Sprint car chauffeur Thomas Kennedy spends plenty of time on the highway, towing from his home in Canada to compete in sprint car events in the United States.
Kennedy explained that it is a full 24-hour round-trip to get to Knoxville, Iowa from his home in Winnipeg, Manitoba. But racing runs thick in his blood.
His grandfather raced road race sports cars and then moved on to both winged and non-winged sprints. His great grandmother was a former trainer for race horses that competed on tracks like Churchill Downs. And his dad competed in winged sprint cars.
Karts would be young Thomas’ gateway into racing starting at age eight. He continued in karting for 10 years.
Interestingly, all of his karting took place in the United States.
And Kennedy was good, too. He earned some 250 wins, with a couple WKA National titles and seven straight AKA Holiday Classic champion titles.
When he turned 17, Kennedy decided he should get a little technical education, just in case the racing stuff didn’t work out.
He got a two-year degree at the University of Winnipeg, majoring in physics, math and chemistry. And he paid his dues to support the family racing effort by working at the family’s flooring business.
At age 18, he turned to winged sprint cars, again mostly in the States, wheeling a winged 360-powered sprinter against the more powerful winged 410 NOSA sprint cars.
“I thought that it would be a good way to learn to drive against those more-powerful machines. But I surprised them, actually winning a race even with that power deficit.”
During that period, he regularly competed with his father.
DOB: Feb. 9, 1990
HOMETOWN: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
SERIES: ASCS 360ci winged sprints, NOSA 410ci winged sprints
SPONSORS: Kennedy Flooring, Buffalo Wild Wings,
Grinch Service & Sales,
General Signs and Speedway Shot.
“Dad was still a good driver, and during the earlier days he usually finished ahead of me, but as time progressed I got my share of the wins. He raced until he was 54 and still ran strong.”
In the next five or so years, Thomas ran a number of specials in the United States and took the Governor’s Cup title in North Dakota. But some of his best efforts took place earlier, when he competed in his first All Star Circuit of Champions race in 2013.
Again, he surprised by winning with his 360 against the tough 410-powered teams.
Another strong accomplishment was a win at the Jackson 360 Nationals in 2015.
“I remember running at the 2018 Knoxville 360 Nationals and was able to finish ahead of Sammy Swindell in a heat race and then finished fifth in the final night feature,” said Kennedy.
Also, a recent trip to the Winternationals at East Bay Raceway in Gibsonton, Florida saw him garner a win on one of the preliminary nights.
More success followed during last season, with a venture into the ASCS series, where he accomplished a pair of wins on the National Tour. His career, to date, includes roughly 50 360/410 wins, with the majority coming in a 360.
With his enthusiasm on a high level, Thomas was looking for a fast start this season.
However, the infamous COVID-19 pandemic put a hitch in those plans when the US-Canadian border was shut down.