NASHVILLE, Tenn. — With rain and saturated grounds stifling most of the dirt-track racing in the Midwest, Kevin Thomas Jr. is heading south for a rare winged sprint car appearance this weekend.
Thomas will compete with the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series during the Music City Outlaw Nationals May 31-June 1 at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville.
The paved Nashville oval has been covered with dirt for the weekend, one of two unique challenges for Thomas, who races primarily with the non-winged AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Car Series.
Thomas has converted one of his USAC machines over to winged specs to race at Nashville, something he and co-team owner Brodie Hayward keep a plan for “just in case.”
“We always have a set of wings just sitting there and we like to do it every once in a while, especially with how much we’ve been getting rained out lately,” Thomas told SPEED SPORT. “We just want to go race. All of our non-winged cars are still basically winged cars — they’ve got all the extra pieces on them — so everything’s good once you change the axles and get it ready to go race with the wing on it.
“It’s something that we’re always prepared for, we’re just usually wrapped up in either a Silver Crown car, a (USAC) sprint car or a midget, so we don’t have time to venture out and go do these things,” he added. “The Midwest basically flooding itself opened our schedule though, so we figured, ‘why not?’”
With $40,000 to win on the line if a driver can sweep both nights of the inaugural Outlaw weekend in Nashville, it made sense for Thomas and company to make the trip, especially considering Curb recording artist Tim Dugger, who is performing at the event, is a supporter of Thomas’ team.
“Nashville is a track that we think probably won’t put too much wear and tear on the equipment, so we feel like we can go down and run solid,” Thomas noted. “We run pretty well at Haubstadt (Tri-State Speedway) with the wing, so we figured that between that and the fact that there’s quite a bit of money on the line, we’d go give this deal a shot. It’s always a big deal when you can run with the Outlaws, especially in a city like Nashville that brings a lot of eyes as well.
“There’s definitely been crazier things that we’ve done than this in the past. We should be alright.”
Following his two-day sojourn with the Outlaws, Thomas will return to Indiana to compete in Sunday night’s Kokomo Klassic at Kokomo Speedway with his non-winged sprint car, making for the cap to a busy and diverse three-day weekend for the Cullman, Ala., driver.
“We’ve got our primary non-winged car sitting here ready to go, so once we’re done in Nashville, we’ll come back, load the non-winged car and head over to Kokomo … where I always enjoy running,” Thomas noted.
“The weather’s looking good for all three shows and I’m just excited to do something a little abnormal from what we usually do and hopefully come out with some pretty decent results.”