We at InsideDirtRacing.com recognize the contributions made to the sport of dirt racing by those who race in the support classes each week at our local tracks. Their work, dedication and sacrifice are just as great as those who compete in the Late Model divisions. As a result, we hope to shine a spotlight on one of those unsung heroes each week of this season by having them answer eight questions as well as provide other information.
This week’s driver is Tom Huston
Tom Huston loves to race. And the 62-year-old driver doesn’t mind going against the grain just a bit either. While most other competitors in the Thunder & Lightning choose to run machines crafted into car bodies, the Jefferson City resident holds true to the old truck division roots by employing a truck body.
“We’re going to stick with the trucks, my son and I, this year at 411. We’re going to run with the Thunder and Lightning,” Huston says.
And the Hustons have more invested in the weekly events at 411 Motor Speedway. He and his family own TNT Collectibles and Snacks, which has a booth at the track.
1. How long have you been in racing?
“I started running late models at East Bay(Tampa, FL) in 1977. I started doing the trucks at 411 about six years ago.”
2. Why the Thunder & Lightning(truck) class?
“It was sort of by accident. I retired from a sheriff’s department in Florida and I told my wife I was ready to get back into racing. I was looking into the Classics because that seemed like a cool class, it was different. Several times I tried to get one but it would be sold before I got it. Then I went and talked to Doug Sopha, who owned the track at the time, and he asked me to buy a truck from him. He had bought some old (NASCAR)Craftsman Series trucks and was wanting to get that class up and running. It sounded like something different and I liked the idea of being different.
“When my daughter found out I was looking to get back into it she called me over to her house and wrote me a check to pay for the truck. She said ‘you gave up racing for us when we were kids and now it’s my turn to give back to you'”.
3. The best thing about being a race car driver is____.
“Just the enjoyment of doing something I’ve always loved. One of my childhood heroes was Buzzie Reutimann and I got to race him for three years down at East Bay. Once it gets in your system, you just can’t get it out.”
4. Your best moment in racing came when ____.
“I would say there are three. Having a chance to race against Buzzie, finishing third in points the first year of racing my truck after being out of racing for thirty years and two years ago when I had my dad, who was terminally ill with cancer at the time, with me the last part of the season and finishing second in points were probably my best moments.”
5. My biggest dream in racing would be _____.
“My biggest dream in racing would have been racing professionally in NASCAR, and then my son and I racing together, which we have.”
6. What other racer do you admire?
“Dale Earnhardt, Sr. The first race my wife and I went to together in 1978 there was this yellow and blue No. 2 car who didn’t look like he had too many sponsors and I always liked the underdog.”
7. What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re away from the track?
“Spending time with my kids and my grandchildren.”
8. If I wasn’t racing I would be ____.
“Probably a pilot.”