His story begins in 1966, when he assisted a friend bringing a Starduster biplane to the races. During the week, his friend told him to go and fly 10 laps on the course in the airplane. Bob Downey, then Biplane Class President, watched Tom fly the course and told the plane owner that Tom was good to go (no PRS back then!). And so, his storied career began. In 1968, Tom won the consolation race at 144 mph. The trophy was a silver plated giant snifter out of which Tom drank Benedictine and Brandy that Sunday evening. So as Tom says, "the hook was set." Air racing has been a large part of his life ever since. Along the way, Tom has raced in other locations including St. Louis, Missouri, and of all places, Mexicali, Mexico back in 1980. He tried to compete with some of the Super Biplanes of the era including Cobra, Sorceress and Sundancer, but in his words, his racer "didn't have enough." In 1986, Tom was the fastest qualifier but finished second in the race. In 1987, Tom won the "Gold". Tom's fortunes really changed in early 2003 when he showed a new friend a raw, previously flown Mong fuselage truss which Tom had already done some modifications on with the intent of making it a new racer. His friend had two questions. Number one, will it win? And number two, can you have it ready for Reno this year? The answer to question one was "yes" and on question two, the answer was "possibly." With money available, ten or so workers assigned, and two "visionaries", it was ready to fly. Their 2003 arrival in Reno was in the middle of the night, planned that way to reinforce the racer's name, "Phantom." Final assembly occurred the next morning and when the FAA wondered if the plane had yet been flown, Tom's quick wit mentioned to them that his butt was still sore from flying the necessary 40 hours in 11 days. And yes, that plane "Phantom", would go on to win nine times with Tom at the controls and  one more time with Andrew Buehler flying it. In 2015, Tom set new records with the fastest ever Biplane qualification speed of 284 mph. He also set records in all three Heat Races throughout the week. Unfortunately, a pylon light failure prevented his setting a Gold Race speed record by only a few seconds. Imagine a first race win in 1968 at 144 mph to a qualification record of 284 mph in 2015. It is amazing just how much fun race pilots have with their toys!