Performing in the clutch separates the best drivers from the pack. When the laps are counting down and the lights are shining brightest, the top racers thrive under pressure. Each month during the 2019 season, Tilton Engineering will honor a “Clutch Performer of the Month” from the world of short track racing.
The winner of the Tilton Engineering Clutch Performer of the Month Award for the month of July is…
Super Late Models
In marquee Super Late Model races, the cream rises to the top. Especially when those races are played out over 400 laps on a tight, high-banked quarter-mile bullring with the summer heat bearing down on the competition.
On July 15, Johnny VanDoorn rose to that occasion as he has so many times in his illustrious Late Model career, taking the checkered flag in the 53rd Annual Redbud 400 at Anderson Speedway (IN). However, this win proved far more grueling than most, and emotionally charged as well.
The weather that evening proved hot and humid, taking its toll and equipment and drivers alike. The Redbud 400 is always a long and demanding race, but that Monday night required another level of preparation and fitness to survive the demands and challenges of 800 left turns around the tight Anderson circuit.
Not only was VanDoorn fighting Mother Nature and a field of some of the best Super Late Model racers in the country, he was fighting his own emotions. Johnny’s father, Ken VanDoorn, would pass away two days later. Johnny knew his father’s time was short, and wanted nothing more than to get one more big win.
When an exhausted VanDoorn pulled into victory lane after claiming this third career Redbud victory, he was immediately greeted by CRA and Anderson Speedway officials and medical personnel for treatment for heat exhaustion. Once cooled off, an emotional VanDoorn dedicated the win to his dad while fighting back tears.
After overcoming both the physical and emotional adversity of that evening in Anderson, Johnny VanDoorn has been named the Tilton Clutch Performer of the Month for June. VanDoorn will receive a $250 product certificate from Tilton Engineering for his clutch performances.
-Story by: Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51