Staying in with Todd R. Thomas

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I’m going off piste for Linda’s Book Bag today and featuring a topic about which I know absolutely nothing as Todd R. Thomas stays in with me to tell me about his book.

Staying in with Todd R. Thomas

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag, Todd. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.

Thank you for having me! You seem to be exponentially more popular than I am.

(That made me laugh! I very much doubt it!)

Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?

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It was an easy choice, since I have only written one. I brought Racing With “The Doctor”: Recollections from a Member of Jerry Crabb’s Sprint Car Pit Crew. It is the result of a 12 year project, which includes a 10 year hiatus in the middle.

What can we expect from an evening in with Racing With “The Doctor”: Recollections from a Member of Jerry Crabb’s Sprint Car Pit Crew?

I was a snot-nosed 18-year-old in 1985 when I attended my first sprint car race at Knoxville Raceway in Knoxville, Iowa, and fell in love with the sport. As luck would have it, six years later I found myself, with zero experience, as a member of Jerry’s pit crew. I was an outsider and it was all new and shiny and interesting to me, so I would sometimes write things down as a way to keep memories from fading. After Jerry retired from racing I attempted to put my notes in a book-like format – then let it sit on my computer for 10 years. But it was always in the back of my mind, kept nagging at me, and wouldn’t shut up until I did something about it. I came across it again last year, continued working on it, and self-published in March.

(You’d be surprised how many authors tell me how long it has taken to get their book completed Todd.)

Hopefully the topic does not turn those away who are not familiar or interested in racing, because I’ve received positive feedback from readers who know little about the sport. I believe the below review received on Amazon describes it best:

Wonderful racing memoir! My brother recommended this book to me as a great read and he was right. I’m not a die-hard race fan by any means, but Thomas’ recollections of working his way up in a sprint car race crew are perfect for those with lots of knowledge about the sport, or very little like I have. We get to ride along with him as he learns the ropes as he works pit crew for racer Jerry Crabb, and I’m not going to spoil anything, but the climax race for Thomas’ team is one of the best I’ve read in a sports book. Great read. Great coming of age story. I can totally see this one as a movie someday. Thomas makes you feel like you’re in the pits with him as the engines roar. Definitely going to give it a second read!

(What a wonderful review. And actually, Todd, I think books are the perfect way to discover something new.)

What else have you brought along and why? 


I brought the cowl from Jerry’s sprint car, which normally hangs on the wall in my man cave. It is a little amazing that it survived, because Sometimes Bad Things Happen (also a chapter title in the book) in sprint car racing. Note the name “Mr. Cool” refers to me. For some reason that was my nickname, likely given sarcastically.

Thanks so much for staying in with me Todd. I’ve learnt an awful lot about a topic I knew nothing about. Good luck with Racing With “The Doctor”.

Racing With “The Doctor”:

Recollections from a Member of Jerry Crabb’s Sprint Car Pit Crew

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Jerry Crabb raced motorcycles, 3-wheelers, and 4-wheelers from the 1960’s into the 2010’s. At the age of 47, in 1990 he made his first start in a 410 cubic inch sprint car at Knoxville Raceway. In 1991 he built his own 360 cubic inch sprint car, and raced at Knoxville and several Iowa tracks until 2006. He was the winner of the 1998 Masters Classic at Knoxville Raceway. This book contains recollections from a fifteen year member of Jerry’s sprint car pit crew.

Racing With “The Doctor”: Recollections from a Member of Jerry Crabb’s Sprint Car Pit Crew is available for purchase here.

About Todd. R. Thomas


At the age of 18 in 1985, Todd Thomas attended his first sprint car race at the famed Knoxville Raceway in Knoxville, Iowa, and fell in love with the sport. As fate would have it, six years later the avid fan found himself as a pit crew member on Jerry Crabb’s sprint car pit crew, and he served in that capacity for 15 years. After Jerry retired from sprint car racing in 2006, Todd compiled the notes he took over the years and attempted to put them in a book-like format. It sat on his computer for 10 years until he came across it again in 2017. He continued working on the project and eventually published this book in March of 2018. Todd is a life-long Marion County Iowa resident.

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