One year after winning the Pro Truck track championship at Five Flags Speedway, Grant Thompson is making the jump to Super Late Models in 2021. However, as of now it won’t be on the Gulf Coast.
The Mobile, Alabama racer has joined Apex Motorsports to run the full TUNDRA Super Late Model Series season in Wisconsin, driving for two-time defending ARCA Midwest Tour and four-time TUNDRA champion Casey Johnson, and former ASA Late Model Series champion Travis Dassow.
The two first got connected through a mutual friend at last December’s Snowball Derby, where Thompson impressed those around short track racing with a win in the Pro Truck and a strong run in the Snowflake 100.
“We did pretty good in the Snowflake 100 and he started texting me every day asking what I had planned for this year. I told him not really too much,” Thompson told Speed51. “We got to meet Casey through John Halverson and he told Casey about me a little bit and that how it started.”
“We’re going to run the six races in the TUNDRA series and I can’t thank Casey enough for everything. We started talking to Casey about it and he said we’d love to have you in my car.”
He will be in good company when he heads north to compete in the Badger State. Johnson has won eight championships just in the past three years, scoring three with TUNDRA, two with the ARCA Midwest Tour and at Wisconsin International Raceway, and also winning last year’s Alive For Five Series title.
With Johnson chasing after a fourth-straight TUNDRA title and fifth overall with Larson Motorsports, Thompson is excited not just to race for him, but race against him as well.
“I thought about that and whenever I figured out he was a four-time champion, I was like that’s pretty crazy. I know he’s very talented, to be able to run with him and knowing he’s a four-time champion, I know I’m probably going to have really good equipment under my belt. Racing with him, it’s probably going to be difficult to outrun him but we’ll give it everything we have.”
Even at just 15 years old, Thompson is one of the most well-traveled racers in America. While he has raced at several tracks in the Southeast, he has also ventured out West for Junior Late Model competition with Naake-Klauer Motorsports. He’s also found success out there, winning the Junior Late Model Challenge Camp at Madera Speedway in 2019 and picking up the inaugural Junior Late Model race at Tuscon Speedway last November.
“We’ve had really fortunate opportunities to be with Mike Naake on the West Coast, and to go up there for the Junior Late Model Challenge camp. We won it and did a couple races with them, they have really good stuff. We won that Tuscon, Arizona race out there, that was a big deal for me and my family to go out there and win that.
“We’ve gone out and raced on the West Coast, we’ve drove for Augie Grill and Curt Britt Motorsports on the Gulf Coast. It’s really cool to get to go around the country and race at these different tracks with different crowds of racing that they do. The competition’s always been real high.”
With his Super Late Model debut set for Saturday, May 15 at Wisconsin International Raceway, his biggest goal for the 2021 TUNDRA season is to catch on to the Super Late Model quickly. With Casey Johnson at his side, he feels he will be able to compete at a high level throughout the season.
“I want to be pretty quick with it. This will be the year to get my feet wet in the Super. We’ve ran the Pro car a little bit, but I think hopping in the Super will be crazy with the horsepower and the amount of grip on the tires. I think it will be really good to get a couple top-tens, a couple top-fives hopefully.
“I know with me being in Casey’s equipment, it’s going to be really good. With also racing with Casey, he can give me tips on the tracks we go to. I think we can be pretty quick and improve every race, and maybe even get some top-ten and top-five finishes.”
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51 Photo