TORRANCE, CA, OCTOBER 7, 2003 - Three-time California Racing Association
(CRA) sprint car champion Dean Thompson passed away today of heart failure.
Thompson's first CRA main event came on April 27, 1974 at Ascot Park (Gardena)
driving for Bruce Bromme. At the time, no one could have foreseen that
this duo would rewrite the CRA record books and that Thompson would go on to win
a record 103 CRA main event wins and claim three consecutive driving titles from
1980 to 1982.
Twice in his illustrious career (1980 and 1981), Thompson won 16 main events in
a single season and won a record tying five consecutive main events. During
his breakout season in 1980, Thompson was the fastest qualifier in seven
straight CRA events. During that streak, he established new one-lap track
records at Speedway 117 (Chula Vista) and at Santa Maria Speedway. The
following year, Thompson's 22 heat race victories established a new
single-season mark that was never broken.
A four-time Pacific Coast Nationals winner (1979-80-82-85) at Ascot Park,
Thompson's 1982 victory with Steve Kinser chasing him for the majority of the
50-lap race further added to his legend. Feeling he had accomplished
everything he could in racing, Thompson retired from sprint car racing after a
15-win season in 1985. Ten years later, Thompson returned to the cockpit
to drive for Danny Pivovaroff in the Sprint Car Racing Association (SCRA)
series. Although Thompson's return to racing was brief, he led one main
event and scored one dash victory.
Thompson was often in attendance at SCRA events and was scheduled to be at the
Perris Auto Speedway last Saturday during the "Legends of Ascot"
festivities and was suppose to drive one of the Bromme cars he once piloted
until he became too ill to do so. Thompson is survived by his sister
Barbara. Funeral services are still pending.