytic side of the world to measure and and make adjustments to the car and how do you as the driver work in tandem looking at those analytics um for the race car, so we have a data app and we have the micron on the steering wheel that helps a lot so we go out we run our session and we come back in and then we connect the micron on the steering wheel to a computer and it gives us all the data of that session and it’s very very helpful to know of if your rpms are too low or too high if your temperature is too low or too high but i think the data part of racing is definitely very helpful for racing in general now if you can’t measure it then you just don’t know right can you imagine back in the world of like not even that long ago go.
They didn’t even have headphones on to talk to the race car drivers.
They just had to read a sign as they were going around the track.
Can you imagine trying to race under those circumstances?
[23:23] I could not because I’ve grown up into the newer world where we have all these little headphones and stuff to get told what to do.
But I could not picture myself having to read a sign every time I go across the finish line in the start.
Racing as the Only Car Enthusiast in School
[23:39] Do you have, okay, so you’re in school, right? You’re in middle school, high school? Middle school.
Do they have like a team for race cars in high school where you’re from?
Or do you have other friends that are in your school that are also racers?
I have one other friend in my middle school that is a go-kart racer right now.
But otherwise, I’m the only person in my school that’s like associated with cars.
How do your friends all, you know, view that? Most people are playing volleyball or basketball or something like that.
And you’re, you know, off doing this other, like, really kind of much more cool thing.
But how do your friends and all those people look at you for being a race car driver?
I think they mostly like or not agreeing with the fact that I miss so much school.
But I think they really think that my sport is cool and I appreciate them.
I’m glad that I have such supporting friends. But I think they look at the fact that I miss so much school to go to like Florida or California for these races.
And that’s a great point in its own right. How do you handle missing school and stuff when you are traveling for racing?
[24:51] Well, I get all my homework and stuff. And on the way to the races, I do it.
In between races, I do it. Lunch break in the races, I do it.
On the way back, I’ll do it.
So I always make sure I have my homework all done when I get back.
So, I always make sure I’m on top of things.
What would you tell other people who want to jump into racing as children and.
[25:17] As a little bit of advice. I would say do not let the sport tear you down.
There’s going to be a lot of bumps and throw-offs that are going to throw you off all the time.
But if you just keep your head forward, keep driving, it’ll all go away and you’ll get a bunch of good moments in your life.
Since you mentioned the bumps and things that are going to throw you off, give us a couple stories about things that you ran into that were a little bit of a struggle that you had to overcome in your years so far. are?
I would say the early stages of karting, maybe the mid stages of karting, being a female was definitely the biggest struggle for me because I didn’t have a bunch of people to work with me on the track. They didn’t want to work with me because I was a female.
So I think that was the biggest problem for me was being a female.
Do you think that over time, as we keep moving forward, that a lot more women will come into racing and that eventually it’ll kind of turn into to equal men and women both?
I’m hoping for that most definitely. If we have more women in the sport, the men will be like, oh, look, we can start working with them.
But I would say if more women come into the sport, that would be great.
Handling Pressure and Discrimination in a Male-Dominated Sport
[26:26] And so it must be a lot of pressure on you for being, you know, again, in a male-dominated sport.
How do you handle that pressure every time that you go out there, if you’re feeling it? And do you feel discriminated against?
Is it very over the top or is it something that’s kind of very subtle and you just know it’s happening?
I think I definitely have issues, especially if I spin out on accident.
Sometimes it’s like, oh, she spun out because she was a female.
But I think I definitely handle the stress by putting myself as if I was a guy and if I’m just a normal person in this sport, I’m like everybody else.
Else but I think definitely I feel a little bit like the pressure during a race because if I spin out then it’s all the pressure is on me and all the stress is on me.
[27:15] What do you do for fun on your time off when you’re not in school and you’re not racing?
I like playing instruments. I like playing the alto sax.
I definitely, I love cooking and baking. I cook dinner almost every night. I love making dinner.
I like painting. I, yeah, I pretty much, I like hanging out with friends too.
Cool, cool. So when did you start playing the saxophone and what kind of music do you like to play?
I started playing the saxophone in sixth grade, so I was around like 11 years old.
I like playing like jazz music or upbeat music.
That’s a fun and creative outlet. You are an amazing, amazing young woman.
Okay. Thank you. This happens to everybody. It’s inevitable.
But everybody gets into an accident sometimes.
Tell me a little bit about maybe the first accident that you experienced and kind of what went through your head at that time.
[28:12] So every driver spins out. There’s not, I don’t think there’s one driver that hasn’t spun out in their career, but I’d say the first incident I probably had is when I flipped when I was a kid cart.
So I was around maybe five or six years old.
I flipped on the concrete, but through my mind, it was just get back up and get back driving, get back on the horse, keep riding.
But I would say a lot of drivers definitely spin out and I’m one of them.
