Driver Profile

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HometownFreedom, WI

Driver Bio

Craig VandeWettering

About Craig

Craig was born 4/29/84 in Appleton, WI. He grew up in the legendary Gracyalny family so he was surrounded by racing his whole life. Craig always took an interest in racing as far back as he can remember and always was waiting for the day he could get behind the wheel himself. He said he used to play with his hot wheels cars on his grandmas porch and smash them up pretending to play figure 8 and all the time. He got his first start at the age of 12 in a mechanics race in his aunt Jessie's street stock at 141 speedway. Craig almost went on to win his first ever race but got slammed into by another driver on the last lap and got a flat tire. Several years later in 2001 he resumed his racing career at Chilton in the Pro 4 division, he recalled his parents were a little skeptical when he brought his first car home, "all 4 tires were flat, it wasn't running and me and a couple buddies dug it out of the weeds beside a guys shop in Menasha, she had been sitting a couple years", however with a little help and some TLC, Craig got it going and went on to be a serious contender in his division and earned rookie of the year honors and a top 10 in points and several heat and feature wins despite not racing the entire year due to starting late. "We did the best we could, we were young kids trying to make the best of it and learn as well. We always had fun though that was the main thing and looking back I'm not surprised by my parents initial reaction cuz the car looked like a real gem at first but once I got it going they never missed a race". "My mom was leaning towards me not getting into racing as she had lived thru many nights of it with my grandpa Stan and she knew how much time it consumed". Shortly after Craig ran the first year in the new Sizzling 4 division at WIR and dominated winning almost every race and the title and state championship as well. He got his start in figure 8 about 5 years later when he first drove his uncle Dan Gracyalnys car and his boyhood dream of crashing cars in the "X" quickly became a reality. "When I first started racing figure 8 I wasn't real well liked, I tried to win the race on the first lap and pretty much smashed up a car every time I went out as I thought that was cool but drivers didn't want to work on there cars more than they had to so they weren't impressed". "Once I settled down and developed my skills and worked on making my car faster instead of just fixing it up I started becoming real fast. He has since went on to win multiple track championships and Red,White and Blue state championships in the figure 8 class as well as winning races at many different tracks across the area on both dirt and asphalt in many different divisions. He currently runs figure 8 weekly at WIR as well as team drives with his aunt Jessie Gracyalny in the super stock division and he also runs his dirt street stock car when he wants to at various tracks around the area. "Many of my family members have retired or semi retired I guess you could say, Jess and I are the only ones racing all the time anymore so we kinda keep the family involved." Dan makes an appearance every now and then and Dave occasionally as well. "My uncle on the other side Randy VanRoy keeps Jessie's car maintained and fast weekly so I give him a ton of credit and also to Jess for letting me be a part of their racing program. We have fun and do the best we can, Jess has 2 boys that are growing up quick and I have a daughter as well so that takes a main priority in our lives as well. Craig and Jessie are always in contention for the points championship and have came in 2nd the last two years, it came pretty much down to last race. Craig says he will race just about anything and enjoys the competitive nature of the sport. "It's like an addicting drug, once you get hooked, you're hooked lol". "I have also been fortunate to have a good group of supporting cast whether it be my family, friends, sponsors etc to keep being able to do what I enjoy, it takes many hours of time and money as well spent on these race cars behind the scenes and without help along the way I'd never have made it this far".

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