Pre RaceSaver Nationals℠ Interview with Tom Humphries
By Greg Soukup
It’s Sunday, and that means another visit with a driver who participated in the 2016 RaceSaver Nationals℠. This week we speak with Tom Humphries; a 56-year old from Waynesboro, Virginia.
Q: When did you first start racing?
Tom: I started racing go-karts when I was 15 years old. Then I advanced into stock cars in 1985. I raced those for a number of years, running on asphalt. I actually went and ran some….back in the day it was called the Craftsman Truck Series for NASCAR. I did that a little bit off and on for one season. Then I kind of took a break and didn’t run anything. The Virginia Sprint Series had gotten started, and a buddy of mine let me drive his car in a heat race. So, I said to myself “I’ve got to have me one of these!!”. I’ve been hooked on sprint cars ever since. That was in 2000, so I started sprint cars in 2001.
Q: So; you’ve been in the Racesavers since then?
Tom: Yes. That’s what I’ve always run.
Q: Was 2016 your first RaceSaver Nationals℠ at Eagle Raceway?
Tom: We came to the first one, and skipped the second one. We came back for the third year, and I made the A Main the third year. Then this past year I got to the B Main, but that’s as far as I got. I felt good about it though. I was the highest-ranking Virginia car out of all of the VSS guys out there.
Q: So, you like the Racesaver class?
Tom: Oh, yes; yes definitely! I think French did a tremendous job getting together the rules package, getting that straightened out like it is. As long as it’s enforced, it’s the way to go for anybody that’s on kind of a budget. We’re not like the guys with the 410’s and the stuff like that. They’re a World of Outlaws caliber of cars as far as money. But, the Racesavers are definitely the way to go.
Q: Do you think that the Racesaver rules are not strict enough, too strict?
Tom: As long as they’re enforced the way that French has got them, I’m happy with them. I don’t have a problem with any of them. Even with the tire rule; I know a lot of people fussed about that. As long as we’re all on the same tire, I
don’t have a problem with it. It’s a whole lot cheaper than buying a new Hoosier all of the time like the other guys race. I think they’re a good deal.
Q: Did you have a good time at the Nationals?
Tom: We had a good time. I mean I struggled some with the chassis and stuff; and after the Nationals we ended up trading it back in to Eagle. And then recently I’ve been running a Schnee chassis for years and they’ve always done a good job for me. That car, I think had just gotten worn out and we’ve got a new car this year. We’re getting ready to run it this Saturday night for the first time.
Q: Did you enjoy having the chance to run against teams from all over the country?
Tom: Oh yes! I really enjoyed it, and made a lot of friends. A lot of the guys from Texas, as far away as from California. It’s just really neat. The camaraderie is just what’s really neat about it. Everybody looks out for each other and takes care of each other. I think that Roger has done a phenomenal job with the Nationals out there. I just think he does a really great job with the whole thing.
Q: Do you like the track, then?
Tom: Well, that hole in turn one is a little tricky, but yeah. I think I may be the only Racesaver that’s pulled a wheelie down the front straightaway. I clipped one of the infield tires with the left front and it lifted the front of the car up. It carried it all of the way down to turn one when it sat back down. That was quite a deal. I sure put on a good show for the fans.
Q: Do you like the 3-day qualifying format?
Tom: I like it. The year that we made the A we struggled and we made it because we worked our way up and kept working our way up to where we had a good shot at it, and then when we did get in it was a big relief. To tow that far for us, that’s a long drive for us.
Q: You were in it one time. What do you think of the 3-wide start?
Tom: I was on the inside, so it didn’t bother me. I don’t think I would want to be in the middle. I think that would be a little hairy for me.
Q: Anything we haven’t talked about that you want to say to the racers or fans who haven’t made it to the Nationals yet?
Tom: I think that the only thing that I would like to tell them is that if you think the 410’s or the World of Outlaws are the best thing out there, if you come to the Sprint Nationals, and you didn’t know it wasn’t a 410 World of Outlaws race…. the competition is just phenomenal and they put on one HECK of a show.