I spin out sometimes here and there, but I flipped in kick cards and I flipped a lot more times, but just get back on the horse and keep riding.
Well, I know that it happens in the blink of an eye, but what goes through your mind when you’re upside down in a race?
Mental State When Upside Down in a Race
[28:58] I think absolutely nothing. It’s just, it all goes blank and it’s just get up safely.
I normally have nothing go through my mind. It’s just in the air and then on the ground. I don’t really have much in my mind.
Excitement and Concerns about Driving on Regular Roads
[29:11] Are you excited to start driving on the regular road with the crazy people that are on the regular road who are much more untrained than the race car drivers that you’re used to driving with?
[29:22] I’m definitely excited to get my driver’s license. I just mostly because I want to transport myself place to place by myself, but I’m definitely a little bit worried about the other drivers on the road.
Are we feeling any certain kind of car that might be on it? And who knows, because we still got three years until that even happens.
But what are you feeling if you had to grab a car right now?
What’s your card that you would have for the road?
This is gonna sound very specific, but a 2017 Camaro with a spoiler for sure.
Excellent. And what color? I want it to be either a matte black or a chrome, like a silver or a rainbow chrome.
So when it comes to racing, what is the most important aspect of racing to you?
The most important aspect of racing for me is the memories you make along the way.
I think I’ve definitely had the most amount of memories that are lodged in my brain throughout my entire career of just hanging out with friends, hanging out with family, all the wins, even all the losses.
It’s just the memories you make along the way.
So how about for like your whole family aspects? When you go to the races, does your whole family come out to watch you and support you?
Yeah, my mom and dad come to watch me all the time. Sometimes even my aunt, sometimes my nana.
My brother comes out to watch me sometimes. It’s just all depends on the day.
But my mom and dad follow me around everywhere.
[30:49] Do you remember the very first win that you had?
And can you talk a little bit about the win that you had and the feeling that you got standing up on the podium for the very first one?
I think, I don’t remember much of it, but it was definitely when I first started go-karting when I was four.
I just remember carrying, holding the checkered flag in my go-kart and going around the track. I think I was like the little, the most excited little girl you could ever see.
As you grow and continue to race, Do you think that this is going to be what you’re going to do long term in your life?
Racing as a Long-Term Career Goal
[31:23] 100%. I wish to pursue this as long as I can. I love the career that I’m in right now. But yeah, I’m hoping that I continue this path.
So as you look at it kind of holistically, it’s not just the driver. It’s an entire team.
Do any of the other aspects, and if so, let me know which ones, but do any of the other aspects of racing pique your interest also?
[31:48] Um, I would say like, maybe if I’m not a racer, a mechanic or a mechanic for the race cars, something around those lines.
And as far as getting the sponsors and the people that you’ve worked with so far, how have those come to you?
And tell me a little bit about who they are. They probably would like that.
My sponsors, I’ve, I totally appreciate them 100%.
I’m very fortunate to have them. GTS Performance and Fitness Chiropractic Center of Elkhorn Franklin Motorsports and One Power Sports I’m 100% grateful for them and helping me go along the path easier for me but I’m fortunate just to have those sponsors.
Fitness Regimen for Grueling Races
[32:33] You know, you mentioned fitness. That’s a pretty darn grueling thing, especially if it’s hot outside and you’re on a race that’s, you know, then the higher up you get, the longer those races are going to be, I assume.
What do you do for an exercise regimen to keep yourself in tip-top shape for racing?
Yeah, so I work out on the week. I do a bunch of cardio, obviously a bunch of arm, upper body strength workouts, but I have a trainer at GTS Performance and Fitness.
He does all the cardio for me, does all the body workouts and stuff.
So I’m grateful I have him too.
So exciting. So when does your next season start?
And tell me a little bit about what you’re looking at for this season before you move up to the next level next year. year?
So 2024, I’ll start racing around March in the S1600 with Cahill Motorsports.
In the late 2024 season, I’m hoping to test the Formula 4 car because we just got one.
And I’m hoping to maybe even race a couple of that Formula 4 races after I turn 14.
[33:40] So when you switch over to that Formula 4, tell me a little bit about the differences that you’ll experience as sitting sitting in that car so there’s definitely way more horsepower in the formula 4 car it goes faster and instead of an h pattern shifter like the f1600 it’s a paddle shifter so that’s just the major differences that i would see.
Racing aspirations: IndyCar or F series?
[34:04] Faster and faster and faster um is indycar anything on your radar or are you just looking and do you want to do the F series?
I’m hoping to go across the F series, F4, F3, F2, and then F1.
But if I can’t get into F1, then IndyCar would definitely be my next bet.
Being from Indianapolis, I always got a soft spot for that IndyCar race.
But it does seem like going around more turns would be kind of cool too.
What do you think about the difference between the oval track racing racing in the F courses that have a lot more turns and hairpins and all of that stuff.
