LUKE Weel helped John Vogels work on his sprintcar for years, never anticipating they'd be become rivals on the race track.
Weel was content racing his wingless sprint and helping Vogels in the pits.
But an opportunity to drive for Redlac Racing, a new team on the Australian circuit, arose ahead of the 2021-22 season.
"Me and my wife (Kirste) run a wingless and I was offered a drive in a sprintcar," the Warrnambool-based Weel said.
"It is something we'd never afford to do, so to be offered an opportunity like that I tried to take it with both hands."
"I used to be a crew member for John for the past 10 or so years," he said.
"I will try to take little bits and pieces I've learned. It is good to pick his brain."
Weel, 29, made his Redlac Racing debut in Mount Gambier and will compete in Max's Race at Premier Speedway on December 18.
The Nirranda premiership footballer said it was "a pretty big step" jumping from a wingless sprint to a 410 sprintcar.
"I pretty much have to forget everything I've learned in the last 12 or so years and start fresh," he said.
"They handle completely differently and go a helluva lot faster. It is just going to take a fair bit of getting used to.
"It is pretty daunting to step into something like that so it was good to get a few clean laps (in Mount Gambier)."
Weel finished 13th in the A-Main in his first attempt.
"There were only 25 cars so it was a nice small meeting to start off with," he said.
"We kept our nose clean and passed a couple of cars.
"There will be a fair few more cars there (for Max's Race) but I'll be a rookie so I'm starting from the rear of our heat races."
Racing is a major part of the Weels' summers.
The racer said Kriste was excited for his new challenge.
"It is something we do together, it's a bit of a hobby and something we enjoy and at this time of year it's our favourite thing to do," Weel said of the sport.
He is grateful to his new team for taking a chance on him.
"There's three people - Tam Lumsden, John Bellato and Clint Baker - who have come together and wanted to go sprintcar racing and that's where I come into it," Weel said.
"They have all been involved in our teams in bits and pieces and they just wanted to have their own deal."
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.