Life with Dirt in Your Hair: Teammates 2017

Kevin Thomas Jr. - Collin Markle photo

Whitney Thomas in victory lane with her husband, Kevin. (Collin Markle photo)

The race season has “ended” and 2016 is rapidly coming to a close. I really don’t feel like race season ever ends anymore.

So many things are changing.

Drivers and race teams are making moves, swapping drivers, new teams are forming, and currently we are waiting to see what 2017 holds for us. Kevin has no full-time ride with a race team at this point, and I launched a marketing company in the middle of December.

Highs and lows have been the theme of 2016 and it continues to carry on.

Right now, Kevin is in a low so to speak. He didn’t finish the season as strong as he had hoped, even though looking back this has been a remarkable year.

He had 13 wins, 38 Top 5’s, and 59 Top 10’s out of 89 races.

Kevin was driver and crew chief for the better part of the year. Most people don’t know he set up his own race cars this season. Wearing two hats can be stressful. Just ask some of those guys that own their own teams and drive the car too.

He really dug in, put forth the effort, and claimed some pretty awesome awards including, Kokomo SmackDown V Champion, ISCN Driver of the Year, most wins in a Non-wing Sprint Car in the country, and the Kokomo Speedway Track Championship to name a few.

I am so proud of him as a wife and a partner in this wild ride we call life. Which is why it pains me so much to see him without a definite job next year. He has a few things in the works but nothing permanent yet. He’s actively searching, and we are both hoping and praying something works out.

For people who don’t understand this is racing in the truest form. You can have the best year of your career and be jobless the next season in a matter of days.

Uncertainty. It’s the life style we chose.

It’s nerve-racking at times, but it usually works out. Kevin always tells me, “I’m not waiting on stuff to happen for me. I’m going to make it happen,” and he hasn’t let me down yet.

You can look for a press release from Dub Publications & Media regarding his 2017 future plans once we know what they are. DPM is the company I launched by the way. It offers professional marketing and promotional services geared toward, but not limited to, motorsports drivers and race teams. This is something I had been mulling over for several months and I finally worked up enough courage to do it.

I was the President of our Marketing Association in high school, won first place at a state competition, and finished third in national competition.

Yes, I was and am a closet nerd, and I don’t’ mind admitting it.

I’ve worked in marketing for over seven years now. I was the Public Relations Manager for Riverside International Speedway in West Memphis, Arkansas, for a full season before moving on to be the Marketing Director at a non-profit for abused and neglected teenage girls.

Once I moved to Indiana, I worked for an access control company as their Marketing Coordinator. Not to mention, I’ve been doing my husband’s marketing and PR for three years now. I’ve done a little freelance work for people as well and decided it was time to legitimize my passion.

Dub Publications & MediaI kept the news about DPM to myself until a few days before the launch. I wanted an honest reaction from people.

Wow, did I ever get one. I received countless calls, texts, emails, and social media posts over the news. All of them encouraging words and congratulatory remarks.

The most common was, “There is such a need for this in the Mid-West,” and “You’re going to be perfect at this.”

Two very big things to live up to. I’m up to the challenge, but I’m also a little anxious – nervous – excited because I feel like so many people will be scrutinizing me. I suppose that will keep me on my toes and force me to be extra vigilant, which isn’t a bad thing in this business.

I am not limiting myself to the Mid-West and already have clients on the West Coast and several in between. I currently have 10 clients on board and several more making decisions at months’ end. My goal for the year is 40. I have so much going on behind the scenes that 40 seems very attainable. I am not a full-service marketing company yet, but I aim to be in the next couple of years. You can learn more about DPM and the services offered at

People keep asking where I got the idea for the name Dub Publications & Media. “W” is the first letter of my name and for years’ people called me “Dub” or “Fowler”. When I got married “Fowler” fell off pretty quickly, but “Dub” has always stuck around.

I thought Dub Pub was catchy, and the web domain was available, haha! Nerd humor, sorry.

Starting this business not only lets me apply my skills and passion for the job, but it will also give me the ability to continue to travel with my husband and his profession. I’ve given up on the idea that I’ll ever have something that is solely “mine” again after getting married.

I struggled with having my own identity separate from Kevin for a little while. I started writing for to have something of my own and it’s a column about life with my husband. I started DPM to have something that’s mine, and he’s a client.

I just laugh.

I have been slowly reminded that when you get married two become one and it’s very true. Not that I don’t have or do things for myself, I do, but our lives are very much one. Even my Twitter handle, @Mrs_KTJ, is about him. As hard as I fought it for a while, I’m embracing being a team with him.

My last article was about Bryan Clauson, and how his passing affected all of us. There was no better team than Bryan and Lauren in my eyes.

I admire her.

She is younger than me and I look up to her more and more every day. She supported Bryan unconditionally. I’ve heard her make comments like, “Well, Bryan is going to win,” or something to that effect and I’ve thought to myself, “How pretentious.”

Now I understand, and envy how easy it was for her to be that way. Not to say she wasn’t his most honest critic. I think Bryan, or at least Kirk Spridgeon would confirm that.

I want to be able to love and support my teammate like she did. Her confidence and pride in him was second to none. She asked all of us to continue to “Be like Bryan” in how he carried himself, but really I want to be like Lauren.

2017 is knocking on the door. Chili Bowl is right around the corner, and then Florida in February. Before we know it, the season will be in full swing.

Next year is full of uncertainty, but I know that whatever happens, happens for a reason.

For now, I’m going to continue to pray Kevin finds the team that is right for him, and that I can be successful in my own business venture.

I read somewhere that “The only certainty is that nothing is certain, but when nothing is certain, everything is possible.”

Read more of Whitney Thomas’ signature articles:
Life with Dirt in Your Hair: Volume 1 – Edition 1
Life with Dirt in Your Hair: Volume 1 – Edition 2
Life with Dirt in Your Hair: Volume 1 – Edition 3
Life with Dirt in Your Hair: Volume 1 – Edition 4
Life with Dirt in Your Hair: Volume 1 – Edition 5
Life with Dirt in Your Hair: Volume 1 – Edition 6

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