When the green flag drops on the season opener at Hickory Motor Speedway, there will be at least one driver competing for the Late Model Stock Car track championship that has never attempted to win one before. Thomas Beane picked up his first two career Hickory Motor Speedway Late Model Stock Car victories in 2018 and as the season dawns he’s going to be looking for more wins and adding his name to a historic list of champions.
Beane has spent the last five seasons of racing Late Model Stock Cars by traveling around the region. He’s won races at Lonesome Pine Raceway previously and added three more tracks to his resume last year with Hickory, Orange County Speedway and Greenville Pickens Speedway. With six career wins under his belt, Beane has his sights set on another trophy.
“All my friends have won one, so I thought I might try it,” Beane told RACE22.com referring to championships at Hickory. “Mainly it comes down to the fact that we’ve never run for a championship in Late Models. We did in trucks and that took a lot out of us but I think it’s a good time to make a run for the track championship.”
Beane knows that winning the title isn’t going to be easy. He’s seen the highs and lows of racing and with one big financial disaster, he could be done for the year.
“Anything can happen. One blown engine, one big crash or something could really just finish our season. But, I think if it comes down to straight performance we’ll be ok.”
His performance will have to be on kill this season as 2018 CARS Tour Touring 12 member Charlie Watson is among the drivers expected to compete for the track championship this season. Watson is no stranger to Hickory Motor Speedway either and finished runner-up to Ryan Millington for the 2017 title.
Beane is also keeping his eye on another up and coming driver and admits he isn’t sure who will compete for the championship but knows to expect tough competition every week at Hickory.
“The kid that’s running for Dexter Canipe Sr. (Connor Mosack), he’s just starting out but he’s good. There’s no telling how good he’ll be in four months. He’ll be tough to beat and I’m not sure who else will run for the championship but it seems as if there’s always a handful of drivers going for the championship that you don’t expect.”
“I’m not worried about who’s there,” Beane continued. “I’m just worried about being the best car. If we win a bunch of races we won’t have to worry about the points.”
This season will be one of settling down of sorts for the Hudson, NC native. Typically, you see his familiar black, blue and silver #31 car at tracks all over the region. But, this season he’s staying close to home.
“Hickory is just close. My dad doesn’t like getting home at three in the morning and I don’t either really. Nothing harder than traveling to a race at eight in the morning and getting home at four in the morning the next day. It’s to the point where it’s fun but it’s hard to do.”
Another challenge for Beane is having crew members to help with the car.
“If you don’t have someone with you to travel it’s that much harder. Most of the races last season it was just me and my dad and mom. It’s hard for someone to give up a whole weekend to go race with you.”
Along with the support from his parents Beane is supported by Price Roofing, Pro Class Trailers, PigWire, and PRW Chassis.
Beane will likely have his work cut out for him in the season opener this Saturday at Hickory Motor Speedway as many of the CARS Tour regulars are expected to compete before their race the following week. RACE22.com will have RACEDAY LIVE updates this weekend starting with qualifying.
Cover photo by Jaden Austin