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About Hunter

Hunter Thomas is a public relations representative, journalist and photographer that travels the country covering some of the most unique personalities motorsports has to offer.

About Hunter

Career History

From working at the local short tracks to being part of NASCAR's biggest stage, Hunter has found success and has worked for some of the best teams in the industry.

Career History


With his camera, Hunter witnesses the most inspiring stories a lens can capture.



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Hunter Thomas

NASCAR's Generation-6 Cars Bring New Life To The Sport

- Hunter Thomas, News & Press

NASCAR's Generation-6 car returned to Charlotte Motor Speedway this past Thursday and Friday after the long trip from Daytona International Speedway the week before. Over 30 cars unloaded in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage, but Thursday's test was washed out by rain.

On Friday morning, track crews battled a wet surface after a winter storm blew through Thursday night, leaving behind a lot of ice. The test was scheduled to begin at 9 a.m., but the cars didn't hit the track until after noon. Since the test session was so critical to the teams, NASCAR extended the test to 7:30 p.m.

There were many firsts that took place at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Friday. NASCAR unveiled their brand new laser technology that will be implemented during the weekly tech routine. The new machine was extremely high-tech and very different than traditional methods. All the teams have to do is push the car onto the scales, and a NASCAR official controls the machine by a computer. It's unsure how long the process will be during a regular race weekend, but it seemed fairly lengthy this past weekend.

Another first was seeing the Generation-6 cars underneath the lights. Brad Keselowski, defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion said that the cars handled pretty much the same from day to night, and they were also much faster when the sun went down which is expected due to the colder temperatures.

Ford Racing was fast all afternoon. Greg Biffle lead the majority of the test session, and there were four Fusions in the top-five and six in the top-ten by the end of the night. Aric Almirola (Ford) topped the charts with a lap time of 27.832 with a speed of 194.021 mph. Carl Edwards (Ford) was second, followed by Casey Mears (Ford), Marcos Ambrose (Ford), Jimmie Johnson (Chevrolet), Mark Martin (Toyota), Greg Biffle (Ford), Martin Truex Jr. (Toyota), Clint Bowyer (Toyota) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr (Ford).

Everyone seems to be very pleased with the Generation-6 cars so far. Manufactures are happy that they can now implement specific brand characteristics of their street cars into their racecars. It's a step forward in bringing stock back to stock car racing even though there's no such thing as a 2013 Chevrolet SS. Drivers are excited, because the cars seem to handle better on the mile-and-a-half tracks. With more left side weight and less right side weight, drivers are able to drive more aggressively, and the cars rotate around the turns much better.

“The higher grip they make, the harder you have to drive it,” Jeff Burton said. “And it requires less finesse. It requires more right foot and less brain. And so I wouldn’t say it’s going to be easier in the sense that everybody’s got the same thing. But just getting in the car, fundamentally they should drive a little better.”

Over the past few years, NASCAR has struggled to find a way to have side-by-side racing on the mile-and-a-half tracks. The Generation-6 may help with that issue, but there are many reasons this may be. One is tire wear, while the other is just the product of racing on a large track.

"I think we have to change our mind set too because you track where the sport has gone-we don't have North Wilkesboro anymore, so we lost two short track races," Jeff Burton said. "We used to run Darlington, we now run one. We used to run two races at Rockingham-we don't run any. We replaced them with either flat one-mile racetracks, or with mile-and-a-half tracks. It doesn't take a brain scientist to understand that if you put 43 cars on half-mile track, you're going to have more action than if you put 43 cars on a mile-and-a-half track."

The 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series looks to be like one never before. There are still a few questions to be answered, but most of them are centered around the superspeedways. Will drivers be able to draft like before, or will they need to find new techniques? Will the larger roof flaps keep the cars on the ground? Are the spoilers too large for the intermediate tracks? Finally, are the old manufacturing politics back? No matter what the answers are to these questions, I believe NASCAR is heading in the right direction as far as the Generation-6 cars go.

By the way, tickets are now on sale for the Bojangles Southern 500 weekend at Darlington Raceway, May 10-11. Visit for more information.


NASCAR’s sixth generation car exceeds track record at Charlotte Motor Speedway

-Hunter Thomas, News & Press

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams hit the high banks of Charlotte Motor Speedway on Dec. 11-12 to test out the brand new sixth generation cars. On hand were 17 drivers along with Ford’s Fusion, Chevrolet’s SS, and Toyota’s Camry; each had its own unique body design that resembled the street version. The only body sections of the cars that will be identical in all three are the deck lids, splitters and contoured spoilers.

New Faces, New Places

The majority of the spotlight was on Penske Racing who just recently rejoined the Ford family. Brad Keselowski, 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion continued to lead the team’s efforts as he piloted a car with a paint scheme that resembled the “blue deuce” Rusty Wallace made famous. Alongside of him in the garage was new teammate, Joey Logano who, not only sporting a new manufacturer, but also a new number and sponsor. Both Keselowski and Logano said that the new teammate combination will make Penske Racing a real threat for the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.

