Gainesville: Tompkins Motorsport preview

Gainesville, Fla. - - Sam Tompkins, from Atlanta, owner and driver of the Tompkins Motorsports Chevy S-10 Pro Stock Truck, will make his long awaited season debut this weekend at the Mac Tools Gatornationals being held March 15-18 at Gainesville...

Gainesville, Fla. - - Sam Tompkins, from Atlanta, owner and driver of the Tompkins Motorsports Chevy S-10 Pro Stock Truck, will make his long awaited season debut this weekend at the Mac Tools Gatornationals being held March 15-18 at Gainesville Raceway.

"We're really excited about this season," said Tompkins. " We've used the off season to prepare for our season start here at Gainesville. We tested in January with Jerry Haas and continued to fine tune the chassis. Jerry has been an asset in the progress that we have made since last season.

"We feel we will have the best opportunity that we have ever had to qualify this weekend. During the off season we purchased a brand new Panella Motorsports engine. This new engine, coupled with the rebuilt Panella Motorsports engine we purchased near the end of last season, should give us the power to compete with anybody.

"We've changed the gear ratios in the transmission and rear end so that they are more compatible with the power curve of the new engine. Also, at Gainesville, we will be working with Dave Buttner on a new clutch program.

"Win, loose or draw this season. I can't thank or say enough about the assistance Jerry Haas and his crew, Bob Panella, Sr., and Bob Panella, Jr. and his team have giving to our program. I will always be grateful."

Once again, due to lack of a marketing partner and their sponsorship, Tompkins Motorsports will be running a limited schedule on the NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. "It takes many dollars to fund the Tompkins Motorsports program. Since I fund the program personally, I must be judicious with my dollars. Therefore, I must choose the races I run and limit my overall participation. I would love to run the full national event schedule, but to do so I must have some outside monetary support," added Tompkins.

During the off season, Tompkins has also been hard at work with Another Way Out (AWO), making appearances at many school and community functions. As the founder and CEO of AWO, an intervention and mentoring program, Tompkins is making a difference in the community. According to Tompkins, his purpose in establishing AWO was to provide help and create alternatives for "at-risk" youth. Tompkins, through the AWO mentoring program, wants to introduce young people to a variety of career options.

He utilizes his Chevy S-10 truck as a visual tool to convey his goal setting message. Through "hands-on" experience with motorsports, Tompkins teaches them about the finer points of drag racing, planning outings for AWO youth to actually observe, firsthand, this dynamic, spellbinding sport.

AWO is supported with monetary donations from United Way, corporate support from major companies including Advance Auto Parts, individual donations, and community fund raising. For their support of AWO, Tompkins carries the logos of United Way and Advance Auto Parts on his truck and trailer as his way of saying, "thank you."

Qualifying for the Mac Tools Gatornationals begins Friday for all professional classes with two sessions and concludes on Saturday with two additional sessions. Final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. (ET) on Sunday.

-M Schultz

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Bob Panella , Jerry Haas