Two passions realized for UNOH Grad TJ Thompson

Posted on Wednesday, January 22, 2020


UNOH Grad TJ Thompson behind the wheel

Written by Communications Specialist Georgia Krebs

“The first time I came out here I was pretty overwhelmed, to be honest with you,” TJ Thompson exclaimed. “The facilities are amazing out here. It looks like when you go down to North Carolina and you walk through a NASCAR shop. It was pretty unreal.”

TJ was sold on coming to UNOH from Lisbon, Connecticut to study High Performance Motorsports. Immediately, he was thrown right into the shops with very little actual classroom time. He enjoyed getting into the shop and working on projects and assignments, learning everything hands-on.

Following graduation in 2019, TJ was thankful for his real-world education. “I feel like I graduated UNOH with all the tools that I needed to go straight into Rahal Racing and become an asset to the team immediately.”

Before the age of five, TJ was getting behind the wheel. Whatever his dad would put him in, that’s where he wanted to be. At the age of 23 years old, he is a lead front end mechanic for Graham Rahal. But that position was not just handed to TJ. He lived in North Carolina for a year to immerse himself in the NASCAR world.

An instructor recognized TJ’s commitment and passion for racing, and told him about an opportunity with Rahal Racing. Not only does the university have connections into the racing world, but so do the instructors. TJ landed the job within a year of graduating from UNOH.

“I know guys that I have graduated with that have gone into drag racing, into NASCAR, into IMSA SportsCar racing, myself in IndyCar, other friends that are into the local modifieds and dirt racing sprint cars,” TJ said. “Any area of motorsports that you could want to be in, UNOH has a contact there.

TJ took every opportunity as it came up, which led him to getting back behind the wheel. This is where TJ is today, moving forward on his own racing career and driving. “It all just kind of came together this past year. It’s been a fun learning experience. I’ve had to learn just about every aspect of the sport, even the marketing and relationships aspect,” TJ said.  Speaking of marketing and relationships, some of the partners that have helped move his driving career along this year are JJ Curran Crane Company, RaceTech Development, HMD Motorsports, and Road to Indy.

This is just the beginning of TJ’s career and there is more to come. Between his career in IndyCar with Graham Rahal and working on his own driving career, 2020 is sure to be an eventful year. 

Category: Applied Technologies

Keywords: TJ Thompson, High Performance Motorsports, Rahal, IndyCar

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Last updated: 01/22/2020