STRASBURG, Colo. (Nov. 21, 2023) – What started as the You Only Die Once, You Live Every Day Tour ended with John Thomas earning rookie of the year in the Southern Region for IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stocks.
Thomas made 23 of his 38 starts in his native state of Arizona, ending up with four feature wins and 20 top five finishes.
“What I liked best about being in a Hobby Stock was the competitors,” said Thomas, 58, who also raced in New Mexico, Utah and his adopted state of Colorado. “We’d race hard and we might fight hard, but we’d hug when we were done. And at the end of the season, everyone in the division was faster.”
Guesstimating his last feature win came in a pure stock in 2007, Thomas got back into racing following a health scare and with the full support of girlfriend Meghan Aden. His first sanctioned victory, fittingly, came on June 3, her birthday, at Central Arizona Raceway.
“That was my highlight of the season and not because it was my first win, but because it was on Meghan’s birthday,” he said. “I drove as hard as I ever had that night.”
After buying a turnkey ride out of Phoenix last fall and putting in a new seat, Thomas kicked off his rookie season at Cocopah Speedway’s IMCA.TV Winter Nationals, finishing seventh in points after qualifying for the first three features with the wrong size axle.
“Cocopah and the IMCA.TV Winter Nationals were my absolute favorites,” said Thomas, third in weekly point standings at Somerton. “Everybody shows up there and it’s like we have a party that’s two weeks long.”
“The track prep is second to none,” he added. “It’s smooth and it’s fast.”
Getting faster in his sophomore season tops Thomas’ to-do list. He’s already bought a new car and has plans to race closer to home in Colorado and Nebraska next year,
“It seems like we had a lot of second-place finishes this year,” said Thomas, fourth in Southern Region standings. “If more of our races had been 15 laps and not 20, I would have had more wins.”
His 2024 plans also include a trip to the IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s.
“We were not able to make it to Boone this year,” Thomas said. “We will be racing there next year come hell or high water.”
Top Five Finishes 20
HIS CREW: Girlfriend Meghan Aden.
HIS SPONSORS: Wild Wolf Kettle Korn LLC of Strasburg, Colo., and Glendale, Ariz.; Grease Monkey of Centennial, Colo.; Grammy’s Peanut Brittle and More of Parker, Colo.; 3widedesigns of Arizona of Peoria; J Pollock Electric of Glendale, Ariz.; Arizona Differential by Nate of Phoenix; and DRD Graphics of Mesa, Ariz.