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Neil Van Zile is a motorsports journalist and photographer. Van Zile began his career in that field in 1991 as a freelancer covering various automotive and motorsports events in the New England area for the Motorsports Forum on CompuServe.com
Van Zile's interest in drag racing began in the early 1960s when he saw the sport for the first on ABC's Wide World Of Sports television show. A few years later, New England Dragway South at Norwood Arena opened and the racing could be heard from Neil's house in Westwood, MA., but his parents were unwilling to take him to the track to see the racing. In 1978, Neil was finally able to get to New England Dragway for the first time with some friends for a Funny Cars Under The Stars event, and he was hooked.
Van Zile's racing history is minimal and consists entirely of a total of eight time-trials passes down the quarter-miles at New England Dragway and Lebanon Valley Dragway in the mid-1990s.
After a series of dead-end jobs in his youth, Van Zile pursued a career as an automotive technician beginning in 1984. He worked at various repair shops in and around The Automile in Norwood, MA. In 1991 Van Zile began to work part-time as a freelance journalist and photographer and in 1994 he took this on as his full-time vocation as Van Zile Views Photographic. Van Zile wrote articles for a number of print magazines, including Scale Auto Enthusiast, Plastic Fanatic, FineScale Modeler, Popular Hot Rodding, and Bracket Racing USA, among others. He also joined the editorial staff of Cruisin' New England Magazine.
Van Zile's work as a motorsports journalist and photographer began in 1992 when he became a reporter for the Motorsports Forum on the Compuserve online service. Van Zile covered a wide range of events for the Motorsports Forum, including oval track, dirt track, and quarter-mile drag races. In 1994, a chance meeting at a local film lab with Richie Coury of RC Videos gave Van Zile the opportunity to work on a regular basis trackside at New England Dragway in Epping, NH. Van Zile's photography area expanded when RC Videos secured a contract to supply video and photography at Lebanon Valley Dragway in West Lebanon, NY. Boston-area contractor Vincent Barletta had recently signed a long-term lease agreement with that tracks owner, Howard Commander, and Barletta had invested a significant amount of time and money to make improvements and upgrades to the facility.
In 1996, Van Zile moved to Westmoreland, NH, located halfway between New England Dragway and Lebanon Valley Dragway.
Van Zile continued to work as the track photographer at both tracks for a number of years. In 1999, Van Zile married Julie Voss and his new wife became ill later that year. That illness resulted in her becoming permanently disabled and that forced Van Zile to discontinue his freelance work and secure full-time employment. He worked for a year as the Motorsports Parts Sales Manager at Sonnax in Bellows Falls, VT. In late 2000, Van Zile began work for a small internet start-up which eventually failed. Van Zile was then hired by that company's only client, Thomson Reuters, as an Editorial Content Manager and held that job until early 2019.
In 2020, Van Zile re-started his freelance business as Van Zile Views (without the Photographic) and expanded into motorsports marketing. He also re-booted another earlier business venture, Nitro Neil Guitars, building and repairing electric guitars. Van Zile Views' current clients include The Hot Rods From Hell, Primetime Video and Photography, Hot Cars Magazine, Camco Racing Engines, The Orientals Hot Rod Club's New England Hot Rod Hall of Fame, and Model Car Builder Magazine .
Van Zile has been a scale model builder since the age of five, primarily focused on automotive subjects, and drag racing subjects in particular. In 1988 Van Zile founded the MassCar Model Club in Massachusetts.
1989 - ASE Certified
1995 - Third Place Award - American Society of Media Photographers, New England Chapter Annual Big Picture Awards
1996 - Grand Prize Winner - NHRA National Dragster Photo of the Year
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