When talking about the top drivers around the east Tennessee region, it doesn’t take long for the name of Vic Hill to enter into the conversation. The Mosheim, TN driver, who is also one of the country’s most noted Dirt Late Model engine builders, has scored numerous track championships and feature wins around the region during the course of his career in various types of racing chassis.
And now the veteran racer is taking on a new challenge as he has recently hit the track in an MB Customs Race Car. And the car showed speed right out of the box as Hill posted the fastest time in Group A qualifying for the World of Outlaws Late Model Series event held at Smoky Mountain Speedway in Maryville, TN on March 23rd. That effort in time-trials beat out the likes of former series champions Brandon Sheppard, Darrell Lanigan and Josh Richards.
MB Customs Race Cars, produced by brothers Jimmy and Chris Mars, are built in Wisconsin. Hill states that his relationship with the brothers is what led to his recent switch to the new car.
“I’ve done engines for Jimmy for four years or so and we’ve talked back and forth about doing it numerous times,” Hill explained in an interview with InsideDirtRacing.com. “He’s really busy in the modified stuff and all the other stuff he’s got going on up there and finally I just called him and asked how long it would take for him to get me a car. He said that if I would send him and engine I’d have one in a week.”
The car currently being driven by “The Thrill” is one that started out as a Mars ride.
“So this is his car, I think he had run it in Arizona or something like that,” the five-time Volunteer Speedway track champion pointed out. “We got it down here and they set it up and did the whole package. We went to test and then we went to Smoky Mountain with it- Jimmy was there – and we set fast time in our group and ran second in the heat. Absolutely in the feature, we had a top-3 car, and I just turned it around when I got to racing with Jonathan Davenport so I had to go to the back.”
Hill was encouraged by his run in the Ultimate Super Late Model Series feature at Volunteer Speedway last Thursday night. After starting 12th in that 50-lap race the No. 1 car moved forward for an 8th place final result.
“Last night(at Volunteer) we practiced fast but I think I got too anxious in qualifying and dug myself a hole,” Hill admitted. “We started back in the feature and went forward. I’m excited about racing it. Actually it drives better than anything I’ve driven as far as the feel of the front of the car. You’ve just got to apply the package to your driving style. I haven’t made big changes on it just because it’s new and I’m kind of trying to just ease into it.”
Hill pointed out that each driver has to find a car that bests suits his driving style. What works for one may not necessarily work for another.
“There’s a certain feel that all of us individually like to feel in a car,” he declared. “I drive off the right front a lot, that’s just my style. If I’ve got a car that I have to drive off the right rear all the time, I’m usually not that good or consistent. If I’ve got something that steers good and we can work around with the package, I can make it work. That’s why I’m pumped up about this because you can feel the car when it turns.”
The 54-year-old driver who started the 2006 World 100 from the pole is looking forward to taking the MB Customs car to Ohio’s Eldora Speedway later this year. He believes his past success at the famed track along with his relationship with the people who built his current race car will provide a recipe for more success.
“Those guys are good guys and they’re easy to communicate with so we can go back and forth with what I’ve done here and what they’ve done there,” Hill said. “I’m really looking forward to going to Eldora in it. Normally at Eldora, I’m the guy who by the time we leave there we’ve dialed in something and we’re pretty fast. These guys have been around that place a lot and they’ve got a lot of good knowledge of that place.”
And finally, Hill is optimistic.
“We’ll see how the season goes with it. It’s a good car.”
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