Tucked away in a quiet area of Winston-Salem is Hank Thomas Performance. Hank Thomas himself still runs things with the help of right-hand man Mike Phillips. The shop has been in the same location for 51 years and services drag, circle track and road racing customers.

Hank’s been involved in motorsports for some time, in fact the first race he ran himself in 1956 was promoted by Humpy Wheeler at Robin Wood Speedway in Gastonia. Hank raced quite a while and finally hung up his helmet and became a mechanic before starting his business.

The biggest part of Hank Thomas Performance is Sunoco Race Fuels; Hank is one of 15 distributors of Sunoco Race Fuels in the United States. He started with drums of fuel, moved to a 1,000-gallon fuel truck and now uses the truck pictured here. HTP now services more than 20 tracks with fuel during racing season. The difference between race fuel and what we pump into our passenger cars is price for one thing — $7.80 per gallon to roughly $3.40 for unleaded regular. The other difference is that Sunoco Race Fuel never sees a pipeline. Its transportation costs are much higher to ensure no cross-contamination and it has a yearlong shelf life compared to your local gas station’s 30-day lifespan.

Quite a bit of Hank Thomas Parts’ business comes from nearby Bowman-Gray Stadium competitors. And he also sells to mini-stock competitors, Cup drivers, and asphalt modified folks. Eighty percent of his business walks through the front door; the other 20 percent is mail order. HTP is the exclusive dealer for Gold Dust, which is used by dragstrips to enhance traction.

HTP sells Carrera, Moroso, Goodridge, G-Force, Kirkey, Wilwood, Ohlins, and QuarterMaster; well, you get the idea. There are more than 9,000 pieces of inventory on hand at any given time. Visit Hank Thomas Performance for more information.

Corinne Economaki