Brownstown racer finding success with own chassis brand

When Ryan Thomas decided to take on the challenge of building his own open wheel modified cars, he probably never dreamed it would take off like it has.

Thomas, 38, lives in Brownstown and operates Diamond Race Cars, a chassis building company that builds cars for customers all over the country.

He races regularly at Bloomington Speedway on Friday nights and Brownstown Speedway on Saturday nights. Usually, he also hits all of the high-paying modified shows in the Midwest.

Thomas started racing motocross at age 5. He continued until age 10. He then began racing dirt stock cars in the super stock class at age 16 in the years 1998, 1999 and 2000. His first year in the modified division was 2001.

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Thomas then raced an American Made chassis modified for three years. He raced a Pierce chassis from 2004 to 2008.

In June 2008, Thomas built his first dirt modified race car in his garage near Martinsville. By the end of 2009, he had built four cars for local customers, all of which had scored wins.

When word soon got out that Thomas was building a quality product that was consistently getting wins for its drivers, business began to pick up.

With 15 cars on the track by the end of the 2010 racing season, Thomas knew it was his time to shine in the motorsports industry.

Diamond Race Cars was formed, and he leased a facility in Gosport. In 2015, the business moved to Seymour to be more centrally located with the dirt racing community and near an interstate.

After quickly outgrowing that facility, a new facility was built on 5 acres near Brownstown in 2016. Diamond Race Cars has manufactured more than 250 cars for drivers in 10 different states across the Midwest.

“I have car No. 258 on the jig now. When I started in 2008, out of my 24-by-24 garage, I now have a 50-by-80 shop with three employees,” he said. “We have built over 20 cars since late September, and pretty much most of them are new customers.”

Besides Indiana, Thomas has two other chassis dealers in Ohio and Michigan selling his product.

Thomas, like everyone else involved in racing, gave his thoughts on the COVID-19 restrictions.

“The coronavirus has affected us in every aspect because of not being able to get parts,” he said. “Dirt track racing has come to a screeching halt, and customers and racers in general are scared of what’s going on or what lies ahead. I think if we can get back sooner than later, dirt racing will come back stronger than ever.”

Eldora’s promoter earns honor

Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, is honored to announce promoter and general manager Roger Slack was named Auto Racing Promoter of the Year during last month’s 47th Annual RPM Workshops in Daytona Beach, Florida.

The honor, awarded for the 44th consecutive year by Racing Promotion Monthly, is selected by promoters of more than 1,200 speedways, dragways and road courses across North America.

The 36th annual Kings Royal was voted Outstanding Annual Short-Track Event of the Year. Previously honored in 1997, the Kings Royal is the first event to earn the prestigious accolade twice.

“This is a tremendous honor to be able to accept this award on behalf of our entire team at Eldora,” said Slack, who garnered more than 73% of the ARPY votes during the final round of balloting. This is voted on by the industry, and to be recognized like this is very humbling. I am very fortunate to have my family and so many friends here to share in this. It’s incredible.

“Eldora has such a great history, and our entire team, sometimes as many as 400 to 500 at our biggest events, earned this honor with their hard work and welcoming nature. They are all so dedicated, and we’re fortunate that Tony (Stewart) continues to provide us with the resources to grow Eldora and continue the legacy built by Earl and Berneice (Baltes).”

Brownstown opener on hold

The No Way Out 40 scheduled for tonight at Brownstown Speedway has been canceled.

At this time, the track is unsure when the event will be rescheduled this season.

“We do understand that Gov. Holcomb’s stay-at-home order is through April 7. We will make a statement concerning the April 4 race next week as we remain hopeful that something may change,” track officials said.

There will up-to-date information on the upcoming 2020 race schedule available when necessary at

Lawrenceburg opener off

Lawrenceburg Speedway has canceled its opening race scheduled for April 4.

The USAC National Sprint Car Series was to make its 2020 Midwest debut that night. No makeup date was announced.

For continuous updates on the racing schedule, visit

Florence Spring 50 postponed again

The Spring 50 for late models rescheduled for tonight at Florence Speedway in Union, Kentucky has been delayed again.

The race was originally scheduled for March 7 but was weathered out. No immediate makeup date has announced.

The 2020 schedule at Florence has been put on hold for the time being. For the latest info, visit

This week in racing history

From 2000, Brownstown Speedway held the Indiana Icebreaker with Don O’Neal taking the win over John Gill, Rick Aukland, Greg Johnson and Steve Barnett. Josh Lucas was victorious in the modified feature over Matt Boknecht, Wes Steidinger, Adam Sasser and Tim Dierlam. The bomber feature was taken by Matt Bex over Ray Godsey Jr., Tony Mahoney, Matt Cummings and John Phelps.

From 10 years ago, Jimmy Owens won the Indiana Icebreaker at Brownstown over Earl Pearson Jr., Scott Bloomquist, Bart Hartman and Don O’Neal. Devin Gilpin took the modified main event, winning over Matt Hamilton, Clint DeMoss, Ryan Thomas and Matt Bex. The super stock feature went to Chris Hillman over Steve Peeden, Tyler Cain, Jeremy Hines and Tim Clark. The bomber main event went to Keaton Streeval as he took the win over Josh Turner, Aaron Fields, Kevin Applegate and Nathan Baker.

James Essex writes a motorsports notebook for The Republic, a sister publication to The Tribune. Send comments to lfreedman@

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