East Alabama Motor Speedway

4238 US Highway 80 West
Phenix City, AL 36870



Jimmy Thomas, the patriarch of the Thomas family, began it all back in the 1940's with his fascination for tinkering with automobiles. During his service in World War II he requested a transfer to the motor pool which furthered his interests as a mechanic. After his military time Jimmy returned home and was found hanging around the old Columbus, Georgia Speedway, eventually catching the racing bug and building a car which he drove himself. An early accident and serious injuries convinced Jimmy to make the change from driver to car owner and he saw fit to put Walt Kruger, known as the "Muscogee Flyer", behind the wheel of his racer. Together the team earned the Auburn-Opelika Speedway championship and won more than anyone else that season on the Georgia dirt racing circuit. To put icing on the cake Jimmy would gain great respect around the ovals for being named Mechanic of the Year in Georgia - the first award of its kind presented to a local mechanic.

Early in the 1960's Thomas went into business opening the Good and Bad Furniture Store in Columbus, but more importantly, next door Jimmy's Speed Shop, originally founded in 1954, became a full-time operation offering services for racers of all types.

Following his NASCAR exploits Jimmy returned home to his family and the world of dirt late model racing. His dream of building and promoting a race facility came to be when, in 1973, he built from the ground up the East Alabama Motor Speedway, one of the south's most famous and longest running motor racing attractions. East Alabama quickly became a weekly gathering place for much of the Southeast's top dirt late model talent with its well run programs and ripe purses. The track would also receive a NASCAR sanction in 1978, hold Robert Smawley's inaugural NDRA event in 1978 and become home to one of dirt late models racing's biggest annual events - the National 100 held there each season since 1975. Jimmy also became active in promoter's workshops and in 1974 received the Southern Auto Racing News "Promoter of the Year Award". 

Please use "Flag This Place" to alert us about content that is inappropriate or needs immediate attention. Nothing you submit will be shared with other site visitors.
Explore the free AARP HomeFit Guide

Upcoming AARP Events

View All AARP Events

image of two AARP membership cards
Only $12 your first year with Automatic Renewal
  • Immediate access to your member benefits
  • Discounts on travel and everyday savings
  • Subscription to AARP The Magazine
  • FREE second membership
Already a member? Renew or Print Card