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Tommy Kerr striving for the next level

By admin | July 13, 2009


By Richard Allen


Tommy Kerr can win late model dirt races. One look around the Blount Motorsports shop where his cars are prepared shows that. There are numerous souvenir sized paychecks given only to race winners tacked to the wall.

But even with the success he has had, he is still looking for more.

“We’re striving for the next level,” Kerr says with a determined look in his eyes. “We want to be able to beat the best.”

Kerr learned about success in racing at an early age. His grandfather, J.T. Kerr, had a long run of success racing around east Tennessee and the region. Tommy learned well from those early lessons. He won the first race he ever attempted in a mini-modified car in 1994 at the young age of 19.

“I still remember it,” Kerr recalls. “It was a Sunday afternoon at Smoky Mountain and it was so cold it was spitting snow during the race.”

One lesson Kerr learned the hard way in his time in racing is that it is a tough sport. “The low point in racing for me was six years ago when I tried to do it on my own,” he admits. “Nobody can do it alone.”

Kerr is currently partnered with father and son businessmen Larry and Steve Garner to form the ownership of Blount Motorsports. The team operates out of a magnificent shop facility located near Maryville, Tennessee.

Blount Motorsports fields Chevrolet Impala SS bodied cars on a Rocket chassis with power supplied by Custom Race Engines.

When Kerr says his team is striving for the next level he means they are going to seek out the best competition in super late model dirt racing and they are going to do their best to beat the best. “We would rather go longer distances and spend more time traveling to get to where the top competition is than to stay close to home and not race against the best,” he said when asked how his team decides which races they will compete in.

“You can tell when you load your car on the truck after a race if you have raced against good competition,” Kerr explains. “When you race against drivers who don’t know what they’re doing your car has the sides beat off of it at the end of the race.

“When you race the best drivers, your car still looks new because those guys know how to race without running over each other.”

Not only has the Blount Motorsports team raced against the best, they have beaten the top competition. Kerr says his best moment in racing came last year at Volunteer Speedway in the Southern Nationals when he beat the likes of Jimmy Owens and Chris Madden.

So far this year Kerr has won one of the rounds of ‘Friday Night Fights’ at the Volunteer Speedway, his favorite track.

Kerr says his goal has always been to be a top dirt racer. “I’ve always wanted to be around the dirt,” he says.

If he likes being around dirt he is about to get plenty of it. Starting on July 13 the Blount Motorsports team will embark on a two week/10 race tour in the O’Reilly Southern Nationals.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.

For more coverage of racing in East Tennessee click on the link below.

Topics: ET Racing |