VanAlst Preparing for Future in Racing

An unexpected turn of events following the 2023 Madison County 200 race is allowing Ryder VanAlst to further is racing career.

VanAlst, 12, a seventh grade student in Daleville, is competing on a limited basis at Anderson Speedway with the McGunegill Engine Performance Late Models. This year Ryder VanAlst has recorded a career best fourth place finish and two fifth place performances. Despite some on-track incidents he has shown the patience of a veteran driver and drove back through the field.

Ryder and Greg VanAlst debrief after qualifying – Darrell Harper Photo

A year ago his father, Greg, a regular on the ARCA Menard’s Series, won the 200-lap race driving a car for JP Crabtree. After the race Ryder sat in the car and the two veteran racers realized he could reach the pedals in the late model. Greg VanAlst said a test was conducted at Anderson Speedway in a Crabtree racer.

The led to the decision to build an Anderson Late Model for Ryder to compete in during the 2024 season.

“He’s doing as well as I thought he would,” Greg said. “I had reasonable expectations. I knew he was capable.”

Ryder has been racing for eight years starting in quarter midgets, micro sprints and Legends. Ryder said the biggest difference in competing in a late model is how much larger the car is then a Legends racer.

“I’m not only learning from my dad, but from the other drivers,” he said. “I think I’ve earned their respect.”

Ryder VanAlst competing at Anderson Speedway in April – Darrell Harper Photo

He said getting a win in the series would be super exciting. Greg VanAlst said the decision to have his son race a late model was based on the level of the competitors and his familiarity with a Late Model.

“This is all part of his development,” Greg said. “I wanted to put him into a full-bodied car as quickly as possible.”

The younger VanAlst competes at Anderson as often as possible dependent on his father’s racing schedule. The long-range plan is to have Ryder begin competing in the ARCA series as soon as he reaches 15 years of age.