Thomas Continues Rise in Modified Ranks
Joseph Thomas of Fargo is in the midst of the best season of his young racing career, driving the #6ST Wissota Modified owned by Ryan Torbenson.
While there is still a long way to go in the national points chase, Thomas is atop the Wissota Modified national standings. As of July 13, Thomas has seven wins and 24 top fives in 27 starts and leads former national champion Shane Sabraski of Rice in the standings.
“Hard work, I guess. We’ve got a lot of time into our stuff,” Thomas said of the success. “This is the hardest we’ve ever worked at it, racing a lot. (There’s) a lot of sponsor help, Ryan, my dad and crew. The car started out good and we’re trying to stay on top of it so it stays good.”
Thomas will be one of the drivers running the Moonshine Mod Tour this week, which kicks off on Wednesday at Buffalo River Speedway near Glyndon. The tour goes to Norman County Raceway in Ada, River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks and Greenbush Race Park this week as well. Thomas already has a win on the tour at Miller Central Speedway in South Dakota.
The 21-year-old has a last name familiar to fans in the Red River Valley region. His father, Corky has been one of the most successful racers in the region for decades, with a lot of his success coming in the modified class.
“He’s been racing 30 years, he knows a lot that’s going on,” Thomas said. “He’s a big help. He had a really good career; he’s not done yet. He wants me to be better than he was. If we get to that we’ll be looking pretty good.”
Thomas got his start in the Wissota Midwest Modified class in 2016, racing 12 shows. In 2017, he experienced the lows and the highs. He rolled his car hard on June 23, 2017 at I-94 EMR Speedway in Fergus Falls.
“I rolled my car (at I-94), destroyed it. My mom made me take a month off,” Thomas said.
Weeks later, in the same car that was rebuilt by his dad, he picked up his first career feature win at Norman County Raceway in Ada.
He made the jump to the A mods in 2019, and that was a year about getting seat time in the new class.
“The first year I was just making laps,” Thomas said.
In 2020, he broke through for his first A mod feature win on June 19 at I-94. And with each year in the class, the results have improved for Thomas. Since jumping to the A mods in 2019, Thomas has 15 feature wins, including 12 in 2022 and 2023.
He started driving for Torbenson in 2022 and racing collaboration has worked well.
“It’s a good fit. I get along with him. It helps when you winning races but we’ve got a pretty good friendship too,” Thomas said. “He gives me pretty good stuff, I’m thankful for him."
This year, Thomas plans to race the rest of the Moonshine Tour, and hit many local shows before turning the focus to invitational season. There is a new Rage by Black Widow Chassis on the way for the team in the weeks ahead.
“Hopefully we can keep winning some races. I got a taste of it and I like it,” Thomas said. “I don’t want to stop winning. I like running good.”
Wissota Modified #6ST
Residence: Fargo, ND
Sponsors: At The Point Insurance, Leroux Lochow Financial, Rage Chassis, The Clubhouse, Novacek Honey Farms, Valley Tire Online, Superior Detailing Shop, Levi Babcock Construction, Memory Fireworks, Quick-Lift TP Fabricating, Valley Tire Online, Cain Designs and Wraps, Shocks by DCR, The Pit Stop, Pioneer Roll Off, Amsoil TRL Synthetics, Miller Lite