THE DANIEL MILLER team, part of the Southern Sprint Car Shootout asphalt racing competition, has something other teams competing don’t—one newly minted Boilermaker, Dave Tompkins. He’s an employee at the recently organized Cemex plant in Brooksville, Florida.
As of early November, the Cemex Boilermakers are closing in on their first contract, and Tompkins, who’s on the negotiating committee, needs a bit of ongoing stress relief. That’s when he heads to the races.
He’s been on the pit crew of Miller’s team for about a year, but he’s been in the racing world since he was a kid. When he was five, his parents took him to a racetrack located in north Florida. His family was always working on cars. Tompkins jumped back into the racing world in 2002.
“A friend got me into it,” he says. “I just love working on the sprint cars. It’s in my blood. I love the racing. Being able to build something, set it up and send it out. That’s the rush of it, I guess.”
Tompkins works on the underbelly of the car as car chief. “We carry out changes on the car before it’s sent out to race. With the sprint cars, there are two practices, a heat race and feature race.”
And being one of the pit crew, he’s on call for all four events. In addition to making adjustments on the car, he checks fuel levels, the drive shaft and connecting rods and adjusts tire pressure. He also helps construct the car during the off-season.
“We’re coming in the top three this year,” Tompkins says with conviction. “Daniel Miller is a good driver with a lot of experience. I love being on this team.”
But what Tompkins loves the most is being at the track with the rest of the team and being a part of something bigger than himself.
“Racing feels like home,” Tompkins says. “Someplace where can I go to put everything out of my mind. Even negotiations.”