KVD Hooked on NASCAR

Bassmaster legend finds similarities, friends in racing business

KVD Hooked on NASCAR
KVD found himself surrounded by tires in the pits. (Alan McGuckin)

JOLIET, Ill. -- Kevin VanDam travels 30,000 miles a year in his Toyota Tundra. The radio is always on – but rarely does music play. Instead, VanDam is almost constantly tuned to the NASCAR channel on SiriusXM.

“Yep, right here, channel 90, dude,” says KVD in kid-like fashion as he proudly points to the digital display while driving to Chicagoland Speedway.

By no means is this his first trip to a track. VanDam’s addiction to a sport with many shared qualities of his own began about 12 years ago when he was invited to attend an event at Disney World in Florida.

“I met Jeff Burton there, he took me around the track and sort of showed me the science and strategy of turning a fast lap, but most of all, he befriended my family and I,” VanDam said.


VanDam’s relationship with Bass Pro Shops and their involvement in racing has created consistent exposure to various drivers – many of whom love to hunt and fish when they’re not busy turning left at 190 mph.


“Martin Truex Jr., Johnny Morris and myself had an incredible day one June in Traverse City, Mich. – the big smallmouth moved shallow to spawn, they were eating mayflies, and they were eating just about anything we casted at them,” remembers the seven-time Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year.

That was several years ago, but like VanDam, the memories of that day stay fresh in Truex’s mind too, and that’s much the reason the driver of the No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry was quick to approach KVD in the garage area this past Sunday.

Nope, Truex wasn’t seeking sympathy for the broken bones he suffered in his hand during Bristol’s night race a few weeks ago, but instead, to find healing through conversation with KVD about drop-shot rigs and giant smallmouth.

Mutual admiration is the common thread between KVD and the handful of NASCAR drivers he calls friends. They know fishing isn’t luck, beer and bobbers. And he knows they don’t just drive in circles.


“There’s so much to it. So much science, engineering and driver talent - not to mention the business and sponsorship side of racing,” VanDam said. “Plus, we share a very similar fan base.”

Count VanDam among the most avid of NASCAR’s fan base. To the point that when offered a chance to leave the deafening roar of engines and smell of exhaust near the pits, for a cozy spot in Toyota’s suite, he politely declined.

“Thanks, but I’d rather stay down here in the middle of the action,” said the always polite four-time Bassmaster Classic Champion with a grin.


VanDam’s time at Chicagoland Speedway marks the fifth track he’s attended a race at during the past decade.

“I have to admit, the very first time I went to a race, I was absolutely hooked,” he said.

It’s a sure bet this won’t be his last engagement with NASCAR. And you can wager he’ll be listening to NASCAR on SiriusXM throughout the many miles he’ll spend driving between now and the next one.


Click the image to see photos of Kevin VanDam at the Chicagoland Speedway


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

BPT Points Champ Edwin Evers Talks New Berkley Baits

BPT Points Champ Edwin Evers Talks New Berkley Baits

After making the switch to Berkley products heading into the inaugural BPT season, Edwin Evers tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead why Berkley baits played such a key role in his recent angling success.

Minn Kota Riptide Terrova Saltwater Trolling Motor

Minn Kota Riptide Terrova Saltwater Trolling Motor

Minn Kota's Brad Henry shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead that there's much to like in the new Minn Kota Riptide Terrova saltwater trolling motor that comes with I-Pilot and an 87-inch shaft.

Costa and Captains for Clean Water

Costa and Captains for Clean Water

With the company's heavy involvement in initiatives like Kick the Plastic and Captains for Clean Water campaigns, Costa's Amanda Sabin tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead all about the sunglass maker's unwavering commitment to help the freshwater and saltwater environment.

MLF Pro Tips: Go-To Baits for the Spawn

MLF Pro Tips: Go-To Baits for the Spawn

Major League Fishing pros talk about the first lure they choose when targeting spawning bass.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

The colder waters of early spring are prime times to use bait rigs for stripers. Striper & Hybrid

3 Deadly Bait Rigs For Stripers

J.B. Kasper

The colder waters of early spring are prime times to use bait rigs for stripers.

Unlike many game fish, catfish can be harder to catch during the spawn. Here are some strategies. Catfish

Understanding Catfish Spawning

Keith Sutton - June 06, 2006

Unlike many game fish, catfish can be harder to catch during the spawn. Here are some...

Here are the 10 most common spinning and baitcaster reel performance problems and how to fix them. Fishing How-To

10 Most Common Reel Performance Problems

Anietra Hamper

Here are the 10 most common spinning and baitcaster reel performance problems and how to fix...

While catfish are still catfish, the difference between day and night tactics and strategies can be profound, even when fishing the same lake or river. Fishing How-To

How to Catch Catfish Day and Night

Terry Madewell

While catfish are still catfish, the difference between day and night tactics and strategies...

See More Trending Articles

More Stories

Bow fisherman arrows fish of a lifetime on South Texas trip. Other Freshwater

240 Pounds! Massive Alligator Gar Taken on Father's Day

Lynn Burkhead - June 22, 2020

Bow fisherman arrows fish of a lifetime on South Texas trip.

Various companies show appreciation to frontline defense – healthcare professionals – against the pandemic with special giveaway. News

Outdoors Industry Honoring Healthcare Heroes: COVID-19

April 27, 2020

Various companies show appreciation to frontline defense – healthcare professionals – against...

Where and how some of the state's best archery bucks were killed last season. Whitetail

Oklahoma's Big Archery Bucks of 2018

Kelly Bostian

Where and how some of the state's best archery bucks were killed last season.

The The eastern Georgia lake may be best known for its bass, but anglers will find more trophies in these waters than just largemouths. Georgia lake may be best known for its bass, but anglers will find more trophies in these waters than just largemouths. Fishing

Chase a Mixed-Bag Bite at Lake Oconee

Larry Larsen - April 28, 2020

The The eastern Georgia lake may be best known for its bass, but anglers will find more...

See More Stories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now