Bristol, Tennessee (3/24/2020) 21 Seconds. Curtis Thomas found out the hard way in Saturday’s Bristol Dirt Nationals finale that that’s all it takes to take a promising run in one of the most prestigious races in the nation and completely turn it upside down. Thomas, a relatively local racer from just a couple of hours away in Knoxville, Tennessee was having a run of a lifetime aboard his 2013 Masterbilt chassis when the accident occured.
From 5th on the starting grid in Saturday’s Main Event, Thomas had dropped a couple of spots before tragedy struck. As the field came around to start Lap 2, two cars got together in front of Thomas, spinning wildly before collecting Thomas and sending him for a hard impact into the inside barrier. The crash would end Thomas’s week but won’t keep him from racing for long. “We’re pulling the motor out of this one and putting it back in our other car for the Castrol race at 411 Thursday so we won’t be down long.” remarked Thomas.
A self described low budget racer, Thomas’s car and team are primarily based out of his cousin’s garage. “That was my personal car I wrecked at Bristol but my cousin has a car I drove for him last year. He’s gonna let me drive again until we get this one back from Masterbilt. This is going to be the same car that I sat the track record at 411 in for the hangover race back in January, so hopefully we can pick back up where we left off in it. Even with what happened this week, it wasn’t bad for a little team racing out of my cousins block garage haha. I’ll take it.”said Thomas after his Lap 2 crash.
Barring his wreck in the finale, Thomas had put together a stellar week at Bristol. Though he had a rough heat race on Night 1, Thomas drove from his 15th spot on the starting grid to claim a Top 5 in Tuesday’s rain delayed preliminary feature.
Thomas would carry that momentum into Wednesday, as he held off a hard charging Colton Trouille to win an exciting heat race. Thomas was scheduled to roll off 2nd in that night’s preliminary feature, but time constraints would push it to Thursday.
With Thursday a complete washout, Friday’s main would be lined up off points for the day and a half of racing the class was able to get in, lining Thomas up to start 5th. The 24 car field would take the green flag and as you know just 21 seconds later, Thomas’s Bristol Dirt Nationals would come to an abrupt end.
When asked about his thoughts on the event as a whole, Thomas said: “I’ve grown up around racing and watching my dad as I was growing up. I’ve been to a lot of different tracks and events over the years and this trip has topped them all! My late Papaw took me to both the races here where they covered the track in dirt before and as a kid I never thought I’d get the chance to go and do that and just to get the opportunity to do it and run as good as we did is just a dream come true. It’s been a long week and a lot of late nights and little sleep but definitely worth every minute. I can’t thank everyone, especially my uncle Randy and cousin Brad enough for helping make this happen!”
Curtis Thomas would like to thank all of his sponsors and supporters for making this once in a lifetime experience happen, including:
Premier Services Group
US 411 Storage
Smoky Mountain Rod & Custom
Competition Racing Equipmen
Day 1 Heat: 8th
Day 2 Prelim: 5th
Day 3 Heat: 1st
Day 5 Main Event: 22nd
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