This has been a somewhat erratic season for Midwestern Super Late Model veteran Johnny VanDoorn, but he believes it could be leading to a record-setting fourth CRA Super Series championship.
VanDoorn has participated in seven of the nine CRA points-paying events this year, winning two of them, thus making him eligible for the debut Chase for the Championship. However, it is bad luck in his non-victories that has left him a little miffed.
He won back-to-back races at Anderson and Baer Field back in May but followed that up with mechanical gremlins in the Red Bud 400 and (non-sanctioned) Money in the Bank 150.
These were both races VanDoorn expected himself to contend in.
“I’ve been in racing 21 of my 29 years in life,” VanDoorn told Short Track Scene in July. “There’s no way to predict anything. You just ride the roller coaster sometimes.
“We won three out of four races and then you have two straight DNFs. But I’m proud that we had a chance to contend. Sometimes strategy or bad luck just doesn’t fall your way. Put yourself in position enough and you’ll eventually get it to fall right. That’s what we try to do.”
It helps that VanDoorn has surrounded himself with positivity and optimism.
Even after falling out of the Redbud 400, he and brother-crew chief Butch VanDoorn were waxing optimism over the team radio about how they were going to come back stronger than before.
“It goes back to what I said before, you know, we try to control the things we can. If we do that, good things will happen. We feel that way as a team.”
The optimism was warranted as he finished third in the Circle City 100 at IRP and regained lost momentum. With only two more races in the CRA regular season — Wednesday at Kalamazoo and Saturday Flat Rock — VanDoorn can now turn his attention on getting right for the playoffs and winning his fourth championship.
Doing so would break the CRA record he shares Scott Hantz.
“I’m really excited for it,” VanDoorn said. “I think adding the Chase has been good for Super Late Model racing in our region. It adds something to the races. To be able to end the season with a race like the Winchester 400 is going to be cool too.
“I just hope we’ve gotten all of our bad luck out of the way so we can go for it.”
VanDoorn is fifth in the standings but leads the series in wins with two. He will be looking for his third on Tuesday night in the CRA Kalamazoo Klash 125.