Thomson driven to wear NASCAR ring

There isn’t much that Don Thomson Jr. hasn’t accomplished in Canadian stock-car racing, but there is still one more thing he would like to add to his bulging résumé — a NASCAR championship — before he hangs up his helmet.

“Definitely, I want to win one of those (NASCAR) championship rings,” he said.

After winning back-to-back CASCAR East Series titles in 1999 and 2000, Thomson (No. 4 Home Hardware Chevrolet) went on to earn an amazing five straight CASCAR Super Series (national) championships from 2001 to 2005.

Thomson, who turns 48 on Aug. 24, does not measure success by championships, but rather by race wins.

“If you run up front and win races, then the points and championships take care of themselves,” he stated.

And there lies the rub — winning races. After winning the inaugural NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 race in 2007, he went on to win three more times over the next 23 races, but he has visited Victory Lane just once in the last 22 events.

Does that bother the veteran from Hamilton?

“Yes and no,” he said. “As a competitor, it bothers me anytime I don’t win, but I’m not really concerned about it. (Fitzpatrick Motorsports) is in a bit of a transition right now with our cars. We’re trying some different things out and we get closer to getting it right every time out. We’ll get there.”

His Fitzpatrick Motorsports teammate is JR Fitzpatrick (No. 84 Schick Hydro Chevrolet), who is in a heated points battle with DJ Kennington (No. 17 Castrol Edge Dodge), while Thomson lurks well within striking distance and it is not beyond the realm for Thomson to make a hard charge as the season heads down the homestretch.

Here’s the scenario — Thomson strings together a couple wins and has a shot at the title in the season finale. With 10 laps to go, he finds himself in the position of having to pass Fitzpatrick to earn that ring he covets.

“I will race him hard and do every-thing I can to pass him clean, but I will not move him,” Thomson said. “I have too much respect for the Fitzpatrick family to do that.”

The role of the wily veteran is one that Thomson cherishes.

“I’m here to win,” he said. “But I also want to help out and teach some of these younger guys to further the position NASCAR now has in Canada.”

Winning and nurturing the sport is not a bad legacy to leave behind.