Greg Van Alst Readies USAR Chase Anderson, Indiana - - Its now or never for United Speed Alliance Racing competitor Greg Van Alst. Round one of the USAR Championship events will occur this weekend at Jennerstown Speedway, and while the...
Greg Van Alst Readies USAR Chase
Anderson, Indiana - - Its now or never for United Speed Alliance Racing competitor Greg Van Alst. Round one of the USAR Championship events will occur this weekend at Jennerstown Speedway, and while the rookie driver isn't fighting for the big trophy, he's in a battle of his own.
"While we don't have a shot at the championship, we're battling to finish the season in the top 15 in points," stated Van Alst, who's only position away from netting that goal. "We're 16th in, regular season points, and while that's good for some, it's not good enough for me. I'm always about giving 150%, we still have a little bit more to go to end our season on a high note."
Driving the sponsorless No. 35 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, Van Alst has had an up and down season. With accidents, mechanical failures, also brushing with some solid finishes, Van Alst along with his all-volunteer crew made a huge leap forward as they recently scored their first top-ten together last month at Illiana.
"There's no doubt that our team has shown some frustration this season," continued Van Alst. "Our team has worked hard, sleepless nights wanting to strive and do our best, finally we caught a break, and our name is starting to mingle in the garage area."
The Anderson, Indiana native knows that these next few Championship events will be crucial in what his team will do for the 2005 season. "I would really like to return to the USAR Series next year, but we'll have to wait and see what happens. I've been chatting with some owners about running Busch or Truck next year, but the right situation would have to come along before I would make that jump. But, if we can find the sponsorship that we need to run upfront every week in USAR, you better believe I'm going to give those guys a run for the title next season."
Indeed, sponsorship has plagued the former Sunoco Super Series driver. Spending thousands of dollars out of his pocket to fund this race team hasn't been easy on the 23-year old driver. Working out of a small garage attached to his home, working with two cars, and one motor. Van Alst has spent countless hours trying to do everything to make his team run competitively on a small budget.
"There's no doubt that I was scratching for some money to go racing this season," explained the rookie driver. "We had very little sponsorship at the beginning of the season. We were lucky to attract some one race-deals, but unfortunately couldn't get any commitment beyond that. It's the nature of the beast; some of the best racecar drivers in the world have experienced what I am going through, and look where they are at now. If I keep my head on straight, focus on the job at hand, there's no reason that I won't be able to be where they are in a short time."
While the sponsorship hunt has been null this season, the fan base hasn't been. At the beginning of the season, Van Alst had a slew of fans, before he knew it, he attracted a fan club. "I can't say enough about the fan support, from the track, to emails, and the website, it's all been breathtaking. Besides having compassion to get behind the wheel and compete, having fans scream your name and root you on is a memory that you never loose, and I hope over time my fan base will continue to grow."
Motoring ahead to the weekend, Van Alst, a former ARCA RE/MAX Series competitor has never been to Jennerstown Speedway, but he welcomes the challenge. "I've never been to Jennerstown, but there have been a lot of tracks I've never competed on this season, and I have faired fairly well. We are going with an optimistic setup, and will work from there."
Goals are simple. Finish the race. "If we are going to try and climb in the standings, we have to try and be there in the end. There are going to be a lot of talented drivers in this weekend's show, and while we may be a little under funded, our determination makes up for that, and I'm ready to get this party started."
The Charlie Campbell Memorial BFGoodrich Tires 250 presented by Hess Racing (250 laps/130.5 miles) is set for this Saturday night from Jennerstown Speedway. Practice, and qualifying will take place on Saturday, September 25th with the series set to take the green flag that night. The race will be broadcasted on the Speed channel Thursday, September 30th at 8:00pm EST.
For more information on Greg Van Alst and his Van Alst Motorsports team, please logon to www.gregvanalst.com