EL CAJON, California -- When Lou Tompkins tows his Grand American modified into Cajon Speedway, he knows he's going to have an uphill struggle winning the main event that night. But that doesn't stop the nearly journeyman racer from having a good time at the 3/8-mile paved oval.
Tompkins knows that the likes of Scott Brown, his uncle Ron Brown, and Mike Salm are going to collect the lion's shares of victory on the track. But winning is not why Tompkins competes.
"I've always liked to go fast," admits Tompkins, a San Diego native who will celebrate his 57th birthday on August 20. "I've done a lot of different things that go fast. I did some aerobatics. I like flying."
When asked to explain these aerobatics, he responds quickly. "Like flying them straight up and straight down," he smiles.
Tompkins and the rest of the Grand American modified drivers will be back in action this Saturday night at the Gillespie Field track. Sharing the track for the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series presented by Dodge show will be the late model sportsman, street stocks, factory stocks, and legends.
This is actually Tompkins second stint as a racecar driver. Back in the late 1960's he competed in the super stock division before stopping to raise his family. He returned to the track in 2000 in the pony stocks and moved up to the more nimble and faster open wheeled modifieds midway through the 2001 season. So far this year he sits ninth in points. His best finish was a sixth two weeks ago.
In the points chase Scott Brown has widened his margin over Mike Salm and Ron Brown to 79 and 149 markers respectively. Scott Brown was involved in a couple of shunts two weeks ago, but still managed a third place finish in the main event. Salm wrecked midway through the 25-lap contest and spent the remainder of the race in the pits. The elder Brown elected to sit out the entire night because of engine problems suffered two weeks earlier.
Mike Jackson currently sits fourth in points ahead of rookie Brian Pusey.
Ahead of Tompkins in the second half of the top ten are the most recent winner Doug Catania, Carol Kirby Williams, and Paul Brunette. Billy Cable sits just behind Tompkins in tenth.