Don Thomson Jr. Set to Begin New Chapter at Team 3 Red / Ed Hakonson Racing
At the end of the 2010 season, Canadian Stock Car living legend Don Thomson Jr. was informed that his services as a driver and full-time mechanic at Fitzpatrick Motorsports were no longer needed after team owner John Fitzpatrick decided to refocus his racing efforts. The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series program was going to take a backseat because his son J.R. has made some gains south of the border in both the NASCAR Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series over the past two seasons.
Shortly after the decision was made, word came from Team 3 Red / Ed Hakonson Motorsports that Thomson would join their organization, and become a teammate of 2008 Kawartha Speedway winner Jason Hathaway.
There have been a few stretches of dominance in motorsports that seem to defy explanation. Jimmie Johnson has reeled off five NASCAR Sprint Cup Championships in a row; John Force has been able to put 15 trophies on the mantle since number one in 1990, including a run of 10 straight.
Throughout the early 2000s, there were a number of drivers that were putting up tremendous championship runs, including Michael Schumacher in Formula One (2000-04), Jean Sebastian Roy, the top rider in the Canadian Motorcross Racing Series (2001-05), and Valentino Rossi with his string of MotoGP titles (2001-05).
During that period, a black Chevrolet with the number four on the door was rewriting the Canadian Stock Car history book. After back-to-back CASCAR Super Series Eastern titles in 1999 and 2000, Thomson started his assault on the record books, capturing both the all-time series lead in laps led and pole positions before his string of championships ended at five in 2005.
Thomson recently reflected on his success and parting ways with Fitzpatrick Motorsports. “John did so much for me, and there are no problems between myself and John, or Fitzpatrick Motorsports. The bottom line is that they wanted to move forward with J.R, and I can’t say enough about my time with the team.”
There will also be one more key component that has yet to be determined, and that is the sponsor on the rear quarter-panels of Don’s Dodges. “I couldn’t have asked for a better sponsor than Home Hardware. I was so happy to be involved with them for so many years. We would love to have the involved with this new program, but there is no deal in place. Right now we’re trying to find funding to run two cars full-time, and I’m sure we will.”
Team 3 Red celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2010, and have seen a number of drivers come and go over the years, including their pilot from season one, Chris Fowler. In addition to Fowler, the team also ran Billy Rowse Jr., Mark Swain, Stu Robinson, and Derek Lynch, and even teamed up with D.J. Kennington and his D.J.K. Racing Team for one season before handing the controls to Hathaway full-time in 2006. Jason has assisted in turning the team into front runners, highlighted by the win at Kawartha to close out the 2008 season, and a career best sixth-place result in the championship in 2010.
Hathaway is excited about teaming up with Thomson. “Don is a great driver, and I think he’s going to bring so much to the team. I think we can gather more data with two teams, and that will help both groups, Hathaway said.”
The 2011 season has a new leadoff event on May 28 that has been very good to Thomson over the years – the half-mile at Mosport Speedway. Thomson, with an all-time series best of 11 poles and six wins the series since NASCAR sanctioning began in 2007, is no stranger to victory lane on the Mosport oval, winning in 2007 and 2010, as well as a four wins in the old CASCAR Super Series (1999, 2000, 2001 and 2004). A win in the opener helped propel D.J. Kennington to the championship last year, and Thomson couldn’t have asked for a better track to open up 2011 with as he chases his first NASCAR Canadian Tire Series championship belt.