Thompson repeats as Bowman Gray champ

Published 9:48 am Thursday, August 23, 2018

Wesley Thompson put a fitting end to an outrageous season at Bowman Gray Stadium.

He and wife Audrey are celebrating the birth of their daughter, Dixie Lynn, who was born Aug. 15. Three days later, he sealed the points championship in the Stadium Stock division for the second year in a row. As if that wasn’t enough, he picked up his fourth win of the season in the 16th and final race.

In the 15-lapper on Aug. 18, Mocksville’s Thompson, Chris Allison (second place), A.J. Sanders (third) and Grayson Keaton (sixth) took four of the top six spots.

To surpass Thompson, Allison needed to win and Thompson finish sixth or worse. “The last one (in 2017) was going to be hard to top, winning on the last lap,” Thompson told the Winston-Salem Journal. “But we had a little baby girl on Wednesday and we backed it up with a championship. And to win (the race) is pretty dang cool.”

Thompson had 11 top-three finishes and placed among the top six 15 times. Allison had five victories and 14 top-five finishes.

Thompson finished with 862 points, followed by Allison (840), fifth-place Grayson Keaton (794) and sixth-place Sanders (740).


Thompson’s uncle, Todd Barnhardt of Advance, picked up his first win in the B Race on Aug. 11. “It looked like it was a lot of fun,” Barnhardt said when asked about being a 51-year-old rookie at The Madhouse. “My kids had gotten to the stage where they were self-sufficient, so I had a little more free time and I thought I’d give it a shot. Wesley and I raced go-carts for several years together when he was young.

“Last winter I said: ‘Hey, Wesley, why don’t we get a backup car in case you really tear yours up. If you don’t tear yours up, then why don’t I try to squeeze in four or five races this year.’ He said: ‘That sounds like a good idea.’

“It was a bucket list. I’ve been going over there all my life. I told my wife: ‘Susan, I wouldn’t mind racing.’ I was fully expecting her to say: ‘You’re crazy. You’re not doing that.’ She said: ‘Yeah, go ahead. Go for it.’” With a laugh, he added: “I don’t know if she really loves me or if it’s because I have a lot of life insurance.”

After finishing fifth, eighth and fourth in his three previous attempts, he took the checkered flag in the final week for the B Race. Brad Mickalowski of Mocksville was sixth.

“I finally got a good draw,” Barnhardt said. “The previous two weeks, I started 15th and 17th. This week my sister (Anita Sill) told me to draw with my left hand – my right hand was doing so bad – and I drew the outside pole. I got the lead on the first lap and held on from there.”