One of his most impressive wins came at East Moline, Illinois, when he took the $12,000-to-win Fall Harvest Shootout against a star-studded field. "To get a win against the caliber of guys that were there is really a big deal for me," Van Wormer says

The caliber of the competition, in fact, is the one thing that stands out in the sport, he adds.

"Heck, in the big races, there are really 50 drivers capable of winning. You really have to have things together to win those races. I don't know immediately if the car is right. Things are changing all the time and you have to try to stay up with them. I try to go forward at the end of the race. One thing that you don't have any control over is when the tires seal over. When that happens, you are through."

Jeep Van Wormer's Keys to SuccessDriving For the young guy who has goals to drive a Dirt Late Model in the future, my recommendation would be for him to begin in an inexpensive Super Stock car. With that car, you could learn how to handle the car, drive in a pack, and how to win. It also helps you prevent making mistakes on the track

I wouldn't recommend using an open wheel Modified which is more costly and has a higher tire bill.

If your budget allows, the use of a crate Late Model would also be a good learning tool. The advantage is that you are driving a Dirt Late Model chassis, but with a less powerful engine. And with less horsepower, you have a car that handles somewhat different than a real Dirt Late Model

Technology I think that you have a huge advantage if you have an understanding of, and a capability to work on, your own racecar. If you look around, there is a good percentage of the drivers that cannot set up their cars. But rest assured, all the top-gun drivers do their own car setup

As told to Bill Holder