Southlake Resident/Realtor Finishes Second in NASA Race
Feb 10, 2015 02:05PM ● Published by Kevin
Photo by Art Kurshudian
Gallery: 2015 NASA Season Opener, featuring Southlake Resident/Realtor Thomas L. Michael [7 Images] Click any image to expand.
While many Southlake residents attend our annual Best of Gala, Southlake resident and Realtor Thomas Michael has to miss out each year. Instead, Michael participates in the National Auto Sport Association (NASA). The organization, along with NASCAR and SCCA, is one of the primary sanctioning bodies for motorsports in the United States. Michael said NASA provides opportunities for anyone from a beginner simply wanting to drive, with instruction, at well known race tracks across the country to experienced racers looking to turn pro.
"In fact, many of todays pro racers came up through the ranks in groups like this," Michael said. "I campaign my car in the NASA Pro Racing GTS Race Series. My car was custom built for me by Midnight Oil Motorsports in San Diego and based on a BMW M3 chassis."
Texas Track Works in Fort Worth now maintains, improves, sponsors and provides track support for Michael. He said they are awesome.
"You definitely cannot succeed without the support of a great team," he said. "At this point only the motor and exterior sheet metal are stock. I have always loved cars and have owned performance cars since my very first car, a 1984 VW GTI.
"Although I participated in high performance driving events essentially since receiving my drivers license, my first event with NASA was in April 2010. A friend encouraged me to take part in a High Performance Drivers Education (HPDE) event that NASA was holding in California and from there I was hooked."
Michael said he worked his way up through the various levels before earning a Time Trial License (Competing against other similar cars by fastest lap time) and finally completing Competition School and receiving my Competition (Race) License. This year, he competed at MSR Houston for the very first time.
"My first day out I was trying to learn which way I was supposed to turn," he said. "It can make for a very humbling start to the day. At the same time, by the end of the day you feel pumped up about the progress you’ve made and are excited about the weekend ahead. Through a lot of hard work, great support from my crew with Texas Track Works and a little luck, I was able to bring home a second place finish."
Michael runs the full NASA Texas schedule, which includes a stop in Oklahoma, starts in January with the season opener in Houston and ends in November.
"Among the goals I set for myself for this season were to be as competitive as possible and land a podium finish (top 3)," he said. "I was fortunate to finish second in the Houston opener so now of course I would love to be able to land a first place finish as well as multiple podium finishes. This is a competitive class with some very successful and aggressive drivers so I will have to bring my A-Game to every track."
The reigning champion for the past two years was Colleyville resident Richard Bosco. Michael said he knows Bosco has no intentions of slowing down.
In previous years, Michael also instructed new students for NASA, the Lamborghini Club and selected events at Circuit of the Americas in Austin. This year, he said he elected not to take on the instructing responsibilities in order to be able to better focus on his racing.
"Our off-season is thankfully very short and in effect, consists of December," he said. "My wife on the other hand probably wishes it was longer. This sport , like many others, demands mental toughness and repetition. Even if you’ve got talent, you need to spend as much seat time on track as you can."
Michael lives in Southlake with his wife Sharon, their 11-year old-son Grant, and their 6-year-old daughter Lauren.
"We absolutely love Southlake and are so blessed to be able to call this home," he said. "My wife and I are top real estate agents in town and have made many very close friendships in the years we have been here. Our son Grant plays flag football for the city of Southlake Champion Titans coached by Carlos Reyes. Grant also and enjoys go kart racing when he isn’t studying.
"Thankfully he is a good student and hopes to attend UT when he graduates. Lauren is in Kindergarten here and pretty much loves trying to be better than her brother at whatever it is that he does. She recently started racing go karts as well."
Michael encourages anyone who thinks they would enjoy driving on track to reach out.
"I have been known to give rides on track to friends, family and clients," he said. "I have also been fortunate to be able to donate rides and track experiences to benefit children’s hospitals, local schools and the Club Corp Charity. I see that as a real win/win for everyone."