“I think he (Logano) has the ability to unload at a place like this and just instantly be fast and that’s not my style,” Brad Keselowski said. “It’s something that I would like to add to my arsenal, because there are times where that’s really, really helpful, so those are some of the things I look at.”

“I think the coolest thing that Brad is able to do is he’s able to think outside of the box, like way outside the box,” Joey Logano said. “I think that’s interesting to me, to see kinda the way his mind works. I’ve learned a lot the last couple days and the ways he thinks through a race car is a little bit different than normal, and I think that’s cool. I think it’s good to have a little bit of both on a team. I can learn a lot on the way he leads a team and drives a race car and the way he sets up his car.”

Matt Kenseth debuted in the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota that Joey Logano has piloted since 2009. Former Roush Fenway Racing driver moves from the Ford camp over to the Toyota camp in 2013 with sponsor Dollar General. His debut didn’t go quite as smooth as originally planned. During the first practice session of the week, he over revved the engine and forced the team to pull out a backup for precautionary reasons.

Tuesday’s Test

Richard Childress Racing topped the charts during the morning test on Tuesday. Jeff Burton led the way followed by his teammates Kevin Harvick and Austin Dillon who was subbing in for Paul Menard in the No. 27 Menards Chevrolet SS. Kasey Kahne and Joey Logano rounded out the top-five.

Regan Smith led the afternoon practice as he subbed for Jeff Gordon. Smith is the newest member to the Hendrick Motorsports circle. He subbed for Dale Earnhardt Jr. earlier this season after he suffered a concussion during a crash at Talladega Superspeedway. Smith will pilot the No. 5 Jr. Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro in the NASCAR Nationwide Series during the 2013 season. The remaining top-five speeds were clocked by Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick, and Juan Pablo Montoya.

Wednesday’s Test

On Wednesday morning, Kasey Kahne topped the track record with a lap time of 27.868 seconds. Back in October, Greg Biffle set the record after sitting on the pole with a lap time of 27.877 seconds. The cars reached speeds that surpassed 200 mph Wednesday morning. Matt Kenseth was second quickest followed by Kevin Harvick, Juan Pablo Montoya, and Regan Smith.

Denny Hamlin pounded the outside wall on lap seven of his run on Wednesday morning. The upper control arm broke, sending Hamlin’s Toyota Camry into the wall. After climbing from his car, Hamlin had a slight limp. He said that he suffered a bruise near his ACL incision during the impact. Hamlin’s car was an all fiberglass body and had a lot of recycled components, so the team believes the crash was caused by old used parts rather than a mishap with the new styled car.

The afternoon test session on Wednesday was shortened by rain at 2:15 p.m. Once again, Kasey Kahne topped the speed chart followed by Matt Kenseth, Regan Smith, Austin Dillon, and Kevin Harvick.


Overall, everyone really enjoyed the new cars. Several drivers said they handled much like a NASCAR Nationwide Series car. The highest compliment of the weekend was the new designs of all three manufactures. The idea behind the body styles was to boost brand identity between Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota. Even Steve Letarte, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s crew chief said his 9-year-old son can tell the difference between all three manufactures and associates them with the street versions.

There were only two concerns throughout the weekend. The first was the height of the rear spoiler. Several drivers said it was very difficult to see out the rearview mirror, but it wasn’t significant enough to be considered dangerous.

“We have a gigantic rear spoiler on the car,” Dale Earnhardt Jr. said. “You can’t see out of the car very well, but that spoiler is doing a lot. NASCAR seems to think that spoiler is the one that is going to provide the better package for better racing. It definitely gives the car a lot more comfort, and it does resemble what we ran many years ago.”

Speeds were a little concern as well. Denny Hamlin was the most vocal on the issue mainly because he was the one driver that slapped the wall; however, no driver is asking for an immediate change. Everyone believes the extremely cool temperatures and cloud cover played a major role in speeds exceeding 200 mph. It’s nearly impossible to compare this week’s speeds to the older car because the speedway saw very little sunlight.

The test session showed a great potential for some competitive racing in 2013. There were few rules this week, so a few cars weren’t exactly 100 percent legal. Some cars had a metal body while others were fiberglass. A few parts were added to collect data as well, but the teams got an idea of how the cars will handle. On Tuesday afternoon, the teams did a little side-by-side racing, but for the most part they all stayed clear of each other. Up next on the pre-season schedule is a test session Jan. 10-12 at Daytona International Speedway, and the teams will be back at Charlotte Motor Speedway for another two-day test Jan. 17-18.


Rogers, Reddick and Kimmel take wins in Classic 3 Championship at Rockingham

Swaim hangs on to 2012 UARA-STARS Championship while Brett Moffitt's last lap crash puts K&N East Championship in Kyle Larson's hands

Rockingham, N.C. (November 3, 2012) - A torrid last-lap battle between rookie Tyler Reddick and championship contender Brett Moffitt in Saturday's K&N East Series season finale at Rockingham Speedway ended with Reddick in victory lane and Moffitt's title hopes wrecked on the 1-mile track's backstretch.

