-Tell us about your racing background and how you ended up at the Lucas Oil Regional Series:
Six years ago I was playing around on You Tube. I came across a video of karts racing in LOORRS. I took the video to my dad and asked if I could do this. My dad said, ‘we will see’. For Christmas that year, I got a JR1. We practiced one time before my first race. My dad and I had very limited knowledge of karts. So, we head to Phoenix for a race. IT WAS A NATIONAL!! The tech team was patient and kind. Pointing my dad to proper direction for necessary seat, seat belts, tires, etc. My Dad got everything done so I could be race ready. Then the race came. I didn’t crash. I didn’t hit anyone, and I had a ton of fun. From that day on we have been a race family.
-Family seems to play a big role on most regional teams and we see your family at the track with you at every round. How important is your family to your success and what roles do each of them play on race weekends?
Family is everything at the track, while I’m on the track, and preparing for the track. Family is needed in every detail of a race team. Each of my family members have defined rolls and responsibilities. Each of us understands, ‘our responsibilities will be completed with precision and accuracy’.
My dad - spotter, Polaris expert, tech support and consultant.
My mom - responsible for all forms of equipment, race gear, tools ,inventory, supplies and organization
of race trailer, feeding the team, immediate problem ‘fixer’ and dog walker, lol
My sister - Chelsea Haugen - My biggest fan and supporter. My sister is nice to me. Anytime I ask for help my sister is there.
My crew - Rowdy - responsible for car prep, car maintenance, rig maintenance, race day prep. Supervisor to Mom.
My crew - Andy - Crew Chief-supervisor of race program, fabricator, race day supervisor, computer data analyzer, all changes or suggestions go to Andy and Andy alone.
Me - Chance Haugen - I go through every single nut, bolt, bearing, etc; every aspect of my car is checked by me. I am a very hands on driver. Every factor of my car is touched by me. I do not leave anything on my car to my crew. If there are things I need help with, I ask Andy or Rowdy to help, but I’m always watching and learning. I know my car! I know what is normal and what is abnormal.
-What is your advice to someone looking to start out in short course off road racing?
Be patient. Racing is a process. Learning to steer a car is the smallest portion of racing. Racing is like a game of chess or poker, are you bluffing or are you committed? The relationship with spotter and driver is essential. I trust my Dad (spotter) completely. If he says go low, I go, no questions. I know he will always protect me, keep me safe, and help me get on the podium. You have to understand your fellow competitors. You need to know they will hold their line and drive responsibly. When lines are shifted or drivers’ act out of emotion instead of initiating a calculated move, carnage happens. This is the biggest challenge of racing. This takes a long time to perfect…have patience.
-What is your favorite track and why?
My favorite California Regional track is Victorville. It’s fast. My favorite National track is Missouri. It’s super fast.
-When you're not at the track, what can we find you doing?
My friends at the track are my best friends. We play IRACING and practice driving all the time. We have headphones so we can talk to each other too. My school friends and I like to hang out at the pool, at each other’s house, and local restaurants. I also work on my car at the Off-Road Shop after school, so there’s not much time for hanging out. School is very important to me, so I spend a lot of time on my school work. I want to be a dentist when I grow up.
-How much time/work goes into preparing for each race weekend?
After we finish a race weekend, all free time is spent prepping and perfecting cars for the next race weekend. Andy, Rowdy, and I are constantly working and talking about changes being made and maintenance of cars.
-What/who is your biggest challenge on the track?
My competitors. They are all really good. I enjoy the challenge placed on myself, my team, my car and I together. It’s fun to overcome all the challenges and get on the podium!
-Any goals for the next few years or beyond?
I want to be a dentist. When I was a baby I had pneumonia a couple times, then realized I had severe asthma. My teeth were affected by the strong antibiotics. I want to help people. Improving their smile and self confidence is my goal. I will also continue to race. I love racing. It is a definite passion of mine.
-We know it takes a lot of support to race and you seem to be backed by some great companies. Is there anyone you would like to thank for their support?
I would like to thank: Polaris, Hoosier Tire, Super ATV, Rugged Radios, Douglas Wheel and Tire, Fox Shox, Digital Dirt Media, Performance Off-Road (Andy’s shop), my dad for spotting, my mom for always helping, my crew chief Andy, my crew assistant Rowdy and my sister Chelsea Haugen for her support.