Dillon Thompson has a simple racing philosophy.
“I like to win everything,” Thompson said. “If we’re out there in hot laps, I like to pass cars. I’m real competitive. I always like to be the first one.”
Fortunately for the 21-year-old from Hastings, Neb., he hasn’t had to deal with not being first much this year in his NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing.
Driving in the Hobby Stock Division at Nebraska’s Junction Motor Speedway, Thompson has collected 10 wins in 11 starts. The only race he didn’t win, he had just taken the lead with two laps remaining when he got a flat tire on the white-flag lap and limped home with a fifth-place finish.
Thompson has been driving a Hobby Stock for eight years. He’d occasionally run Junction, and when the non-NASCAR track he was running last year shut down, he moved over to full-time.
“We’d never really had good luck (at Junction) so we really didn’t know how it was going to go this year,” said Thompson. “I think it’s one of the most competitive classes there is. It’s always close racing and fast cars. It’s just a lot of fun.”
The .375-mile semi-banked oval is one of seven NASCAR Whelen All-American Series tracks that compete on a dirt surface. The others are Nebraska’s I-80 Speedway in Omaha, Iowa’s Adams County Speedway in Corning, Ohio’s Limaland Motorsports Park in Lima, Wisconsin’s Cedar Lake Speedway in New Richmond, Oklahoma’s Salinas Highbanks Speedway, and Pennsylvania’s Grandview Speedway in Bechtesville.
The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division II-V Championship program determines support division national championships. The four national champions will receive a trophy and a trip to the series national awards event. In addition, the top-three dirt and top-three asphalt drivers in each division will be invited to the series awards event.
At season’s end, drivers in Divisions II-V will be ranked by their best 14 NASCAR point race results. The season concludes September 21.
The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Championship Division II-V leaders this week include:
- Division II: 1. Jared Umbenhauer, Grandview Speedway, Bechtelsville, Pa.; 2. Jesse Dennis, I-80 Speedway, Greenwood, Neb., Adams County Speedway, Corning, Iowa; 3. Ryan Robertson, Bowman Gray Stadium, Winston-Salem, N.C.; 4. Brett Kressley, Grandview; 5. Taylor Branch, Bowman Gray.
- Division III: 1. Jerod Weston, I-80, Adams County; 2. John Ketron, Kingsport (Tenn.) Speedway, Lonesome Pine Raceway, Coeburn, Va.; 3. Blain Petersen, I-80, Adams County; 4. Jon Plowman, I-80, Adams County; 5. Josh Galvin, Waterford (Conn.) Speedbowl.
- Division IV: 1. Corey Kyer, Columbus (Ohio) Motor Speedway; 2. Brad Derry, Adams County, I-80; 3. Garrett Denton, Waterford, Thompson; 5. Jimmy Mcelfresh, Kil-Kare, Columbus; 5. AJ Sanders Jr., Bowman Gray, Caraway.
- Division V: 1. Brian King, Anderson (S.C.) Motor Speedway, Greenville (S.C.) Pickens Speedway; 2. Donavan Beacham, Anderson, Greenville; 3. Chris Harvell, Greenville, Anderson; 4. C.J. Huitt Jr., Greenville, Anderson; 5. Brady Walsh, Salia (Okla.) Highbanks Speedway.
Thompson ranks 37th in Division IV. He holds a 57-point lead over Katie Renschler and 58 over David Dembowski at Junction. He’s been so successful, the track has offered an addition $100 for any driver that can beat him.
“It feels good if people are coming to try to beat me,” said Thompson. “It adds a little pressure, But I think it’s a lot of fun. It’s pretty cool.”
Thompson works at a concrete plant in Hastings, but is working on his car nearly every night with his friends and family. He took up racing after his father, starting in go-karts on dirt before moving to a 4-cylinder class when he was 13. He started in the Hobby Stock division when he was 14. With three brothers and two sisters, and friends, Thompson has plenty of support in his racing endeavor.
“They never miss a race,” Thompson said. “They’re always there. At the race track. At the shop.
“I’ve got a couple buddies that I work with on the car. And my family. It takes all of us to be as good as we are.”
Junction runs its NASCAR Whelen All-American Series on Saturday nights, and often the Hobby Stock division runs twice in the program. That doesn’t mean Thompson takes it easy in the first feature for the second. In fact, the one race he didn’t win, he bounced back to end the night in Victory Lane after the second race.
“It’s been an awesome year,” Thompson said.
Under the NASCAR point structure in Divisions I-V, drivers receive two points for every car they finish ahead of in an event, up to 18 cars. Three bonus points will be awarded to a race winner with a single-digit starting position and five bonus points will be awarded to a race winner with a double-digit starting position.
Drivers must be NASCAR-licensed and cars will be verified for display of required series sponsor decals to be eligible for NASCAR points and awards.
– NASCAR IMC press release. Photo credit: Speedshutters/Junction Motor Speedway