One of the top midget drivers of his day, he won 53 feature races in 1940. He was left paralyzed after an accident at Detroit in 1949.
Hansen was a veteran of the United Racing Association in California and won the URA Blue Circuit Championship in 1945.
His first big win came at the wheel of the Rex Mays Offy when he won the 1939 “Turkey Night Grand Prix” at Gilmore Stadium. Hansen raced nation-wide and captured the 1940 Fort Miami Speedway title in Toledo, Ohio and two years later took the VFW Motor Speedway crown in Detroit, Michigan. He won 53 midget features in 1940, which ranks him among the top midget drivers of his day.
Mel’s friends nicknamed him the “Firecracker Kid” because he loved to throw the explosive devices under chairs and behind people while gathered in groups.
A veteran of six Indianapolis 500 Mile Races, he finished eighth in the 1940 classic. He also won the 1948 100-mile race at Atlanta, Georgia in the Championship Cars.
A 1949 accident at Detroit left him paralyzed, and after fifteen years as a paraplegic, he died on June 5, 1963.
National Midget Auto Racing Hall