Jace Hansen currently sits tied for 7th in the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series Championship standings. He also sits second in the Rookie of the Year chase, after six of nine events have been completed. Hansen entered the 2019 season as the most experienced rookie candidate, in terms of Super Late Model (SLM) Racing.

The two-time SLM Championship Runner-up at Colorado National Speedway, and six-time winner, looked good early in the season. He opened with a seventh at Irwindale Speedway and sixth at All American Speedway 2019, to lead the early rookie standings. A miscommunication led to a 22nd place result at the Bullring @ Las Vegas Motor Speedway, while having a strong showing. A 10th and a ninth place, at Madera Speedway and Kern County Raceway respectively, kept Hansen in the rookie battle, but a disastrous second visit to Irwindale Speedway punctuated a less than stellar mid-one-third of the season, for the Greeley, CO driver.

“The season has been rough” Hansen told the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series. “We started out with a couple good runs and that gave me high hopes, but the last three races we have been going backwards. I’m hoping we can turn that around for these last three races.”

Although the 2017 and 2018 seasons saw the team branching out from its Colorado base, travelling is still relatively new to the Jim Egli owned team. Hansen has travelled to the last two Chili Willy 150’s finishing 4th and 8th. In the 2018 version of the Summer Showdown at Evergreen Speedway, he came home 7th in the 41-car field. Jace has also made the trip to the Winter Showdown, at Kern County Raceway, finishing 11th and 19th over the last two seasons.

Still the new tracks to the team is one of the biggest challenges to the operation.

“It’s tough getting used to the new tracks”, Hansen commented. “We are so used to running at the same place every weekend, but we knew that would be a challenge.”

Another test for the 27-year-old driver is the competition in the SRL Series. It is a challenge that the team and driver look forward to, as both a benchmark, and an opportunity to improve their entire operation.

“The series is super competitive, and you are running against great talent and really good equipment”, Hansen volunteered. “It’s a great experience because we can see where we are lacking and the things we need to do to improve our program.”

As the final one-third of the season comes into focus, Hansen is eager to get back to the track and visit the facilities for the second time this season. He hopes to make all three events, but Mr. Stork may have something to say about that desire.

“I’m excited for all three tracks, Hansen began. “We really seemed to improve at Kern the last time out there, so I’m looking forward to that. However, the race is the same week as the due date for our little girl, so it’s still in question if we will be making the trip.”

Over those final events, Hansen is simply looking for better finishes and an improvement in their performance. The quest is not only for himself, but for the morale of the team.

“We just need to improve our results, that’s the main goal”, Jace explained. “Everyone knows how easy it is to lose focus and motivation, when you aren’t getting the results you want. We really need a couple good runs, just to get the group fired back up.”

Hansen sits 60 points outside the top-five. It is a position he held only two races ago. With three good races, it is a goal that could certainly be achieved. It is a goal, that if achieved, would help show the talent of the team and its driver. It would also be a big reward to his car owner Jim Egli.

“I have to thank Jim Egli”, Hansen stated. “He makes this whole deal happen, and works his butt off to make sure we can run all these races. I’m super thankful that he gives me the opportunity to drive for him.”

Celebrating its nineteenth season in 2019, the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series is a regional stock car series competing on paved ovals in the southwestern portion of the U.S. “The SPEARS Southwest Tour Series…Where the Champions Race”.