INDIANAPOLIS – Dooling Hayward Motorsports has expanded its association with Kevin Thomas Jr., tabbing the Cullman, Ala., native to drive the team’s midget for the remainder of the season.
Thomas will wheel the famed No. 63 in the remaining 18 USAC P1 Insurance National Midget Series races on the calendar, as he continues his pursuit of both the USAC sprint car and midget titles.
The news comes after Thomas took over the seat of the Dooling Hayward No. 63 sprint car in mid-April at the Kokomo Grand Prix. He has since driven that machine to a pair of victories, claiming a Midwest Sprint Car Series event at Gas City I-69 Speedway on May 4 and the King of Kokomo sprint car feature at Kokomo Speedway on May 6.
Thomas will debut behind the wheel of the No. 63 Stanton-powered Spike Chassis mount for co-owners Joe Dooling and Brodie Hayward during Indiana Midget Week, which kicks off May 29 at Montpelier Motor Speedway.
“I can’t thank Joe (Dooling) and Brodie (Hayward) enough for their unconditional support,” said Thomas. “They only had one condition for me with this deal, and that was that we have fun doing it. I can tell you already, I’m definitely having fun.
“I’m beyond grateful. Winning is always the goal for me, and right now I’m incredibly blessed to be surrounded by so many great people,” Thomas added. “I’ve worked hard to get where I’m at, and I couldn’t do it without people like Joe and Brodie, and everyone else who’s helped me get to this point. Racing is full of highs and lows, and right now I’m fortunate to be on a major high. This is an exciting time and I’m ready to bring Joe, Brodie and everyone on this team a lot of checkered flags this season.”
Dooling expanded on the “fun” requirement and noted he’s optimistic about what Thomas brings to the organization.
“We like to have fun and we enjoy being at the races,” said Dooling, the president of Dooling-Hayward Motorsports. “Trust me though, we like winning too, and we believe Kevin checks both of those boxes.
“He’s already proven himself to us in the sprint car, and we decided to carry that (success) over and let him run the midget too. He’s competitive beyond measure and gives 100 percent at each race. We’re enthusiastic about this partnership and where things are headed in the future for our team.”
Thomas will continue to drive the Dooling-Hayward sprint car, which will be housed at his personal shop in Brownsburg, Ind., in local and non-USAC shows around the Midwest when he’s not fulfilling his obligations on the AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Car Series trail for Hoffman Auto Racing.
Thomas’ schedule for the year has now grown to more than 80 races, including roughly 60 events under the Dooling-Hayward banner, split between the team’s midget and sprint car.
“For this relationship to continue to grow the way it has, I couldn’t be happier. I feel like it’s a great pairing and is one of the best opportunities I’ve had,” noted Thomas. “Much like me, these guys just want to go racing … and I consider that a great fit. We’re all passionate about the sport and about what we do, and I feel like that makes it work really well for all of us.”
“This year has turned into so much more than I could have ever anticipated,” Thomas admitted. “It’s a surreal feeling, really.”
Tanner Thorson was originally announced as the driver of the Dooling Hayward midget in December at the annual PRI Trade Show and competed at the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals in January for the team, but confirmed to SPEED SPORT via text message that he is no longer driving for the organization.
Thorson respectfully declined further comment about the situation. He will continue to pilot the No. 3C Tri-C Motorsports sprint car for Clyde Lamar on the West Coast, while also running select NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races for Young’s Motorsports this year.
Jason McDougal will fill the seat of the No. 15 Petry Motorsports midget that Thomas was originally going to contest the full USAC schedule in.