Kris VanGilder: Remembering the ISP Founder

Kris VanGilder: Remembering the ISP Founder

Kris VanGilder, the former owner of ISP Seats, passed away suddenly on Monday, June 5. Many will remember him for his incredible knowledge of seats, but even more so for his fervent passion for safety.

“His passing is a shock to all of us,” said John “Ziggy” Zeggert, who co-owns ISP Seats with his wife, Kimberly. “Kris was extremely knowledgeable about the racing industry. He had a plethora of information and ideas. He was driven to make sure that in a catastrophic situation a driver was as safe as possible.”

VanGilder’s beginnings in the sport date back to working on the team of 1989 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Rob Moroso. He later went to work for ButlerBuilt. VanGilder actively participated in sled testing and various aspects of seat manufacturing.

Then, he started ISP 18 years ago. Zeggert, who worked for VanGilder, purchased the company four years ago, with VanGilder staying on staff.

“The feedback that Kris collected from teams and groups helped us improve our product tremendously,” said Zeggert. “Kris innovated seat design and used foam to absorb kinetic energy. Today, what we do is what Kris started.”

VanGilder designed seats specifically for the respective discipline of motorsport.

“Kris was concerned with the driver and the application of the seat first,” Zeggert said. “For example, he had different concepts for a road racer, a dirt modified, a racing boat, or a monster truck. He took all things into consideration for each type of racing.”

According to ISP Seats, VanGilder’s “most grand memory, and rightfully so, was watching Ryan Newman walk out of the hospital with his children, after his horrific wreck in Daytona. Knowing that Ryan’s seat was designed by Kris gives him tremendous joy.”

Kris VanGilder was 57 years old. Hartsell Funeral Home in Midland, North Carolina, will host a funeral service on Saturday, June 10, at 11 a.m.