Acting on the advice of older brother Dub, Van May moved from his El Paso, Texas home to Pennsylvania 50 years ago to pursue a career as a full-time sprint car racer.
May’s skill behind the wheel is highly regarded, yet his first four years in Pennsylvania produced only a single win. Even so, some of the on-track achievements are legendary, like the time he balanced a sprinter on its right front and rear wheels, since the left front had come off, in order to qualify for a feature.
Such talent netted championships at Susquehanna in 1981 and at Lincoln the following year. He has 74 victories, including a Williams Grove National Open win in 1977, the final year it was 150-laps, and a $10,000-to-win score at Zanesville, Ohio in 1979 as part of a dozen wins that year. He was also a winner in Midgets.
And despite suffering traumatic injuries, including the 1987 one in which he lost an eye and ended his race-driving career, May has always been an enthusiastic supporter of sprint car racing. Over the years, he’s sought other ways to be involved and support the sport he loves including as a maker of clever racing components and tools as well as a race photographer.