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Driver Spotlight: Will Vaught At The 2012 Late Model Dream

It’s amazing how in just one year things can change so drastically. Take for example Crane, Missouri’s Will Vaught. Last year at arguably the biggest race of the year, the annual Dirt Late Model Dream, Vaught scored a very impressive fourth place finish against 91 other drivers.

[quote align=”alignright” width=”200″]I have two young-uns now and it’s really nice being the car owner and being able to decide when and where we are racing.[/quote]”We ran really well last year, and a lot of people remember that 4th place finish,” Will explained to us when we caught up with him at the 2012 Dream. “But a lot of people don’t realize that we only took home $6,000 for that finish. We barely broke even.”

The dream isn’t Vaught’s first great finish at a dirt track Crown Jewel event, he scored two 5th place finishes at the 2010 $50,000 to win USA Nationals and the Knoxville Late Model Nationals. The following year 2011 shaped up to be a banner year for Vaught as he would score numerous top 5 finishes against some very stiff competition on the dirt and then also on the asphalt in the ARCA Racing Series:

  • $3,500 SUPR Victory at Texas Motor Speedway
  • $3,000 MARS Victory at Thunderbird (OK) Speedway
  • $2,500 MARS Victory at Thunderbird (OK) Speedway
  • Finished 4th in $100,000 ‘Dream 100′ at Eldora (OH) Speedway
  • Finished 3rd in ARCA Racing Series Event at DuQuoin (IL) State Fairgrounds
  • Finished 5th in ARCA Racing Series Event at Illinois State Fairgrounds
  • Finished 9th in ARCA Racing Series Event at Talladega (AL) Superspeedway

Back At Eldora

Vaught's ride heading through the tech line on Thursday at the Dream.

One year later with a new ride there was high expectations put on Will for his return to the Dream. “I really like Eldora,” said the 26 year old Vaught. “ There is just no other place like it.”

During hot laps for the annual $100,000 to win event Will looked very strong.

However his return to Eldora wouldn’t go as well as he had hoped. 98 drivers attempted to make the field at the $100,000 to win race, so simply making the 26 car field is a huge accomplishment.

For Will, his misfortune would happen in the first round of qualifying when his car would jump the cushion entering turn 1 and he would pound the outside fence. Luckily for Will there was two rounds of qualifying. So if he could repair his car he could attempt to make the field again.

Vaught would get a huge run coming to the green flag but once again would hop the cushion and would suffer an almost identical accident as before. It wasn’t much longer in the evening that Will’s trailer would be backing out and leaving the 1/2 mile Eldora because of the damage sustained.

Owning His Own Equipment

Last year, this might have just been another race for Vaught, but after a recent split with his car owner Will now owns all of his own equipment and team.

Will wouldn’t give us to much information on what exactly was the reason for the split, “I like being able to race where and when I want to,” said Vaught. “I have two young-uns now and it’s really nice being the car owner and being able to decide when and where we are racing.”

Vaught’s ride at the 2012 Dream was his brand new Warrior Chassis that he built during the off-season. “We had a lot of help with this car,” Said Will. “I’ve got to thank Port City, Peterson Fluid Systems, Eibach Springs, and my entire crew.”

Vaught would unfortunately jump the cushion during both his first and second round of qualifying and hit the fence. The damage sustained from these two accidents forced Will to miss Saturday's activities.


For Vaught, 2012 will be spent running the big money races instead of committing to a particular series. “We’ll be at some Hell Tour races this year, USA nationals, and probably the world finals.”

“This is my full-time job,” explained Will. “If you run good you can actually make a living driving these cars. During the off-season I work at my family’s car lot, but when the race season hits, I’m on the road racing whenever I can.”

While a lot of critics like to point to a couple of off-track incidents that happened early in Vaught’s career, there’s no denying that the future looks bright for those associated with Will Vaught.

While the annual Late Model Dream may not of gone as planned for Will, we suspect that you’ll be hearing a lot from this young driver in the coming years.

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