COMMERCE, Ga. - - Owning and racing on the NHRA Winston Championship Drag Racing circuit is the culmination of dreams come true for Sam Tompkins, from Atlanta, Ga., owner and driver of the Tompkins Motorsports Chevy S-10 Pro Stock Truck. Returning to competition at the Advance Auto Parts Nationals which unfolds this weekend at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Ga., Tompkins has another dream: To qualify and then make a good performance before the hometown fans at his hometown track .
Sam Tompkins’ dreams for the future began at the age of ten when he was exposed to the electric excitement of the sport of drag racing. Traveling with friends and an adult mentor, Tompkins saw his first drag race in Colonial Beach, Va. Dreams were immediately build on this one thrilling experience - - to include the decision concerning his college major; his later transition into entrepreneurship and dedication to community service; and finally, his desire to compete with the elite of NHRA drag racing. It paved the way for the many accomplishments in Tompkins’ later life.
In 1992, another dream got off the drawing board said Tompkins, “My business was going well, but I had another dream. I wanted to expose area at-risk youth to some of the real life examples of how they could succeed.”
Tompkins idea developed into what is now known as Another Way Out, Inc. (AWO). The Atlanta-based AWO provides mentoring and intervention activities for youth of primarily single parent homes, pairs adult role models with at-risk youth, exposes youth to career and social alternatives, serves as a conduit to others available community resources, and provides on the job training and employment opportunities.
On Friday, starting at 11:30 p.m., Tompkins, with major sponsorship and support from Advance Auto Parts, will host a large number of youth and their mentors from the AWO program at the Atlanta Dragway track. As a result of the association of Advance Auto Parts with AWO, Tompkins will carry the Advance Auto Parts logo on the side of his Chevy S-10 Pro Stock Truck and his trailer.
The AWO program has been recognized for its success by the United Way and the NFL for its contribution to improving the well-being of youth. “One of the most rewarding aspect of AWO is to see one life turned around,” continued Tompkins. “I look forward to hosting the group from AWO on Friday and introducing a new generation of youth to the sport of drag racing.
“With the AWO group watching me, nothing would be greater than to put this Chevy S-10 into the top qualifying spot and then visiting the winner's circle on Sunday. A dream? Yes, maybe. But if you don’t set goals and dream, you will never accomplish much in this life,” added Tompkins, as he began preparation for qualifying which begins on Friday.
Don’t count out Tompkins when he competes at the Advanced Auto Parts Nationals, his dream for this weekend just might come true! Tompkins’ success is not about drag racing as much as it is about how drag racing was the catalyst to make his dreams come true.