Race Weekend Central

Dean Thompson Makes a Little Luck, Scores Career-Best Finish in Charlotte

Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.

And sometimes you’re so good you make your own luck.

Fresh off a runner-up finish in the ARCA Menards Series General Tire 150 Friday afternoon, Dean Thompson climbed into his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series machine at Charlotte Motor Speedway for another 200 miles, and when he climbed back out, he had a career-best third-place finish to show for it. 

Thompson qualified seventh in the No. 5 TRICON Garage truck, also a career-best effort. From start to finish, he barely faltered, running in the top five for most of the night to seal the deal. 

It wasn’t too long ago that the No. 5 team was down and out after crashing at North Wilkesboro Speedway a week ago and finishing 35th a week after Thompson posted his first top 10 at Darlington Raceway.

See also
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Thompson’s team has struggled to find both luck and consistency in 2023. In the first 10 races, he crashed out of five, including a brutal wreck at Texas Motor Speedway that destroyed his truck. His finishes, when he finished, were nothing to write home about.

Until Friday, when he found himself riding what he called a “rocket ship.”

The 21-year-old expressed his gratitude after the race. “It’s surreal to be here,” Thompson said. “I’m just so honored to be here and to be doing this. I’m so grateful.”

Thompson was also quick to credit his TRICON team for their efforts. “It’s everything I can ask for. I mean, the guys put together a rocket ship to go win this race and now it was in my hands to go win it. I think we had enough to win; the cards just didn’t fall our way.

“I have the most badass team in the whole garage. These guys work their tails off, night in and night out. They just do everything they can to get this truck pristine … I can’t brag on my guys enough.”

Thompson admitted he was decidedly happier with his third-place run than his runner-up finish earlier in the day. “I got all upset about P2 in that race, and now I’m stoked to be here in P3.”

With North Wilkesboro firmly in the rearview, and some momentum from Darlington and Charlotte on his side, Thompson now has the rest of the season to work on being more consistent and on finishing races.

The luck can turn around. Thompson just has to be good, and Friday night, he proved he was.

About the author

Amy is an 20-year veteran NASCAR writer and a six-time National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) writing award winner, including first place awards for both columns and race coverage. As well as serving as Photo Editor, Amy writes The Big 6 (Mondays) after every NASCAR Cup Series race. She can also be found working on her bi-weekly columns Holding A Pretty Wheel (Tuesdays) and Only Yesterday (Wednesdays). A New Hampshire native whose heart is in North Carolina, Amy’s work credits have extended everywhere from driver Kenny Wallace’s website to Athlon Sports. She can also be heard weekly as a panelist on the Hard Left Turn podcast that can be found on AccessWDUN.com's Around the Track page.

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