For The Tribune
Ryan Thomas is enjoying the spoils of success now more than ever.
The 36-year-old Brownstown driver is without a doubt at the highest point thus far in his racing career.
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He has won nearly half of the 20 events he has entered this season with his newly formed racing team.
The racing veteran made the decision to start racing his self-owned equipment again in 2018, and hasn’t looked back.
He has scored wins in three different states on his rejuvenation campaign.
“I really like having my own stuff again, and racing a lot, and just working really hard at it. Having the car here at my shop (at home) and being able to work on it consistently race consistently ha been huge,” Thomas said.
Thomas owns and operates Diamond Race Cars located in Brownstown.
The company, in its 10th year of business, manufactures winning race cars for customers all over the United States.
The combination of a new design, and successes on the track, has formed continuous growth for the company, Thomas said.
“We have a lot of guys out there winning races right now, not just myself,” Thomas said. “We’ve been averaging four to five wins a weekend with our cars. We have cars in Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Illinois, Michigan, and even down South, all winning races.”
Thomas is quick to acknowledge that being surrounded by great people has been a huge factor in his recent success behind the wheel.
“Deah (Thomas), and we’ve got Craig Cooper, and Stevie (Bechelli). We lay with it every night. All of the pieces are together right now and we have a really good program,” Thomas said.
Thomas and his wife, Deah, are expecting the birth of their first child this fall.
Following a loose racing schedule has allowed Thomas and his team to pick and choose which races they want to compete in, mostly hitting the higher paying races throughout the tri-state region.
Thomas collected a career-high payday on July 4 after winning the 18th annual Firecracker 50 at Shadyhill Speedway in Medaryville, pocketing $3,000 for the feat.
Recollecting on his season, Thomas states that a lesser paying event win stands out the most in his head: His win at Fairbury American Legion Speedway in Fairbury, Illinois.
“I’ve always struggled at that place, but I told my crew lets go over there,” Thomas said. “There were 28 cars, and some really good ones there. We won our heat after qualifying second quick overall. Me and (Mike) McKinney started on the front row and we ended up winning the race by 3.2 seconds, so that’s been one of the most special this year.”
McKinney currently sits second in the DIRTcar Modified National Points standings and has 16 wins on the season.
Nearby Lawrenceburg Speedway hosted the Merrill Downey Memorial on July 7 , posting a $4,444 payday to the special event’s winner.
Thomas and team were on hand for the event which boasts one of the larger purses for the Modified division, confident with their chances for victory.
“We set quick time in our (qualifying) group and they inverted the field, so we ended up starting fifteenth in the feature,” Thomas said.
Thomas finished third in his heat race, which lead to the eighth row starting position.
“There’s a lot of luck in those big paying races. The tracks redraw all night to invert the field, so you can get put behind the eight ball quickly,” Thomas said.
In a hard-fought rally, Thomas marched his way all the way up to the fourth position by the time the checkered flag dropped on the event.
“I would rather have some luck and have races like that than to just not have races like that,” chuckled Thomas.