CONCORD, N.C. – Growing up in Langhorne, Pa., Kevin Thompson spent his days working with his family’s business, learning how to be a mechanic. Today, Kevin is the interior mechanic for Mark Martin and the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports NASCAR Sprint Cup team. Meet Kevin:
Full name: Kevin James Thompson
Nickname and how you got it: I got the nickname “Smiles” from my Sprint car friends because I always walk around smiling. And I recently got the nick name “Jerry” while working at Hendrick Motorsports.
Hometown: Langhorne, Pa.
Education: Bucks County Technical High School and Neshaminy High School in Langhorne.
Team/job duties: Interior mechanic on the No. 5 GoDaddy.com team.
Time at current job: I started working at Hendrick Motorsports on Dec. 1, 2010.
Years in racing: 13.
First racing job: Scraping mud off a Sprint car and mounting tires thanks to Len (Thompson) and Josh.
First job overall: I was a mechanic at a family business -- Thompson Motor Service.
If I wasn't in racing I would be: I never thought about doing something else. My passion has always been racing.
Best racing memory: It’s a tie between the Williams Grove (Pa.) Speedway Sprint car win with Len Thompson and qualifying for the Knoxville Nationals with driver Erin Crocker in 2010.
Favorite track: Eldora Speedway in Ohio.
Hobbies outside of racing: Wakeboarding, mountain biking and relaxing with friends.
Favorite sport other than racing: Any extreme sport, mainly motocross.
When I’m not at the track, you can find me: Working in the yard, sitting on the porch with friends or having a BBQ.
On an off weekend you can find me: At the shop.
Favorite vacation spot: A place off the coast of Washington called Friday Harbor. It’s just a tiny string of islands and not much to do other than hike and relax. It’s peaceful.
Favorite movie: “Pulp Fiction.”
Favorite book: “High School Confidential” by Jeremy Iversen.
Favorite music: Country and rock ‘n’ roll.
Best concert you’ve ever been to: Nickelback in Sydney, Australia.
What you’ll find on my iPod: Everything from the Trans-Siberian Orchestra to Hank Williams Jr., Jay-Z, Clint Black and Aerosmith.
Favorite phone app: What’s an app?! Haha.
Current car: 2011 Chevrolet Malibu that I got at Hendrick Cary Automall.
Dream car: 1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS.
If I could meet anyone, I’d meet: John F. Kennedy
Favorite food: Any fresh seafood.
When I’m training, I always: Have my iPod. I don’t really train much, but I used to swim quite a bit and that was pretty difficult.
If I ran NASCAR, I’d: Lower ticket prices as well as the prices at concession stands.
One thing people don’t know about me: I enjoy helping out at Ronald McDonald House.
Before the race, I always: Say a prayer.
During a pit stop, I’m thinking: One, catch the tire. Then hope that we gain some positions on pit road.
I knew I wanted a job in NASCAR when: I never really knew it. It just kind of evolved to NASCAR from Sprint cars.
Best part of your job: Driving down that hill at Hendrick Motorsports every morning and realizing you’re part of something so much more than just a race team. We’re a sports dynasty. And with that, you’re motivated to put all you have into it each day by giving 110 percent no matter what. Thank you, Mr. Hendrick, for giving all of us that opportunity to work for such an amazing man and organization. Winning!
Favorite Hendrick Motorsports paint scheme: The No. 5 Levi Garrett Chevrolet that was driven by Geoff Bodine in 1985.