Overton bags seventh win of 2022 at EAMS, nets $10...
Overton bags seventh win of 2022 at EAMS, nets $10...

Overton bags seventh win of 2022 at EAMS, nets $10...

5/7/2022 -
Saturday night found Brandon Overton banking his seventh win of the 2022 campaign. His latest voyage to Victory Lane came in Schaeffer’s Oil Spring Na

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Overton bags seventh win of 2022 at EAMS, nets $10,053

Overton bags seventh win of 2022 at EAMS, nets $10,053

5/7/2022
Saturday night found Brandon Overton banking his seventh win of the 2022 campaign. His latest voyage to Victory Lane came in Schaeffer’s Oil Spring Nationals Series action at East Alabama Motor Speedway in his No. 76 Crossfit Overton / Allstar Concrete/ Longhorn Chassis by...more
Brandon Overton claims $20,000 victory in National 100 at EAMS

Brandon Overton claims $20,000 victory in National 100 at EAMS

10/31/2021
Continuing to add new accolades to his record book, Brandon Overton claimed $20,000 for his first-career National 100 victory on Sunday afternoon in his Wells & Sons Motorsports No. 76 Crossfit Overton / Allstar Concrete/ Longhorn Chassis by Wells Motorsports/ Clements...more
12th-place finish in National 100 at EAMS

12th-place finish in National 100 at EAMS

10/31/2021
Payton Freeman invaded East Alabama Motor Speedway (Phenix City, Ala.) on Saturday afternoon to enter his Freeman Plumbing No. F1 Late Model into battle for the 47th annual National 100. With preliminary events on Saturday leading up the finale on Sunday, Freeman secured...more
Danny Martin, Jr. survives for win at East Alabama Motor Speedway

Danny Martin, Jr. survives for win at East Alabama Motor Speedway...

6/20/2020
Danny "The Hammer" Martin Jr from Sarasota, FL captured the Win at the 24th Annual Alabama Sprint Car Nationals at East Alabama Motor Speedway Saturday night after a 7th place start. Defending USCS Champion Terry Gray from Bartlett, TN charged to the runner-up spot after...more


History

Jimmy Thomas, the patriarch of the Thomas family, began it all back in the 1940’s with his fascination for tinkering with automobiles. During his service in World War II, he requested a transfer to the motor pool which furthered his interests as a mechanic. After his military time, Jimmy returned home and was found hanging around the old Columbus, Georgia Speedway, eventually catching the racing bug and building a car which he drove himself. An early accident and serious injuries convinced Jimmy to make the change from driver to car owner, which he saw fit to put Walt Kruger, known as the “Muscogee Flyer”, behind the wheel of his racer. Together the team earned the Auburn-Opelika Speedway championship and won more than anyone else that season on the Georgia dirt racing circuit. To put icing on the cake, Jimmy would gain great respect around the ovals being named Mechanic of the Year in Georgia – the first award of its kind presented to a local mechanic.

In 1955, a group of car owners took over the failing Columbus Speedway and named Jimmy Thomas Race Director. The appointment would serve as Jimmy’s first promotional duties. During this period, Thomas would also continue to mechanic and tune race cars – a couple belonging to Harvey Jones and Eddie McDonald, both Florida and Georgia State Champs who collected a number of big wins in the southeast.

Early in the 1960’s, Thomas went into business opening the Good and Bad Furniture Store in Columbus, GA. But more importantly, Jimmy’s Speed Shop (originally founded in 1954), which became a full-time operation offering services for racers of all types.

In 1965, Thomas turned his mechanical efforts toward NASCAR and the Big Leagues building and fielding a Grand National car for local hot shoe Sam McQuagg – who would become NASCAR’s Rookie of the Year in 1965 driving for Thomas. In 1966, the combination of Leroy Yarbrough driver – Jimmy Thomas car owner/mechanic produced a number of pole awards, track records, and an upset win in the National 500 at the Charlotte, North Carolina Speedway. Thomas, like so very few before proved that a small independent team could knock off the big factory teams on the Grand National circuit.

Following his NASCAR exploits, Jimmy returned home to his family and the world of dirt late model racing. His dream of building and promoting a race facility came to be when, in 1973, he built the East Alabama Motor Speedway from the ground up. East Alabama quickly became a weekly gathering place for much of the Southeast’s top dirt late model talent with its well-run programs and ripe purses, becoming one of the south’s most famous and longest running motor racing attractions. The track would also receive a NASCAR sanction in 1978, hold Robert Smawley’s inaugural NDRA event in 1978, and become home to one of dirt late model racing’s biggest annual events – the National 100 - held there each season since 1975. Jimmy also became active in promoter’s workshops and in 1974 received the Southern Auto Racing News “Promoter of the Year Award”.

In 1974, oldest son Billy began racing late models. So, father and son set out to develop a lighter weight more competitive chassis for Billy to tackle America’s dirt ovals. An extremely fast, jig framed car, with front strut suspension was produced by the family duo and thus the “Jig-A-Lo” Chassis was created. With Billy becoming an instant hit on the ovals, their new design revolutionized the business and dirt racers everywhere began lining up to purchase one of the Thomas’ new inventions. One of their earliest customers, Hall of Fame Georgian Charlie Hughes, drove a Jig-A-Lo to 42 wins in 1976, along with victories in the World 100, the U.S. Dirt Track Championship and the National 100. Also, among the Thomas’ hundreds of Jig-A-Lo customers were Hall of Famers such as Jerry Inmon, Ronnie Johnson, Larry Moore, Jim Dunn, Tom Helfrich, Buck Simmons, Billy Teegarden, Don Hester, Bob Wearing, Billy Moyer, Mike Head and Roger Long. The chassis would eventually be the most copied of all chassis in the history of the industry.

In October of 1980, the racing world was saddened by the loss of Jimmy Thomas, who passed away following a battle with brain cancer. With a huge void to fill the family moved on, continuing Jimmy’s dream. Son Billy stepped up to take over the day-to-day operations. For the next 40 years, Billy continued to improve on what his father had started. Highlights include adding a high-quality lighting and sound system, an enlarged pit area to accommodate at least 400 race teams, as well as box seating and VIP suites to the speedway in recent years. The track’s show place like atmosphere and the smoothness of its operation brought Billy the RPM Regional Race Promoter of the year award in 2009.

In 2021, Billy chose to retire from his lifelong career of running and promoting the speedway. That same year, his oldest daughter Melanie (Thomas) Davidson and her husband Richard took over the day-to-day management of the facility. Billy’s other daughter, Jacqueline (Thomas) Clare, also joined the management team and handles the track’s promotional efforts.

Starting the 2022 season, many planned improvements have been announced. They include a new score board and timing system, bathroom and concession renovations, and new software that provides real-time information to the drivers and the fans electronically via a phone app. All of these changes are designed to further enhance the overall racing experience.

Today, the 3/8 mile high-banked clay oval is still viewed by many as one of the best dirt track facilities in the South.



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