Roots Racing: SCCA Thompson Time Trials Tour Returns Series To Site Of First Event In 1945

When the Sports Car Club of America’s Tire Rack Time Trials National Tour hits the road course Friday and Saturday at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park it will mark a return to the roots for the 76-year old racing series. 

Literally a return to where SCCA competition began. 

Thompson Speedway opened in 1940. On July 22, 1945 – about a year after the founding of the national club for amateur sports car enthusiasts – the SCCA hosted its first event ever. That first time trials event took place at Thompson Speedway utilizing the facilities .625-mile oval and quarter-mile infield oval that was in place. 

“So essentially it’s kind of, what is old is new again,” said Jon Krolewicz, SCCA Time Trials program manager.

The SCCA is known best for its road racing events across the country, but its first event on that day at Thompson Speedway was a Time Trial event. 

“We have always been told kind of anecdotally “Oh we went road racing.’” Krolewicz said. “What it actually was when we looked back on the magazine articles and the write-ups and in the newsletters that it wasn’t actually a road race – it wasn’t wheel-to-wheel – it was actually a time trial event.” 

This week’s event at Thompson marks the first time the SCCA has hosted a national Time Trials event at Thompson since the road course reopened at the facility in 2014. 

The Thompson event is the sixth of eight tour events for the first year program for the SCCA. The series will also host its finale Time Trials Nationals Sept. 27-29 at NCM Motorsports Park in Bowling Green, Ky. 

Instead of having direct competition on the track, the Time Trials event ranks competitors on their lap speeds. 

“If you relate it to how a few years ago NASCAR went away from single car qualifying and went to group qualifying, it’s essentially group qualifying,” Krolewicz said. “That’s a great parallel to draw. Each group gets a certain amount of time and the best lap is the best lap.” 

The event will also have a track sprint portion where drivers will tackle a designated segment of the track and run from a standing start. 

“The way I’d describe that is … a drag race with turns,” Krolewicz said. 

The SCCA has 78 entries for this week’s event at Thompson with more than 100 competitors from across the East coast expected to arrive including late entries. 

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