- by Emily Armentrout
- Local farmer, Nathan Vrooman, has been farming since he was old enough to drive a tractor with his father, Jack. Farming may not be a fast paced job, but his love of drag racing has him going speeds upwards of 165 miles per hour.
- Growing up on the family farm, Vrooman started helping his dad. Whether it be planting and harvesting crops or taking care of the hogs, farming has always been a part of Vrooman's life. Racing became a part of Vrooman's life in 1979 when he decided to fix up his first car, a 1968 Chevell.
- Since his first fix up, Vrooman has had a love for racing. He now races a 1991 Chevy Beretta, which he mostly fixes up on his own when the car needs repairs or added safety measures. Vrooman is part of the Super Gas drag racing class.
- Super Gas is a 9.90 second class, which is a drag class where making it to the finish line first doesn't mean you won the race. “It’s not the first one there that wins. You can't go faster than 9.90 seconds. If you go faster, like a 9.8 then you don't win, unless the other guy goes faster than you. People think in drag racing the first one to the line wins, well not in this category. Mostly it's only in the pros that the first one to the line wins. I'm running 168 miles per hour, but I can race a car that goes 140 miles per hour. He just starts further up the track that I do, and I catch him," explained Vrooman.
- Vrooman talked of the safety features he's added that are required by the sport. "There is a diaper on the motor that catches oil if your engine goes. If someone leaks oil, accidents happen." He also recently added more back brakes due to shorter shutdown space at some of the tracks.
- Most of Vrooman's races take place in Indiana's surrounding states. He doesn't go much further than Michigan, Ohio or Kentucky. He usually runs in divisional races, but he does run a couple national events during the season.
- Vrooman hasn't been in any big accidents, but he did recently have a big win. Vrooman won the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event in Norwalk, Ohio. According to draglist.com, "Vrooman used a perfect 0.00 second reaction time to take the win against Steve Theodor in Super Gas."
- "The win last year at Norwalk was by far my favorite moment. That's the most glory I have had racing so far. I still love to race, but a lot of the fun is the friends at the track," said Vrooman. He would like to make it back to Norwalk this year, but duties from his other life may keep him from making it back this season. "I'm not sure I'll make it back this year because my wheat might be ready," added Vrooman.
- Drag racing is a bit of a family sport for Vrooman. His brother-in-law, Doug Kroft, is also a drag racer and houses his car next to Vrooman's in his garage, where they can work on their cars together and make them better.
- Vrooman has two sons, that he says he would be okay with them racing too. "Nate has never had much interest. Austin has fired it
- up a few times, but neither of them has driven it, but yeah, I would let them, but Dad's not ready to give up his car yet, so they may have to get their own rides."
Posted on 2013 Jun 25