Story By: DAN KAPUSCINSKI / TEAM TAPOUT RACING – OSWEGO, NY – Team Tapout Racing and Graham Racing recently inked a deal that will put teenaged racer Tyler Thompson behind the wheel of a Novelis Supermodified weekly at Oswego Speedway beginning in May.
Thompson has quickly established himself as arguably the most diverse racing driver in the region, for his age, having driven flat and champ karts, DIRT Sportsman, Small Block Supermodifieds and ultra-fast indoor TQ Midgets – all by the age of 16.
“I can’t believe we are going Supermodified racing now,” said Thompson. “It’s going to be amazing to be a part of. I can’t thank Ray (Graham) and my team enough for the opportunity to put the pieces together to do this.”
Thompson’s building talents were noticed by long-time Supermodified and now DIRT Modified car owner, Ray Graham.
“Seeing Tyler race this past year on the dirt, it was very obvious that he’s a very talented young man and more importantly a nice respectful young man,” said Graham. “There is no doubt after watching him on the dirt that he is a talent and will do an outstanding job in Supermodified racing. Tyler and Jason (Simmons) are true racers and I wish them a successful season and it is great to see Oswego Speedway get a top notch young talent in the Supermodified division.”
When the gates open at Oswego Speedway in May, Thompson will be behind the wheel of the former Graham Racing No. 21 Supermodified driven in last year’s Budweiser International Classic by open-wheel veteran, Bobby Santos III.
“I want to thank Ray for reaching out to us and working with us on a deal that can bring Tyler to Oswego Speedway on Saturday nights in competitive equipment,” said Team Tapout Racing owner, Jason Simmons. “We love Oswego Speedway and I am excited to be in a position where we can be a part of the program again.”
While Thompson will now shift most of his attention to Oswego Speedway on Saturday nights, the young driver still plans to stay very active on the clay as well.
“We have a building dirt program that we are very excited about as well,” said Thompson. “We will be spending our Friday nights at Brewerton Speedway with the Sportsman and on Oswego’s off nights, we will be at Fulton Speedway. We plan to race as much as possible this summer on the dirt and asphalt.”
Joining Thompson’s Oswego Supermodified effort will be two veterans of the sport in Howard Page and Mike Murphy.
Page, a Supermodified car builder and fabricator and winner of six Novelis Supermodified main events at Oswego, will assist Thompson behind the wheel and help oversee the program along with the Team Tapout crew led by David O’Connor.
Murphy, who has worked alongside several Supermodified teams and up and coming talents such as Michael Barnes, will oversee the all-important Hoosier Racing Tires on the rookie’s machine.
“Howard and Mike have a wealth of knowledge in the sport,” said Simmons. “Having them on board to work with through the season was a major factor in putting this all together. Now, we will get to work and help Tyler get comfortable in his new surroundings, which is the name of the game.”
Oswego Speedway officially opens for action on Saturday, May 19 with the Speedway’s open practice session.
The 68th consecutive season of racing at the Steel Palace opens on Saturday, May 26 with the Jim Shampine Memorial Twin 50’s for the Novelis Supermodifieds.