FORT WORTH, Texas (July 19, 2019)
It sometimes takes a lifetime to acquire a car collection to be proud of, but Chris Thompson’s garage reflects his lifetime of car work and worship.
There’s the 1950 Nash that was a precursor to his paint and body profession.
“I’m just a little kid about this tall, and I’m over here sanding this car and putting body filler on it,” he said standing next to the nearly 70-year-old red sedan.
There’s the 1936 Ford where he did his first engine work at nine years old.
“This car here is what got me started working on motors and working on cars. The picture you see…” he said, motioning to a picture on the wall of his shop, “…that’s GoodGuys Hot Rod and Custom Show in Ohio, and that’s me sitting in the rumble seat in 1992.”
You’ve also got the 1953 Studebaker that his dad restored in the early part of this century.
“I can’t leave nothing alone,” he said, staring at the massive motor emerging from the bright red chassis. “Now it’s got a HEMI in it. I’ve been working on that motor for about a year-and-a-half, the car for two years.”
Each of those three cars at some point left the family, but Thompson was able to track them down and bring them home.
The car in the middle of the shop never got the chance to leave.
It’s the one everyone at Universal Technical Institute Friday Night Drags knows Thompson for and the one he won the 2017 Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Modified Division in, the 1932 Ford Coupe, black with orange and yellow flames firing down the side from a bright yellow grille.
“It’s 6-7 seconds of, you’re just shifting through gears and like a blink you’re done,” he said. “You can’t wait to go around again and do it again.”
It’s the oldest car in the field each week at Friday Night Drags, half show car/half hot rod, and it’s certainly a fan favorite.
“There’s a whole lot of people cheering, and that’s where I get my kicks. It’s something different. I get a kick out of other people enjoying it.”
Like so many others in his garage, this car has family ties. It was his dad’s, then Chris got it and vowed to put more miles on it as a daily driver. Turns out, though, a ’32 isn’t the most comfortable ride.
“It’s just about how much of this bouncing around you can take,” he laughed, miming bouncing around the front seat. “It doesn’t drive like a new car. It drives like an old car. Some of those things you don’t want to sit in for a long time. Drive it a little less, make it a little faster, that’s what I’ve been doing. Enjoy it a little more.”
He’s been enjoying it plenty, and at Drags he embraces the whole experience, not just the six seconds from loud pedal to brake pedal.
“We’re all car guys,” he said. “We all like to josh with each other and have a good time. It is what it is. Talk the smack and have a good time doing it.”
Oh, and as for the ’53 Studebaker, it’d be smart to keep an eye on that one.
“I got an itch. I gotta have something fast, and I can’t leave nothing alone, and this is proof,” he said, pointing back at it. “You’ll see this car out there next year. If you don’t, kick me in the butt, but I gotta get it done.”
Early warning for the rest of his division; that thing’s got a HEMI, and it’s scheduled for a 2020 debut. As for the ’32 Coupe? A little time to rest and recoup are in its future.
Give it a break, run the crap out of this one (1953 Studebaker) for awhile, enjoy this one, then go back to that one,” Thompson said.
Whichever car makes the trip to Texas Motor Speedway, Thompson’s turning family history into family legacy at Friday Night Drags.
Round Five of the six-week journey starts with gates and grandstands opening at 6 p.m.
Competitors can practice from 6 p.m. – 8:15 p.m. while other car lovers bring their rides for the In-N-Out Show-N-Shine car show.
Competition kicks off at 9:15 p.m.
UTI Friday Night Drags competitors must be 18 or older to participate with the entry fee being $20 per week. All vehicles must pass pre-race inspection, and all drivers must wear an approved helmet. Helmets can be rented at Texas Motor Speedway for $10 per night.
Spectator tickets may be purchased at Gate 6 at $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12. Parking is free outside Gate 6 or $20 in the infield. Coolers are allowed in both the grandstands and the infield.
The Torchy’s Tacos located in the TMS infield will be open for each event from 6 p.m. – 11 p.m.
The 2019 Universal Technical Institute Friday Night Drags schedule is:
For more information, CLICK HERE.
About Texas Motor Speedway
Texas Motor Speedway, with a crowd capacity in excess of 190,000, is among the largest sports stadiums in the United States and features an array of amenities such as the world’s largest TV that make it one of the premier venues in the world of sports. The 1.5-mile superspeedway located in Fort Worth hosts all three NASCAR national series as well as the NTT IndyCar Series among its various races and specialty events throughout the year. Since opening in 1997, Texas Motor Speedway has generated an annual economic impact of approximately $300 million to the North Texas region. Texas Motor Speedway is owned and operated by Speedway Motorsports, Inc., a publicly traded company that is a leading marketer and promoter of motorsports entertainment in the United States. For more information, please visit texasmotorspeedway.com.
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