By Natalie Sather
Colby Thornhill may be a name you haven’t heard of…yet. Thornhill, of Enumclaw, Washington, who just turned 14 years old a month ago has been turning heads in the Northwest since his quarter midget and micro days. Colby made history when he became the first driver to pull off a “three-pete” at the famed Clay Cup micro race, by winning three times in a row. At the end of last year, at just 13 years old, he and his father, Chris Thornhill, decided to make the jump to a full size Sprint Car. “We were always confident in him and his ability to drive a car, but we never thought he would have the success he’s been having so quickly,” Chris Thornhill said.
One might question how can someone so young drive a full size Sprint Car. The Thornhills took all the appropriate steps to get permission to be able to compete. “When my dad asked me if I wanted to run a Limited 360 Sprint Car, I was pretty excited,” Colby said. “It was even more exciting that Steve Beitler, with Yakima and Skagit Speedway, had enough faith in me to let me run at his tracks at just 13.” So at the end of the 2019 season, the team ran four 360 Sprint Car shows with a Limited motor at Yakima Speedway, and won their first ever race in a Limited Sprint car!
For the 2020 season, the team began their season in Oklahoma and Texas with the 305 IMCA division. Once racing opened back up again in the Northwest, the options were limited on how many races they could run, so in addition to the limited class they also decided it was time they put the 360 motor in the car to gain more experience.
“When my Dad asked me if I wanted to put a 360 motor in the car I was pumped. Any racer, if they can, wants to go faster, and I felt comfortable moving up,” Colby said.
The team has been on a roll this season, winning four Limited Sprint Car races, with multiple top 5 finishes. But the biggest win of his short career thus far came this past week, on Thursday August 21st, at Skagit Speedway. On only his eighth start ever in a 360 Sprint Car, Colby became the youngest driver in Skagit Speedway’s 66-year history to win a 360 A Main event. “When I crossed the finish line in first place, I was shocked that I had just won. I didn’t even know what to think, but I pulled up to the trailer with a smile, ear to ear, so happy I had just won my first 360 race,” Colby said.
Thornhills plan to travel as much as they can for the remainder of the season. Montana, California and Oklahoma are all on their list.
For all the latest news and results on Colby Thornhill follow him on Twitter @ThornhillColby or on Instagram at @colby_thornhill_.