For a lot of nine-year-olds, they are sitting in the grandstands at their favourite race tracks across the province, hoping to be behind the wheel of a stock car one day down the road just like their heroes.
Then there’s Thomas Wunsch, who wasn’t one of those fans, but rather driving this past season.
“2020 was a season I will never forget,” he told SHORT TRACK MUSINGS. “I got to race at two tracks – Grand Bend (Speedway) and Full Throttle (Motor Speedway). I started racing the season in Kid Stock, switching to Mini Stock; I never dreamed I would be racing Mini Stock at 9.
“I would not be this far if it were not for the kindness of Dave Dippel. He asked me to drive his car while he was on vacation. It changed my life. It was so fast and fun! I learned to drive faster, and harder than ever before. It was so different than what I was used to.”
Wunsch’s season was filled with several highlights and checkered flags, including the 20 Lap Dave Wilson Open, which was his second favourite moment of 2020 in reflecting at the trophy size and being able to drink Iced tea from that very trophy.
“My favorite was the Dave Wilson Memorial 40 lap Invitational,” he commented. “There were 21 registered drivers and that was my highest Mini Stock car count I had ever raced in. With a few laps remaining, I got a flat tire. After I was driving as fast as I could not knowing what position I was in. I received 4th place finish.”
With having had a lot of fun this past year, it’s no surprise to hear Wunsch is “can’t wait to race again,” hopeful for a full season and points championship to chase.
“I want to improve my driving over last year,” he said. “I hope to run a full season and be as competitive as I can. I would (also) like to try racing at Flamboro and Peterborough.”
For Wunsch, he has been around motorsports his entire life, watching his dad race in the Street Stock division.
“We would go to Autumn Colours in Peterborough for family vacation and there is nothing better,” he commented. “I love the sound, the smell, and the adrenaline rush. I like how everybody helps each other out. I like letting kids sit in my car and take pictures. I love the feeling in a race; it is a rush!”
He also gets to take in the fun of watching NASCAR on television, noting that Denny Hamlin is his racing hero, have collected everything to do with him, including his autograph.
Photos Courtesy of Katie’s Race Car Photography