10 Questions with…Levon Van Der Geest / Van Der Geest Racing

2023 Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) Semi-Finalist

Driver of the #23 Super Late Model – see Levon at the Miracle on the High Banks 2 on April 23!

How did you get into racing?
I grew up watching my dad race Super Late Models (and before that Limited Lates at Tomahawk when it was still asphalt) at Marshfield Motor Speedway and later on watching Chris and Jason Weinkauf racing for our team in the ASA Midwest Tour at the time. I was always in the race shop when I was young and even took my first steps there. I competed in my first race of my own when I was eight years old, in dirt go-karts at Ringle Speedway, which was a little triangular dirt track that’s now been torn down. Dirt wasn’t for me and I only did one race in the go-karts before switching to Bandoleros which I raced at State Park Speedway against people like Derek Kraus, Parker Retzlaff, Luke Fenhaus, Gabe Sommers and Kolton Guralski. From there I moved to the Midwest Truck Series and then eventually Super Late Models which is where I’m at now.

What do you like about Slinger Super Speedway?
As a driver that loves to use the outside line, I’m a big fan of any track that has a good outside line. Slinger’s outside line is among one of the best that I race on because of the high banking. It makes for great racing and it’s probably my favorite part about the track.

Your crew includes a couple of Weinkauf’s, a name well-known in racing. How did they become part of your team?
The Weinkauf’s and my dad had been competing with each other since before I was even born, mainly at tracks like Marshfield. Although they were competitors, they became good friends over time and they eventually partnered with us so that my dad could help support them in running ASA and so they could all collaborate on setups. This, over time, turned into less of a partnership and more of a “racing family” as my dad likes to say. The Weinkauf’s are good friends to us, and we all hang out together frequently even when it has nothing to do with racing, which is a big reason as to why I think the team has lasted so long.

Do you have any pre-race Superstitions?
One thing I started doing when I raced the Midwest Truck Series was taking a walk around every new track I went to the night before race day just to sort of visualize my line and stuff like that. I still do that because now I convinced myself it’s good luck. The second thing I do is that in the last year I started downing a Redbull at every race right before qualifying to give me a bit more of an edge.

How did you get your car number (23)?
The short answer is that I just stole it from my dad. But the true origin of it was that it used to be my mom’s waitressing number way back in the day. That was the original reason my dad chose the number.

Which Slinger Drivers (past or present) do you respect most?
Two come to mind: First of all, Alan Kulwicki because he’s a driver that I see a lot of my own racing qualities in and someone I’ve always looked up to. [Follow-up question: What are those qualities?] The main ones that I see are the clean driver and working on my own car. I look at myself as a clean driver and Alan had that reputation also. I also like to work on my own car and I’m meticulous with things on it, like Alan was. Plus, I’m an engineering student at UW-Milwaukee, which is where Alan earned his degree. The second driver that comes to mind is Dennis Prunty, because I have respect for any driver that’s good at running the outside and Dennis makes it look easy at Slinger. I’ve learned a lot just from watching him.

What TV shows are you into?
As far as TV, I really like comedy so some of my favorites are Impractical Jokers, Seinfeld, and the Simpsons. But I also enjoy watching the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series when it’s on because I know a lot of the drivers whether I’ve had the chance to race with them in ARCA or just raced with them on IRacing before.
Congratulations on being selected as a 2023 semi-finalist for the KDDP (Kulwicki Driver Development Program! What does that mean to you?
It was big! I was on Twitter when they released the post, and as soon as we saw it we started sharing it all over because we were so excited! In short, if I make it as a finalist, it means big opportunities for my racing career moving forward as far as making it up the ranks and getting my name out there. But secondly, and most importantly, it means I get to represent one of the most renowned and influential drivers to come out of my home state and attempt to carry on his legacy as I begin to build a legacy of my own.

If you could bring any fictional character to life, who would it be and why?
I’d bring Doc Hudson from the movie “Cars” to life so he could teach me how to race on dirt

Who do you have to thank?
My mom and dad, my whole crew: Chris and Jason Weinkauf, Jake Broesch, Ben Debroux, Junior, Sparbs, Jakob Rusch, Sam Welch, Sam Holzinger, Jordan Brozonowski, Sawyer Marnholtz, Quintin Tomajcik. My sponsors, Zilisch Asphalt Paving and Maintenance, Breber Music, Tiry’s Race Engines , Kelly Davenport, Culver’s, Friendship House, Ciao Restaurant, Custom Meats of MaratWehrs Machine & Racing Products, Norman Electric, Kings Campers, Advance Auto Parts of Marshfield, Carquest C and J Auto and Marine.