By Clayton Johns (@cjohnsmedia)
Five-time CASCAR Super Series champion Don Thomson Jr. has announced he will be competing with the OSCAAR Super Late Model tour on a part-time basis in 2013.
The Hamilton, Ont. native will drive a Fitzpatrick Motorsports-prepared chassis purchased from Len Couvillon, of which he is part owner. Thomson will drive his traditional car #4 for the first time at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) Speedway on June 1. He is hoping to make at least two more appearances later in the season, with a possibility of running both events at the Don Biederman Memorial on June 29 and June 30.
“Nothing is set in stone, it’s pending. At this point, I’m thinking (CTMP) oval, Flamboro, and Sunset,” said Thomson. As far as Autumn Colours, if we’re still in good shape, and I’m still in good shape, maybe I can sneak that one in too.”
Thomson retired from the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series (NCATS) at the end of the 2011 season, choosing to take a position as the crew chief for J.R. Fitzpatrick instead. The short-track expert said he would like to compete in more events, but conflicts with the NCATS schedule prevent it.
Thomson’s only other OSCAAR appearance was in 2005 at Peterborough Speedway’s Autumn Colours Classic where he won in a car previously owned by Bill Zardo. He has not set foot in a Super Late Model since October 9, 2005.
“When I ran that OSCAAR race years ago, I always liked the way they treated me,” said Thomson. “I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend. Whether I won or not, it didn’t matter. I liked the group of guys.”
The opportunity to get back in to a Super Late Model will fulfill a life-long desire and allow Thomson to stroke another item from his bucket list.
“For me, growing up I always wanted to run Super Late Models,” said Thomson. “When I went to Flamboro every weekend and ran my street stock or late model, the Super Late Model class was pretty healthy. I’ve always loved the series. My path changed and I decided to go to CASCAR, but I always kind of liked Super Late Models.”
Thomson has considerable experience at CTMP Speedway (previously Mosport) throughout his CASCAR/NCATS career, but isn’t sure he’ll have a leg up on the competition.
“I don’t think it’ll be an advantage. Where I’m behind is the racecars themselves,” explained Thomson. “They’re evolved a lot since I last ran. Last time I ran OSCAAR we were on a pretty conventional setup and the car worked decent. Now, with guys on bump stops, I have no experience yet with stuff like that.”
Thomson will be teammates with J.R. Fitzpatrick for each event the two compete in, but he isn’t sure what to expect of the first time the two have battled as teammates since 2010.
“We’re both pretty competitive guys,” said Thomson. “I know when we raced against each other in the CASCAR/NCATS series, we used to give J.R.’s dad (John Fitzpatrick) fits.”
Thomson did, however, reassure the two have always raced one another clean.
“We always give each other lots of room out there. We’ll race each other like we always have. There won’t be any shenanigans between us two.”
While Thomson dominated his only OSCAAR start back in 2005, he is well aware of the competition he will face in the ultra-competitive series this year.
“It’s not going to be a cake walk. I’m not a spring chicken anymore,” joked Thomson. “I turned 50 last year. Like anything, you’ve got some new and young and exciting kids with a ton of talent. They’re the future of our sport.
“Us 50-year-olds, we’re kind of winding down. I don’t think I have as much piss and vinegar as some of these young guys like J.R. He’s a pretty good driver. When I was 25, I was pretty good too, I think.”
Thomson has yet to secure sponsorship for his OSCAAR endeavours in 2013, but is still welcoming marketing opportunities. For more information, please email email@example.com.