Thomson's Triple Don Thomson reflects on his third-straight CASCAR National title LONDON, ON On Saturday night Don Thomson will be honoured for the third year in a row as the champion of the CASCAR Super Series. He will join Dave Whitlock as the...
Don Thomson reflects on his third-straight CASCAR National title
LONDON, ON On Saturday night Don Thomson will be honoured for the third year in a row as the champion of the CASCAR Super Series. He will join Dave Whitlock as the only other racer to have been the centre of attention at three year-end banquets. The black-tie affair will take place in the Hilton hotel in downtown London.
Thomson's 2003 National championship had a much different look to it than the ones he earned in 2001 and 2002. For starters, the Home Hardware Chevy driver didn't win a feature race in '03, much to his chagrin. But that was understandable given that he participated in the season's closing events in cars that were either borrowed or had been previously spurned by the team as being 'sub-par', due to the theft of the team's cars and equipment just hours prior to the race at Autodrome St-Eustache, in mid-August.
But in the end, the lack of feature wins and the heartbreaking theft couldn't keep Thomson from his goal. The Hamilton, ON resident finished the season 39-points ahead of second-place championship finisher Kerry Micks, who himself completed the 12-event campaign just 25 markers in front of 2002 runner-up DJ Kennington.
As though Thomson's three-straight National titles are impressive enough, he adds them to the CASCAR Eastern championships he won in 1999 and 2000. Taken together, the veteran racer has captured five consecutive major CASCAR championships. And by winning three National titles in a row, Thomson earned another unique distinction; Whitlock's titles came over the course of several seasons ('91, '97 & '98).
Asked why he has been so successful for so long, Thomson didn't hesitate. "As far as I'm concerned, it has a lot to do with John Fitzpatrick and this whole operation. We have a great race team and John obviously puts a lot of effort into the team. Allowing me to work there full-time and whenever we need something, John buys it."
Looking back on what made the 2003 season memorable for him, Thomson replied, "I guess the biggest thing that makes this championship so special is that we had all of our stuff stolen and we were able to rebound and hang together. Although we weren't as strong after our stuff got stolen, we still ran pretty good. This championship has to go to the team because after everything was stolen, man they worked hard."
Speaking of the bond that exists between the members of the CASCAR community, Thomson discussed being just the latest person to find out how deep the camaraderie truly runs.
"We wouldn't have won this championship if DJ [Kennington] hadn't loaned us that car [at St-Eustache]. It just shows what great people are involved in CASCAR. Everybody talks about it as one big family that travels from race-to-race, and really, in a way it is. There isn't anybody in the pits who we wouldn't help. And it showed at St-Eustache that everybody was willing to help us. We got radios off [Kerry] Micks and radios off [Peter] Gibbons. Everybody pitched in together and made that day special for us.
"We learned again that CASCAR people are great to race with and are awesome people. Even though you're out there bumping and grinding and maybe giving each other 'the bird', when you get off the racetrack you know everyone are just super people."
In closing, Thomson was asked to put his three consecutive National titles into perspective, as far as what it means to he and the team. "It feels pretty special that I've done something that nobody else has done, and that's win three titles in a row. It just shows how strong Fitzpatrick Motorsports is as a team. I've been more excited about winning this year than others years just because of everything we went through. The fact that we still did it-- man, that's a great feeling."