By Al Heisley
Brad Thompson was 5 years old when he regularly started going to Orange County. Sleeping on an open trailer, eating track food and knowing everyone, it seems that he was destined to become a drag racer.
His favorite car growing up was the “Rain for Rent” dragster of Warren, Coburn & Miller. One day when he was about 8, he was walking up to watch Warren and Coburn working on the engine when he accidently kicked a small stone against a body panel; frozen in place, his idols stood tall, looking down at him briefly before returning to their work. No, it wasn’t a big deal, but Brad was a wreck. After all, these guys were champions!
As time went on, Brad bought a ’67 El Camino and started driving when he was only 15. He had a lot of fun in that car but once he was legal, he became more focused on drag racing and started Bracket Racing. He became fairly successful at it winning 3 track championships and many titles including a Super Pro and Pro win on the same day.
In 2006, after bracket racing for several years, Brad approached Dave Uyehara and told him he wanted to race Top Fuel and asked Uyehara to build him a car. He then installed an engine he purchased from Jim Murphy and the results were unbelievable. The car ran 5:60s and put fear into his competitors. Somewhere along the line the cars moniker became “Agent Orange”.
Thompson drove this car until his August 2008 life-threating crash at Firebird Raceway in Boise, ID. In early 2009, after 6 months of intensive rehab, Brad rebuilt Agent Orange and raced in an event or two at Bakersfield. In 2010, he started driving Dale Singh’s “High Speed” Top Fuel dragster. This is where he also started working with his friend Brett Johansen again. At the end of the 2011 season Thompson and Johansen left the “High Speed” team to venture out their own.
In late 2011, Brad and Brett Johansen, started racing Thompson’s reproduction of his childhood idols Warren, Coburn & Miller’s “Rain for Rent” rear-engine Top Fuel dragster. From 2010 through 2012, he also drove Mike Stallings’ “Wheel Vintiques” Nitro Funny Car.
At the end of 2013, the team finished the Jailbreak Nitro Funny Car, so named because Brad is a prison Corrections Officer.
Brad and Brett have found operating a funny car to be somewhat challenging because they keep wanting to tune it like a dragster. That being said, however, the car is consistent and the guys continue looking for their first championship with it.
The following list of Brad’s accomplishments is evidence that he a seasoned drag racer; a winner who doesn’t sit on his laurels. Keep an eye on Brad and Brett as they add to this list. They’re definitely a team to watch.
Brad Thompson’s Most Notable Accomplishments
2015 March Meet Rear Motor Top Fuel Champion
2013 California Hot Rod Reunion Funny Car Low ET
2013 March Meet Rear Motor Top Fuel Champion
2012 IHRA Prostalgia Funny Car Runner-Up – Baton Rouge, LA.
2010-2012 Driver of the “Wheel Vintiques” Nitro Funny Car – Best ET 5.77
2010 National Hot Rod Reunion Top Fuel Champion
2008 National Hot Rod Reunion Top Fuel Champion
2007 All American Fuel Dragsters Top Fuel Series Champion
2007 California Hot Rod Reunion Top Fuel Champion
2007 Governor’s Cup Top Fuel Champion
2007 Firebird Raceway Track Record Holder
2007 Pepsi Nightfire Nationals Low ET
2007 March Meet Low ET
2006 Pepsi Nightfire Nationals Top Fuel Champion
2006 Pomona Nitro Nationals Top Fuel Runner-Up
2006 March Meet Low ET
2005 California Hot Rod Reunion Top Fuel Champion
2005 March Meet Low ET
2004 Fuel & Gas Finals Top Fuel Champion
2003 Nitro Nationals Infineon Raceway B/Gas # 1 Qualified & Champion
2001 NHRA 50th Anniversary National Dragster Challenge Winner
3 Time Famoso Raceway Track Champion