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This week we caught up with the breakout star of 2020, Seth VanDalen. He started the year off with overall TQ's in Nitro Buggy at the first two major events of the year, and ended it by taking double wins at The Fall Brawl. Find out what he has been up to on this week's #TalkItUpTuesday.
LiveRC: Hey Seth, how has your 2020 been all things considered?
Seth VanDalen: 2020 has been pretty solid considering all of the Covid-19 restrictions. All the restrictions put in place really put a stop to some of the events I wanted to attend. Other than all the restrictions I would say my year was pretty good. Started off 2020 with a TQ in NB at SIC in Alabama, shortly after that I found myself in the TQ spot at DNC in California. Those were two big accomplishments back to back. After DNC I found more motivation towards my program. Since than I have had a lot of good results and a few bad, but thats what comes along with racing.
LRC: How did it feel to TQ the first two major events of the year back to back in Nitro Buggy? (SIC and The Dirt Nitro Challenge)
SVD: Honestly, I didn't realize how big of an accomplishment it was until Joe Bornhorst sat me down and asked me "dude do you understand what you just did?" It took me a couple of seconds to try and put something together, but I looked at Joe and said "it will take me a few days to understand what I just did, but all I know is there has only been a select few to TQ DNC." Once I got back home the emotions finally hit me. I was pretty pumped. With the amount of talent that was at both races I couldn't belive what I really did. It brought a lot of motivation moving forward knowing that I had the speed, just had to find the consistency to run with the fast guys.
LRC: You took double wins this past weekend at the last major event of the year, The Fall Brawl, how did it feel pulling off come from behind wins in both classes?
SVD: It felt great to be able to come from behind and take both wins on a blown out track. This was definitely one of the most brutal tracks that I have raced on, other than DNC. Coming from the back makes it real difficult to make your way back up to the front. You have to have a lot of patience with traffic, be consistent, and fast all at the same time. Let’s just say it was a good way to end 2020.
LRC: What has been your favorite accomplishment thus far in your career?
SVD: My favorite accomplishment so far, has to be battling with Ryan Maifield for second place in NB at PNB. I started 10th on the grid after some rough qualifiers. Once the tone sounded I knew I had to buckle down and wheel for 30 minutes straight if I wanted to have any shot at running with the guys up front. After finding my rhythm I found myself running right where I wanted to be. With 5 minutes left I knew Maifield was reeling me in, but I didn’t want to push myself too hard and make costly mistakes. With about 2 minutes left Maifield was on my bumper. I knew I had to stay calm and drive defensive in order to hold my position. After some position changes, it all came down to the last lap, as we came around to the big double and whoops Maifield try to send it in the whoops as I decided to take the “slow” but consistent line to get me out of there as clean as possible which led me to the finish line before him.
LRC: Do you plan on making any program changes going into 2021?
SVD: My program for 2021 is mostly staying the same with Tekno being my chassis sponsor, JConcepts for tires, Blok engines, VP Fuels, and JTP for oils. I am hopping to add a couple electronic companies to my program going forward.
LRC: Your pit person is normally your girlfriend, is it more or less stressful having someone that close to you on the mic while you’re racing?
SVD: Having Maddie in pit lane causes less stress for me. I know how bad she wants to see me succeed, so I know the dedication she has in pit lane. She cares about the results just as much as I do. It is also nice having her in pit lane because she knows what she is doing. She’s been around RC for a while, so I know if something goes wrong we’ll figure it out as a team. Having someone else in pit lane throws my whole race ritual off just because I don’t know their strategies in the pits or if they truly know what they are doing.
LRC: Which event are you most excited about in 2021?
SVD: I am most excited for DNC, that’s if it happens. We’ll just have to sit back and see what all happens with Covid-19. This past year was a blast. I was in California for 12 days. It was nice getting out there early because I got to practice with the guys for two days on the unique California dirt. First day was Thunder Alley and the second day was at Palm Desert. Both tracks prepared me well and gave me time to try new things with all my cars.
LRC: Is there anyone you would like to thank?
SVD: I’d like to thank all of my sponsors for their non stop support. I would also like to say thank you to all my friend and family that are at home cheering me on. And lastly a special thanks to Maddie for traveling with me all year and being positive through the good and bad days at the track.
King Kong Hobbies
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