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Racing Ahead

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Racing Ahead

Speedy — Vance Weber races in his Micro Racer at a race. Photo courtesy of Vance Weber

Speedy — Vance Weber races in his Micro Racer at a race. Photo courtesy of Vance Weber

Speedy — Vance Weber races in his Micro Racer at a race. Photo courtesy of Vance Weber

Speedy — Vance Weber races in his Micro Racer at a race. Photo courtesy of Vance Weber

By Daniel Davidson, Staff Writer

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For most people, being behind the wheel of a car for the first time is a stressful teen experience. But by senior Vance Weber’s 14th birthday, he had already been driving cars for a decade.

But Weber wasn’t just driving any car. At the age of 4, he was speeding down oval dirt tracks in mini race cars, competing with kids years older than him. His early start into competitive racing was no coincidence.

“It’s something that runs in my family,” Weber explained. “My father did it, and so did his.”

His father, Rocco Weber, said he had always hoped his son would race. He said he picked the name “Vance” because “it would look good on the side of a race car.”

Vance Weber races a few times each year, sometimes driving up to four hours away to a race track. Both father and son stressed the importance of preparation leading up to a race.

“Races are won in the garage,” Rocco Weber said.

While working on race cars in his garage, Vance has learned the inner workings of what he races in.

Despite the hard work, a factor that challenges his competitive ability is the expense to race and buy quality cars.

“You have to have drug dealer money to be real competitive,” Rocco Weber said. “But we spend wisely. You can’t buy desire and hard work, and that’s how we challenge people with nicer stuff than us.”

Because of the long distance from tracks and preparation required to race, practice races outside of competitions are not an option. One way Vance deals with this is by practicing on a racing simulator and wheel he has set up at home, designed to imitate being on the track. But nothing can fully imitate what being on a track feels like.

“It’s on dirt so the track changes through the night,” Vance Weber said. “It starts out as wet and tacky, but as the night goes on, it’ll be really slick and it takes a lot of precision with the throttle and brake… you gotta keep your car going as straight as possible, which is pretty hard because of the way the track conditions are most of the time.”

When it comes to winning, most races offer a cash prize for those who finish first. Vance has claimed several second place finishes while racing, and won a first place prize of $750 last year.

“I don’t win every race, and I’m not the best,” Vance Weber said, “but when I go to the track, I have a chance to win every race.”
For Vance and his father, the sport is about more than just winning, it’s about bonding.

“A family that races together, stays together,” Rocco Weber said. “In most sports, you’re just on the sidelines. This sport is really with him, and the preparation involves the whole family, which is what it’s all about.”

Racing isn’t just a hobby for Vance, either. After he graduates, Vance plans to go to Kansas State University and study mechanical engineering and then, hopefully, find a job in the racing industry. Whatever the future holds, Vance Weber is confident it will involve racing.

“Once racing gets in your blood,” Rocco Weber said, “it stays in.”

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Racing Ahead