With Moffitt having to settle for a 21st-place finish, the championship crown went to Kyle Larson, who led Moffitt by 10 points entering the season finale. Corey LaJoie, who placed second in Saturday's 100-lap race, was leading the standings immediately after his victory a week ago at Greenville-Pickens. However, he dropped to third in the standings before the season finale due to NASCAR docking him 25 points for using a carburetor that had an unapproved modification to it.

The crowning of the K&N East Series champion was the highlight of Saturday's Classic 3 Championship presented by RCR Racing Museum. In the day's other events, veteran Clay Rogers won the 75-lap UARA race, while Travis Swaim took that series title. In the Frank Kimmel Street Stock Nationals race, Frank Kimmel II dominated the event, leading all 75 laps.

Reddick Wins First Time Out in K&N East; Larson Snags Championship

Reddick, a regular Dirt Late Model competitor, surprised everyone by capturing his first K&N victory in his first start in the series. The victory came in only Reddick's third asphalt race and his first NASCAR start. He also led only one lap, the final one.

"It's a shame me and the (No.) 11 [Moffitt] got together (on the final lap)," the 16-year-old Reddick said. "I had a really good run coming off of (turn) four. I got alongside him going into (turns) one and two. He should have known I would be alongside of him. I got on the outside of him through (turns) one and two. He kinda ran me up the race track and I wasn't going to give it to him.

"I just wish he'd left me a car length; that it would have been a clean race. It had been all day. It just didn't turn out that way. I'm going for the win. He's going for points and the win, too. It's just a bad deal. It's ashame it happened, but it's racing. It's going to happen."

Moffitt led 15 laps before his championship hopes evaporated. Larson said as soon as he saw the smoke from Moffitt's last-lap spin he knew he had secured the title.

"It was a good feeling," the 20-year-old California native admitted. "The championship was Brett's until that last lap."

Larson said when he saw Moffitt take the lead on lap 85 of the 100-lap race he knew he had to get to the sixth position.

"The 18 [Darrell Wallace Jr.] tried wrecking us on the backstretch," Larson said. "He got by us. The 97 [Jesse Little] was just good enough to where I couldn't get by him."

Wallace Jr. was the race's top lap leader, setting the pace for the first 51 laps. The event's only other leader was Little with 33 laps. Reddick averaged 90.817 mph in the race that was slowed by four caution flags for 12 laps.

Rogers Dominates UARA for Fourth Rockingham Win; Despite Early Woes, Swaim Claims Championship

In the UARA season finale, Rogers led all 75 laps in collecting his fourth victory at Rockingham, a place the Troutman, N.C., resident admitted "has always been special to me." It was especially sweet for Rogers, who sees his career at a crossroads.

"I don't get to race as much as I would like to," Rogers said. "This is all I've ever done my whole life. I kinda feel like things are starting to close in on me a little bit. I've been debating on whether to hang the helmet up and helping some kids in this series. I love racing so much. Man, I just wish it was a little easier to make a living doing it."

Rogers defeated 15-year-old Dillon Bassett for the victory, but it was Swaim who beat the teenager for the title despite mechanical issues on his car early in the race.

"The power-steering pulley broke off the motor, which was fine," Swaim said about his early race issues. "I could have driven it without power steering, but when it came off it took the hose and radiator with it and cooked the motor."

A quick thinking crew made repairs and got Swaim back into the event so he could complete 22 laps. That gave him a 24th-place finish and the championship.

"Thank God, we had that big lead heading in," said Swaim, who carried a 71-point advantage into the season finale. "I thought as soon as we had a problem we had to win the race. The 44 [Bassett] had a good chance of winning the race, so I thought we were done. (Crew chief) Rick Viers was calculating points the whole time, telling me."

Rogers said Bassett's car was "really good" for a couple of laps.

"I gave him plenty of room," Rogers said about his duel with Bassett. "He's racing for points and I was just racing for a win. I gave him space. I tried to race hard, but race smart. After a few laps, he started getting tight. He was really searching hard to get those bonus points for leading a lap. I wasn't trying to keep him from leading a lap, (but) I'll be 32 next week. He's just 15, so I wasn't too intent on letting him lead. At the end of the day it wouldn't have made a difference whether he led a lap or not."

Kimmel II Collects Second Straight Street Stock Win at Rockingham

Just like Rogers, Kimmel II dominated his event.

"We had a good car today," Kimmel II said from victory lane. "It's just a shame that Chuck (Barnes, Sr., who has won three Frank Kimmel Street Stock Nationals events at Rockingham) was here. We beat him last time because of a mechanical failure. I would like a chance to race with him here again."

One year ago, Barnes edged Kimmel II by two feet to take the Polar Bear 150.

Rounding out the top five in the street stock race were Curtis Peeples, Jason Calhoun, Jason Leatherwood and Jeff Melton.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Returns to Rockingham April 14, 2013

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has a return engagement at Rockingham Speedway for a 200-mile race on April 14, 2013.

Tickets are available by calling 910.205.8800 or online at


-Rockingham Speedway PR, Andy Cagle; Debra Williams; Hunter Thomas