VanMil a Consistent Contender in IMCA Sport Mods
For Chris VanMil of Barnesville, returning to racing in 2012 was all about timing.
After working nights, weekends and holidays in his job in the vehicle maintenance office for the Post Office in Fargo, he was able to get on a regular day shift — which in turn gave him time to start racing again
“The timing was right, financially, and (with) my job,” VanMil said. “I’ve got some seniority now, and it gives me some time to race.”
VanMil eft racing after 1996. He returned in the legends class briefly in 2010 before buying a midwest modified for the 2012 season.
It’s been a good return to the track for the 49-year-old, who made his comeback in the Wissota Midwest Modified class in 2012. He is now in the IMCA Sport Mod division, where he has won two track championships at Buffalo River Speedway near Glyndon.
“It’s been fun,” VanMil said.
In the first year of the IMCA Sport Mods at Buffalo River Speedway, he won the points title in a very close battle.
“I beat Rich Pavlicek by one point,” VanMil recalled.
The VanMil name is a familiar one in the Red River Valley. Corey VanMil started racing in the 1970s and raced for many years, and his sons Chris and Rob also got into racing. Rob still is racing in the IMCA Stock Car class at Red River Valley Speedway and Norman County Raceway. Rob and Chris sport their dad’s number 40 on their cars.
Rob is a three-time Wissota Mod 4 national champion. Chris and Rob have raced against each other in the mod 4s and midwest modifieds.
“When I wasn’t racing, he was racing Mod 4s and was a three-time national champion. He has a lot of laps on him,” Chris said.
This year, Chris switched to a new T&E Chassis built by Cody Erickson, a former modified driver in the area.
“Cody’s been really good if I have any questions. Day or night he gets back to me,” VanMil said.
VanMil has established himself as a consistent contender in the IMCA Sport Mods at the area's tracks in recent years. He's having a good year in 2021, as he has two wins and 10 top five finishes in 13 starts. He’s third in the points at Buffalo River, Red River Valley and Norman County so far.
“It’s slowed down a little bit. I’m not as nervous to get into the car, and learning what adjustments to make,” VanMil said.
His biggest fan is his wife, Tonya who travels with him each night to the track.
“My wife really likes racing,” VanMil said. “She used to watch me when I was racing the mini stocks and always wanted to meet Chris VanMil. X amount of years later we meet, and now we’re married.”
#40 IMCA Sport Mod
Residence: Barnesville, Minn.
Sponsors: Sanders Metal Products, Valley Alignment and Repair, T-Mom, Corey’s Car Care. Schaeffer’s Oil, Concrete Coatings, T&E Chassis, Mom and Harry, Winning Edge Graphics, Quick Rescue Roof, Dad & Tammy, Norwex, Pampered Chef, and wife Tonya