Share on facebook
Share on twitter

About Us

ABOUT THE FOUNDER

I like to say that my future in racing was decided on my parents first date, which was at the Oswego Speedway in the late 1950’s.  My first time attending with my parents was 1973. I was five, and I was instantly hooked. From that point forward, it was all about matchbox/hot wheels cars for me. Each room in the downstairs of our house was a different track.  I announced my races (my parents should have gotten a gold medal for patience!).  I kept points. 

When I wasn’t drumming or reading or off somewhere on my bike, I was racing my cars.  Who knew I was learning my craft at five or six years old?

Looking back, it’s almost like God had a plan…

 

 

After attending Oswego and other tracks in Central New York as a fan for 15 years, I was given the opportunity to become a motorsports writer for the local newspaper in 1988.  Within two years, I added a regional racing magazine and a motorsports talk show on a small but powerful pair of local stations to my resume’, and thus began what so far has been 35-year run as an “insider” that continues to this day.  I enjoyed working with Bones Bourcier and Dean Nardi at Trackside, and that gig was how I met my first radio co-host, Rick Nelson.  Rick is a top-notch photographer, and we started going to tracks everywhere together. I brought the words to go with his photos and we had so much fun for about five or six years there.     

In all that time, I’ve gained considerable experience as a track, race and series promoter, spotter, crew member, published print and broadcast journalist, flagger, race official, part-time racer, and now with Steering Wheel Nation include a variety of media work as well as managing six drivers – five from the USA and one from the UK.

 A long while back, I began mentoring and coaching young racers to become better communicators and assisting them with ideas on how to elevate themselves in the sport and in life.  This was before there was any such thing as “driver development” in NASCAR, so their goal often was just to get into a top local or regional series and be successful.

I believed that your attitude and your decision-making off the track mattered just as much to a car owner or sponsor as your ability on the track.  There are tens of thousands of wannabe racers worldwide and a few hundred seats in top regional and national series at any given time.  The odds are not in the drivers’ favor, so you’d better be committed to developing yourself both as a racer and an entrepreneur if you are going to make it to the top and stay there.

 

After gaining some valuable experience managing and promoting a few tracks, I relocated to Memphis in 2002.  While there I helped organize and promote the O’Reilly Auto Parts National Indoor Kart Championship, started a weekly racing show on the City’s #1 sports talk station (AM560) and worked for a Memphis Motorsports Park-based driving experience.

In 2005 I transitioned full-time to my media and racer promotions work and I moved to the Charlotte area the following year. I’ve been blessed to play an early role in the development of numerous young racers, including NASCAR drivers Anthony Alfredo, Ryan Vargas and Colby Howard, Hickory Motor Speedway late model champion Ryan Millington, Summer Shootout champion and ARCA West race winner Christian Pahud. 

Eventually, I was introduced to Rod Wortham of Race Face Brand Development, and we became very good friends. Through my work with Rod, I’ve had the chance to connect with Anthony again (which is awesome – he’s a really smart young businessman and racer), and to coach up and coming stars like Jesse Love and Joey Iest as well.   I still work with Rod, producing and hosting monthly “Drive in 5” podcasts for his stable of racers, and I really enjoy that a lot.

In 2012, I decided to put more emphasis back into my media work, so I established a radio show on ESPN 730 in Charlotte. With the inspiration and suggestion of Humpy Wheeler, I also launched Race Chaser Online, a motorsports news and content site that still remains alive in archive form.  

The work I’ve done here in NC has allowed me to be a part of launching the careers of motorsports journalists Keith Shampine (TheKartLounge.com), Kyle Souza (SouzaMedia.com), former Speed Sport writer Jacob Seelman, CARS Tour pit reporter James Pike, Land of Legends Raceway announcer/broadcaster Steve Ovens and current co-hosts of The Inside Pass radio show Peter Stratta and Noah Lewis among others. That has been very humbling. 

It’s also been a lot of fun to work with veterans like Lenny Batycki (PRN’s At The Track), Mike Guerity (3 Wide Life, One And Done Radio) or Ralph Sheheen (Speed Sport TV) as well, because then I get to be the student instead of the teacher. Lenny and Mike have been tremendous mentors and friends, along with so many others who have helped shape my career and my faith in Jesus, which I am excited to say grows deeper each passing day.

One of my most humbling accomplishments was having a story published in Speedway Illustrated in 2021, because the owner of that magazine, Dr. Dick Berggren, is one of my media heroes. To know that he was on the committee that edited my piece and deemed it worthy of print in his magazine is amazing to me even to this day.

My work has been published in numerous newspapers, magazines and trade publications, and our radio shows have been heard by millions of fans worldwide. I cannot believe I get to say that!  I feel very blessed in that, and

I think that’s why I enjoy what I do so much. I want you to love racing as much as I do!

 

Motorsports is a lifestyle, and the passion and energy of the sport is unmatched anywhere else.  You’re not getting up from your super bowl seat to wander down to the sidelines and chat with the players, but you can go to a race and buy a pit pass and spend your entire day with the cars and drivers if you want to. 

The access is unparalleled in sport, and it is a sport that doesn’t fully translate to TV or other media.  It must be experienced to be understood. I love talking and writing about the people and the stories that make the sport what it is, and now with Steering Wheel Nation, I have access to technology and opportunities that I’ve never had before. I am blessed to be able to have our current driver roster as well as the shows that we do, and I hope that you will enjoy getting to know the drivers and enjoy the shows as well.

My younger SWN team members wanted our brand to be hip, so we’re also launching a quarterly goodie box program.  We’re working with our team to come up with some really fun and collectible items for those boxes, including merch from SWN, our drivers and other cool places. Our first box will launch very soon!

Oh, and we’re launching a quarterly print magazine of our own in September of 2022 as well!  We wanted to have an outlet for some exclusive content about everything from legends cars to legendary drivers, tracks coming back and series that don’t get nearly enough attention. To use a musical alliteration, we don’t want to bring you the hits (same stories everyone else talks about). We want to bring you the hidden gems (deep tracks, if you’re talking about a record album) that nobody else talks about. 

The magazine, like everything else we do with Steering Wheel Nation, will focus primarily on grassroots racing and divisions that don’t get the attention they deserve (kart racing, legends cars, entry-level endurance racing, just for examples), and we’ll have a digital version of it that will have bonus audio/video content we cannot put in the print version.

We’re going “all in” on Steering Wheel Nation. Our goal is to be a fun and exciting place to come and hang out for a while and to impact our racers and the sport through storytelling.  We’ll add more and more content of all types, and more experiences for you to enjoy as well.

Racing is a sport about people, and we want to highlight the people, the tracks and the events at all levels who make the sport what it is. 

I hope you will enjoy the time you spend here with us at The Wheel, and to join our nation mailing list so you’ll be the first to know when new shows and new content are available. 

Yours in racing!

Tom