WILLS POINT, Texas — They are simply the fastest of the fast; those mighty Outlaw Modifieds that blast around the ovals of Texas. Driven by men who live “by the Grace of God and 600 Horsepower,” these ground-pounding machines provide high-speed thrills for fans across the state all season long.
For 44-year-old short track veteran Max Eddie Thomas, this year was one to savor. In 22 starts, he earned a pair of wins, 13 top-five and 18 top-10 finishes. He claimed the Touring Outlaw Modified Series (TOMS) points title, and hopes to lock down the Gunslinger series crown Saturday at Big O.
“We ran the American Racer Modified Series (ARMS) deal last year,” Thomas said. “I was leading the points, but about halfway through the season I suffered a Heat Stroke in Lubbock and didn't really even know it had happened. We went to Amarillo the next night, I blacked out and ended up on the wall.
“My Dad and my wife were with me, and they asked me what happened. I had no answer, because I really didn't remember as a result of the Heat Stroke. I drove home that night, since my God-daughter's birthday party was the next day. I still had some symptoms, and that deal kinda set me back a bit.”
Yet 2022 was different, thankfully. After finishing second last year in ARMS points, he bounced back.
“This year, we decided to go for the TOMS title given the year-end points fund they were offering. I had an IRP car; Jason Ingalls and I are good friends and get along great. But at the end of last year, we decided to go a different way. I found a 2015 MB Customs car, and it's been real consistent all year.
“I felt like I could maybe get it a little faster, but it was super consistent so I left it alone. I'm actually selling it to my son; he played with Crate Late Models a little bit this year but wants to switch over to Mods. I bought a little bit newer MB Customs car, and hopefully it will serve me well in 2023.”
Thomas has been honing his skills for over 25 years, and it shows each time that green flag waves.
“I got started back in 1996,” he explained. “I won Rookie-of-the-Year honors that year, then won the championship at Kennedale in 2001. In 2003, I won the Texas Super Sunday Series title. We also won a title at RPM Speedway over in Crandall.
“I built cars for several years there for Unlimited, then built my own cars after a while. But eventually, with a wife and growing family, I needed better benefits and things so I quit building race cars. I still went racing, and won back-to-back SIMS championships in 2005 and 2006. We've had good success.”
Every time they gather for a TOMS event, the competition is fierce. Talent runs deep in this pit area.
“There were several teams this year who made the switch from ARMS to TOMS this year, as I did,” Thomas said. “But there were also several who went from TOMS over to the ARMS deal. Both are very good series, and both have tons of talented drivers. It's very tough to win or land on the podium.”
When Thomas puts on his suit, grabs his helmet and gets ready to go, he straps into a fine machine.
“Our MB Customs car was really good to us this season,” Thomas explained. “It's powered by a motor from Dennis Wells, one of the best in this business. His power and reliability are hard to beat, and his motor was the perfect power source for my MB Customs chassis. It's a very potent combination.”
Along with his immense raw talent, years of experience behind the wheel and top-notch car, Thomas also has a few key people and several valued marketing partners who keep his program on-track.
“I want to thank my biggest supporter, Everflow Plumbing; along with Texas Locomotive Solutions, Rad Rides with 635 Planet Ford; Glass Services LLC, A.B.E.L Truck & Trailer Repairs; DFW Regulators, Dirty Deeds Motorsports and Design, Gorman's Meat Market, Exit Realty, MB Customs, Elite Shocks, Dirt Defender, Moe's Custom Helmets, White Horse Tuning & Dyno, Green Leaf Landscaping Services and most of all, my family, friends, crew and amazing wife for supporting me.
“Last but not least, I'll thank our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for making all things possible.”
As we all prepare to gather for the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, there will be many blessings on which to reflect. For Thomas and his family, it'll be an extra special day. On Saturday, he'll load up that familiar No. 82 Modified one last time and head for Big O Speedway.
“We're hoping to wrap up the Gunslinger series title,” Thomas concluded. “After that, we'll get ready to defend the TOMS championship next season. We have a lot to be thankful for this year, and I know it. We'll enjoy the holidays, then give it another whirl in 2023.”
By Phil Whipple, RaceOnTexas.com Staff Writer
Photo by Stacy Kolar/Southern SASS