Series News Release - USAC Media
Speedway, Indiana (January 25, 2024) - Three years after his most recent pursuit of a full USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship schedule, Kevin Thomas Jr. is back on the trail in 2024.
This coming season, the Cullman, Ala. racer will contest the full tour for Collinsville, Oklahoma-based Mounce-Stout Motorsports, whom KTJ made nine starts with in part-time duty throughout the 2023 campaign. The ride will carry No. 9 and feature primary sponsorship from Inferno Armor and Rockwell Security.
In 153 career USAC National Midget starts, Thomas has accrued six feature victories and was named series Rookie of the Year in 2014. Back in 2015, Thomas led the points for a time before ultimately finishing a career-best third in the final standings. One item he’s looking to add to his illustrious resume is a USAC National Midget driving title, and he believes he’s in the right spot to get that done.
“I would like to win a midget championship,” Thomas stated. “I came close before but just didn’t get it done. It’s the same thing on the sprint car side. I feel like putting yourself in the best position with a team that has the same goals as you and having the same understanding of what we need to do to get that done, that goes a long way.”
Thomas’ last run at a USAC National Midget title came in 2021 with Petry Motorsports. Since that point, he’s partook in part-time USAC duty with a few different teams. His most prominent address of 2023 in midget racing was with Mounce-Stout and grabbed a best result of 4th at Bloomington Speedway during USAC Indiana Midget Week.
“I was just a fill-in guy here and there, but their stuff was always extremely fast,” Thomas said. “I also like the people who are involved with it too. In this day and age, that goes a long way with me as far as the way things are run and the kind of people you are. If you’re going to spend the entire year with somebody, you just want it to all flow and for everybody to have the same goals and have an understanding of what we plan on doing. They check all those boxes. If you can do it with the right people at the right time, I feel like it will be worth your while.”
For team co-owner Jay Mounce, he’s gotten to watch him race from afar over the years, but a year ago, he got a first-hand experience working alongside the veteran driving presence that Thomas brings to the team.
“He has a lot of knowledge and he’s been around the sport long enough to understand what he needs to be successful, which is a little different than what our program has kind of been based around – more of a developmental type of deal,” Mounce explained. “He’s one of those guys who can be a national champion given the right opportunity.”
The Mounce-Stout team owns one career USAC National Midget feature victory with Jacob Denney at the wheel in 2022. What started in the years leading up to that triumph and continued afterward is the continuous upward trajectory of the team whose shop sits 25 miles north of Tulsa, Oklahoma’s SageNet Center, home of the Chili Bowl Nationals. The difference with KTJ in the seat is having a driver who’s been in the business for quite some time, and thus, can get acclimated quickly and help the symbiosis between driver and team even that much stronger.
“Last year, we were able to see if he had any ideas or thoughts on not only making our program better as a whole but also to just to see where we’re at,” Mounce said. “With younger kids, it’s harder to tell. Everybody’s competitive now and you don’t really know if you’re in that top-five percent of guys who need to be doing this for a living, essentially. He has enough experience, and he came in and hit the ground running. We could plug him in and just see if we were really as fast as we thought we were.”
Thomas has noticed the rise of Mounce-Stout as well, and it’s a large piece of the puzzle as to why he connected with them to begin with in 2023 and why they plan on continue that growth in the coming year.
“The work ethic is there, and the passion is there,” Thomas said of Mounce-Stout Motorsports. “I feel like that’s one of the only reasons I want to do it. I see the want-to and I see the potential of it as well. I have a good feeling about these guys, and I have a good feeling about the opportunity that’s ahead. If we do things right, and we all do our jobs at a high level, nothing says we can’t go win a championship and go win races. I feel like if we put good racecars on the track and we stay on top of our duties as crew members and racecar drivers, then it comes down to whether I do my job or not. I feel like I can, so we’ll just go from there and we’ll see.”
The 2024 USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship season begins on April 26-27 with the Kokomo Grand Prix at Indiana’s Kokomo Speedway.