Philip Nyssen: Joining the Rookies

By: John Houghton
Delaware Speedway PR

19-year old Philip Nyssen (#51) of Brantford is part of the biggest group of rookie drivers the FT Garage Late Model division has seen in recent memory.  We had the chance to catch up with Philip and his team on practice day to get to know the young driver before he faces the fans and competitors for the first time at the pre-season shootout on May 25.

“I came here as a kid to watch races,” explained Nyssen on practice day.  “It’s a new track [for me], a new place with new cars.  It’s a new challenge.”

Nyseen enters competition with success in his recent history.  He competed the past two seasons at Oshweken Speedway dirt-track where he racked up 5-feature wins and 16 heat race victories in the track’s Thundercar series.

The team was taking it easy on practice day running off-pace on old practice tires as they broke in their brand new crate engine.  After taking it easy throughout the early practice sessions, the team was ultimately able to run lap times faster than other rookie drivers on the track and even approach the speeds necessary to be competitive on the track.

“I’d like to win rookie of the year and at least land in the top-6 in points,” explained a cautious, yet optimistic Nyssen.  “Maybe before the end of the year knock off a win.”

Doing so will prove to be a tall order this season.  When the green flag drops on the pre-season shootout he will be one of six drivers starting season-long journey for the rookie of the year championship.  As well as running against his fellow rookie competitors, he will face off with the best and most experienced drivers Delaware Speedway has to offer.

Philip’s mother, Vicky, was operating the team’s laptop connected to the DelaNET timing and scoring system at practice.  While she was happy to help out at practice, it remains to be seen whether she will be at the track on opening day:  Vicky has never watched her son race.

“I’ve never watched Phil race,” she explained.  “I used to be an emergency room nurse and I’m afraid he’ll get hurt.  That being said, I feel a lot better about this car than in past years.  I’m very pleased with the focus on safety here at Delaware, very happy.  You may just see me in the stands this time.”

Delaware Speedway opens on Friday, May 25 for the pre-season shootout.  The event is a practice event for the drivers to test out their cars in racing conditions and work with the new renovations on the track.  The day features cheap admission for spectators to catch the action.  The following day, the GAW Recycling Enduro Series and Bone Stock Chaos Cars take to the track for their season opener at 2:00 pm.  The season officially begins for the FT Garage Late Models on Friday June 1 at 8:00 pm.