For the first time in a couple of years Lindsey VanDoorn climbs behind the wheel of a Pro Late Model for this weekend’s JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour race at Owosso Speedway. While the Kalamazoo, MI driver’s last start was in 2014 at Springport Speedway, she is excited for the opportunity this weekend.
“We got the chance to practice Wednesday and that was helpful,” VanDoorn told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “Johnny and I just took the car and an old set of tires over so I could get some laps and get my line down. Overall, I’m extremely excited and grateful for the opportunity to race this weekend. We have an amazing sponsor in Lisa Thomas Salons and an awesome crew who has worked so hard to make this weekend possible.”
VanDoorn, wife of multi-time CRA Super Series winner Johnny VanDoorn, got a self-proclaimed late start in racing, first hitting the track at the age of 18. She started racing a Modified part-time at Spartan Speedway and then moved to Kalamazoo Speedway in 2010 and 2011 before jumping to Super Stocks the next two years. VanDoorn then began dabbling in the Late Model world in 2014. Not only has it been two years since she was behind the wheel, but this marks her first trip to the track in Ovid, MI.
“We’re going into the weekend with realistic expectations,” said VanDoorn. “This is my first time at Owosso and my first race in a while so I think if we can finish the race on the lead lap and get some good seat time that would be a great weekend.”
“Our expectation for this weekend is to get valuable track time and experience,” said Johnny VanDoorn. “If we could go finish all 100 laps on the lead lap, that would be a win. Given that she has not raced in two years we need to go in with realistic expectations. I feel like I have been playing catch up myself all year as I have not been racing as much as I used to. Racing is tough to do just every now and again because it is so much off of that feeling in the seat.”
Her husband is a veteran driver and will also be calling the shots this weekend as her crew chief. This won’t be the first husband-and-wife team to tackle Late Model racing together and the 26-year-old driver joked it might even be good for their marriage.
“We like to joke and say that this is like our marriage counseling. We’ve already made it through a couple practices but if we can make it through a race, we can make it through anything,” joked Lindsey.
But in all seriousness, VanDoorn has not only taken to racing in the past few years, but also become more and more involved in John’s company, VanDoorn Racing Development in an effort to learn more and become a better driver. To partner with her husband this weekend is something she views as a special experience.
“It’s awesome to be able to have the opportunity to race a car that your husband built and to have him as a coach too,” said VanDoorn. “I actually started working at VanDoorn Racing Development with Johnny and his brother, Butch, back in January of this year. I’ve learned a lot about the cars and the industry since I’ve started working there. It has been a lot of fun working with both of them.”
“It actually has been a lot of fun working with her behind the wheel,” said Johnny. “It is a little nerve-wracking watching her out on the track though because I know what it is like racing some of these weapons. I would like to think that her racing is preparing me for having kids someday.”
-By Jana Wimmer, Speed51.com Midwest Editor – Twitter: @JWimm22
-Photo Credit: VanDoorn photo