NASCAR driver Tommy Regan was born in Pleasanton, Calif. Regan will return to his home turf to kick off the next chapter in his NASCAR career and fulfill his lifelong dream of driving in a NASCAR Cup Series race.
“I was born and raised in a horsepower family,” Regan said in an exclusive interview. “My dad always had a hot rod in the garage and a v-drive boat. We were always going to the lake tearing it up. When we got a little older, my dad bought me and my brother a Wheelin’ Sportsmen late model. My brother would race it one weekend and then I would race it one weekend. It was just a blast with the family time doing the racing. In 2012, I started racing in the NASCAR K&M Series. In 2013, I moved up doing some truck stuff. I had a NASCAR reality show on Velocity about me training in the truck series.”
On June 25, 2017, the 39-year-old NASCAR driver Tommy Regan will race, against 39 of the best stock car drivers in the world, on the uniquely technical 2.52-mile Sonoma Raceway.
“I’ve been doing a lot of road racing out here in California on the track days. I’ve been getting lots of training over the past year and a half. I’m absolutely ready to make my first start in the Cup series. Especially at Sonoma, it’s my home track. I’ve done more laps around that track than most people that I know. I know what it takes from a driver to do really good in that race.”
I’m familiar with the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. and the Long Beach Grand Prix. How will it be similar or different from those races?
“I did get a chance to see the Long Beach Grand Prix one time. It was really cool. Elevation change is a big thing at Sonoma. It’s weird looking at the sky, going 130 miles per hour. The atmosphere is a lot different. It’s really hot there. I’ve been around the full oval at California Speedway quite a few times. But I’ve never done a Cup race or an Xfinity race there yet. I can’t wait to though.”
What do you hope to learn from this experience in the Cup series?
“There’s always a lot to learn. If you’re not in the top five or top 10, you need to be learning more. (laughs). I have every ambition and am totally committed to becoming a top five, top 10 driver in the Cup series. To learn all aspects: tire management, how to work with the team, the processes, getting communication back from practices so they can set the car up right. It’s weird because I’ve been racing for so long and I’ve learned so much that now that I’m at the Cup level, I’m torn.”
Are you hoping to one day race part-time or full-time in the Cup series?
“With the strategies that we have set in place, I’m looking to run full-time in the Cup series within a year to two years. I’m looking to be on a competitive team and have good showings on a weekly basis. Our strategies with our sponsors are really, good now. If we can build on that and keep that momentum, I truly believe I can be a full-time Cup driver within one to three years.”
Last week I spoke with NASCAR driver Aric Almirola. Two days later, he got in the major fiery crash at Kansas. Do you think NASCAR is a safe sport?
“Absolutely. I applaud NASCAR and I’m very proud of the ways and the direction that they’re moving into. If you look at what it was 50 years ago compared with today, it’s night and day. If that crash would have happened 20 or 30 years ago, the outcome would have been much different. My prayers go out to Aric. I hope he gets a full recovery. Nobody wants to see any driver truly get hurt. Yes, I think NASCAR is doing everything they can and continuing with the safety.”
I know that some of the tracks have been struggling with attendance. What do you think they need to do for the fans to get them more excited about going to the races?
“That’s a funny question. I’ve only heard that online and in the media. I was at Daytona this year and it was sold out. I looked at the stands in Atlanta and it was packed. California was packed. I’m not noticing a shortage in attendance at the races that I’ve been to. I just don’t notice it. Everytime I’m at a race, I see the stands fully packed.”
What are some of your hobbies outside of auto racing?
“I really like riding my dirt bike. If I get hurt before my Sonoma race, I don’t know what I’d do. I’ve been doing a ton of i-Racing. Doing some jet skiing and hanging out on the water. I haven’t really had time for hobbies to be honest with you. I’m up early–I’m training, I’m studying, I’m i-Racing, I’m training with crew chiefs. Basically my whole day for the next six weeks is just focused on Sonoma.”
Please tell me more about your special fan contest giveaway.
“We have a really cool contest going on OscaroParts.com/NASCAR. One of your listeners or fans can sign up for a chance to win to be part of my pit crew at Sonoma. The winner will be flown out to Sonoma and put up in a hotel. You really get to experience what it’s like to be part of a real NASCAR team. We have a bunch of prizes. We’ve got to make it fun. If it’s not fun, why do it?”
Look for Tommy Regan to race in the Toyota / Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on Sunday, June 25. The race will air LIVE on FS1 beginning at 3 p.m.