|Driver Profile: "Torpedo"
My early race memories are when my Dad,
LaVerne, took me to Spencer Speedway in the
early 60's. My Dad exposed me to all the
upstate NY asphalt and dirt tracks leading up
to our annual trek to the Race of Champions at
Langhorne, PA. My total enjoyment of racing
has made it difficult to say that any one
driver was my hero so I've chosen to admire and
appreciate them all.
I began my
personal racing experience driving a Micro
Midget at Limerock Speedway in Caledonia, NY
winning the Hobby Class in 1973 back when the
track was asphalt. I have since followed my
Dad's lead and worked on or lent a hand to
many teams running at Spencer Speedway and
many other Upstate NY tracks.
have been part of many surprising and exiting
events over 40 years, I still recall the first
time I got behind the wheel of a full sized
stock car. Around 1976 I filled in as a driver
for Dick Taggert (he now races with the
Midstate Antique Club) in his late model at
Weedsport Speedway (now Cayuga County). The
car was built for a much shorter person and I
had never driven dirt before. Dick hurt his
back and wanted me to qualify the car for the
feature through a 14 car consolation race. So,
after stuffing my self in to the driver's seat
(the steering wheel rubbed on my legs) we gave
it a shot. Nearing the end, the car was
missing the rear bumper and had suffered a
flat tire. Despite that, I had the car in a
qualifying position (meaning I had survived
over most of the others) but when a shock
broke I decided my thrill was not worth
risking turning my friends car in to a pile of
junk so I parked it to ensure we would be back
for more. Since then, I committed to staying
involved in racing until I could give driving
a quality effort.
For some more
information on our past, please check out the
Photo Memories section.
The time to
restart my driving dream came in August of
2000. I bought the # 74 Grand American
Modified, formerly run by Chuck Bruce at Tioga
Speedway. I always knew that driving was
tough, but getting behind the wheel was
definitely an exciting experience. My friends
still insist I swallowed several bugs since my
mouth never closed for my first laps at speed.
That first partial season allowed me to run a
few weeks at Spencer, then I participated in
the US Open at Lancaster Motorsports Park
which took me to the track where my Dad had
driven a Modified in 1970. I closed the year
running at the historic reopening of the
Chemung Speedrome. After that first exciting
partial season, my friend and fellow racer
Artie Gladfelter gave me my nick name of
"Torpedo Tom". And with it's
acceptance by fans, friends and family, I
embraced my new racing identity.
I hope my
racing activities provide you with some fun
and exciting entertainment and I look forward
to meeting you some day.
current plans and goals, see our news releases
and keep abreast of our results on this site.
Also, please visit Spencer Speedway's web site
and read the GATER Racing News