Tell me a little bit about the difference on those and have you raced both of those?
Yes, I’ve raced oval and road course. Just earlier this year, I got into legend cars just for like half of a season to get into a car so I can have seat time before I turn 13, so I can race the F 1600s.
So I had half of a season racing legend cars.
And I think oval is pretty fun, but I just got pretty bored of turning left.
So I wanted to hop back into road course to turn left and right.
[35:12] You’ve got quite a collection of trophies and awards behind you.
Can you tell me a little bit about any of those or any special memories that are tied to any of them?
Yeah, I would say this one. Hold on, I got to find it.
That one right there. That’s my Wisconsin cheese belt. It’s a Wisconsin.
So I’m trying to look for words to describe this.
[35:37] It’s okay. So last year, I think that’s when I got that. But I competed in a, it’s almost like a series that’s like off the radar of all the other karting series.
But I had the best average in that.
So I got a belt and all those little trophies right there. All those little trophies over here.
But all, you see like the red in those ones, all those, like the red Route 66 ones. I was big in Route 66 when I was like maybe 10 or 11.
I got into Route 66 a lot.
But the bigger trophies, all these ones, are my championship trophies from Badger.
And some of them are from Route.
But yeah, I’ve had a lot of trophies. There’s not much room to put all of them now.
Running out of room for trophies, considering building another room.
[36:29] That’s a good problem to have. When that happens and that’s your jam, you build another room.
Dealing with Anger on the Track
[36:37] Right. So when I was interviewing Alan Sir, Jr., one of his like big defining moments in his career is when he got ran off the track and gotten a wreck.
And he went over and he was really, really angry and worked up and he was going to go over and flip somebody off, which would have kind of looked bad on him.
Have you ever been into a situation where you were kind of heated and mad?
And if so, how did you handle that situation? situation?
There’s definitely been moments I think in every driver’s career when you wanted to do exactly what you said but we knew that that would look bad on us and that would probably tear down our career a little bit tear a little bits and pieces off so what I do is I just calm down and I think of all the good things that’s happened in the race that I was just in but I think I just take breaths and if I get too heated then somebody by me like my family calms me down tells me that it was just a racing incident it’s gonna you’re gonna have another race soon anyway so.
[37:31] Yeah, you can look like a big jerk if you throw too big of a fit when things don’t go your way, that’s for sure.
I am super excited to follow your career now that you’re on my radar.
And, and you know, like I tell everybody that I have on here, that’s a young racer. If you become really famous, now you’re dedicated to come back and give me another interview.
I will 100%. So you’re with Driver Awareness, and you guys do a lot of stuff with charities.
Tell me a little bit about the charities and the cause marketing, which I don’t know if you know this or not, but Ralph Hansen was one of the innovators of cause marketing.
So I’m sure that’s going to tie together. But tell me a little bit about some of that stuff.
[38:09] Yeah, so Ralph Hansen, us, my team, and Ralph Hansen, we came together and we made Driving Awareness.
Driving Awareness is a program where we put non-profit charities on the spotlight and and get their word out.
So the charities that we have currently are Children’s Alopecia Projects, that they’re a charity that strives to help kids with alopecia feel more comfortable and have happier lives.
We have another charity that’s called Just Giants, where they rescue giant animals or giant dogs, like Great Danes, the bigger dogs, and they try to take them out so they can have people adopt them.
And right now we’re working with Children’s Hospital for the the Go Baby, where they make carts for children in the hospital.
But right now we’re trying, we’re on the verge of getting them on the spotlight.
So we’re hoping that they are becoming one of our charities that we put on the spotlight.
[39:06] That’s so cool. You know, when you’re doing something and it benefits you and it benefits other people, that is a win-win.
And if you win on the track, that’s a win-win-win.
Connecting with Ava Hansen on Social Media
[39:15] Right. Sorry, had to go there, had to go there.
Okay, well, Ava, thank you so much for taking some time out of your day to be my guest on the Owner’s Pride podcast.
If people want to follow you, and you know what? I’m sure they do.
[39:30] How do they get a hold of and are, well, not necessarily get a hold of, but how do they find you on social media and follow you?
So we have a bunch of different platforms. Our main one is on Facebook.
It’s called Ava Hansen Racing.
Pretty broad. Just type in Ava Hansen Racing.
We have an Instagram one. We have an Instagram platform that if you want the full username, go to Ava Hansen Racing page on Google and scroll down and it’ll be all of our platforms are right there.
The one that is probably going to be the most posted on is Facebook.
But if you want every single platform like TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram, that’s on our page on Google, just Ava Hansen Racing. It’ll be the first link.
All right, Ava, thank you so much for taking some time out of your day to be my guest on the Owner’s Pride podcast. It’s been an absolute pleasure.
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Until next time, stay glossy.