Robert the Gentleman Racer


Tribute to Robert Tomlinson Gentleman Racer 1954-2018

I was deeply saddened when I heard that the 64 year old  Arthurette, New Brunswick stock car racer had passed away suddenly on Monday October 21. I have known Robert since 2013 when he ran at Spud Speedway. He always had good things to say to me when I talked to him at the track.

When I raced karts at Spud Speedway in 2013 after Troy Haney constructed a purpose-built kart track, Robert let me change in his race car hauler in the pits. More times than not, he would have comments after the races with a smile on his face. I will miss that smile.

One of Robert Tomlinson’s best friends in racing was Glenn Rasmussen, New Denmark, New Brunswick. Rasmussen raced seventeen years with Robert and four more years with his son Ian behind the wheel. Glenn was one of the pall bearers at Robert’s funeral Saturday in Tobique, New Brunswick at Brunswick Funeral Home. Tomlinson was laid to rest at the Arthurette Free Will Baptist Cemetery.

Glenn Rasmussen on left confers with his friend and fellow New Brunswick racer, Robert Tomlinson during a slower moment at the races. (Holly Rasmussen photo)

Glenn said this about his friend, ” Robert and I first met in 1991 after I started racing in the mini stocks. Robert would stop and give me some driving pointers as well to help with getting the car to handle better.”

Several years Glenn Rasmussen on left and Robert were  part of the Canadian contingent that raced late models at Spud Speedway until weekly races halted in 2015. (Lynn Martin photo)

“I joined Robert in the Pro Stocks in 1995. Robert was always there to help or lend parts. His determination was second to none and he never quit. ‘He is what every local racer should be racing for, and that’s to have fun’.

I believe this was the last feature win for Tomlinson at Spud Speedway in 2015. He certainly was pleased after this win. (Lynn Martin photo)

Mike Francis long time race photographer from Moncton, New Brunswick, “We could all learn from Robert. Whether he was having a good or bad day at the track, Robert always had a great smile and was always willing to chat to anyone.”

Tomlinson in a heat race at Speedway 660 in 2019. He finished the points race in 4th place. In 2018 he finished 7th, the 2017 season 10th, and 2016 in 7th. His consistency and perseverance paid off. (Mike Francis photo)

Official Speedway 660 site had this to say about Robert, “Our deepest condolences to the Tomlinson family, friends and crew on the loss of Robert Tomlinson, one of Speedway 660’s kindest drivers.”

“Robert is what the sport of stock car racing is all about. Regardless of what kind of day the 29T was having on the track, both on and off the track, he greeted everyone with a pleasant smile and unwavering kindness. His passion and love for his family and racing shined weekly as he pulled into the pits for a night of racing.”

“Robert will be missed deeply in the Pro Stock Division where we were blessed to have him race since the Track opened 26 years ago. His loyalty to the Speedway and racing community was second to none and will be greatly missed.”

“Regardless how his night was at the track, Robert would meet you with a big smile and was always willing to do some bench racing. The racing community has lost one of it’s nicest gentleman racers with Robert Tomlinson’s passing. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and crew at this time.”

Robert got his start in stock car racing at Spud Speedway in the late 80’s in the 4X car run by the Craig family (Tomlinson family photo)

When Spud Speedway re-opened in 1991 after a few years of inactivity in the late 80’s, Tomlinson ran this late-model for three years. His car owner was Joe Craig. (Tomlinson family photo)

Robert began his racing career in the 1980s and was a familiar face at Speedway 660 for the last 26 years. Robert was in the first Pro Stock race when the track opened in July 1994, finishing second on Opening Night when the track was called New Brunswick International Speedway. ((Mike Francis photo)

In an interview with Speedway 660’s Wade Wilson in 2017 Tomlinson was asked, “You have been racing for three decades and are one of the last drivers on our roster to have raced here on opening night in 1994.”

Robert: I figured you might bring that up, but you know what, I still feel pretty good about getting into a race car and I’m still having fun. I do admit it’s a little more difficult now that I’m getting older, but I feel great. It’s a lot harder to win races and get podium finishes than it used to be, but I can still run a hundred or a hundred and fifty laps and get out of the car and feel pretty good. So I’m going to keep doing it as long as I am having fun. I’ve got enough equipment back at the shop to be able to keep doing it for a while.

Tomlinson finished fourth in the RE/MAX East Coast Elite Pro Stock division in 2019, capping off the year in last month’s McLaughlin Roof Trusses 250 with a 14th place finish.

Robert Tomlinson and family at his beloved Speedway 660 in Geary Woods, New Brunswick. Pit crew/family members Maynard Tomlinson (brother), Leitha Tomlinson (sister-in-law), Dalice (wife), Robert, Hayley Munro (daughter) and James Munro (son-in-law) Condolences to the family/crew of #29T. (Speedway 660 photo)

Robb Messer crew chief of RYAN Motorsports #1 Pro Stock, Harvey, New Brunswick, “He was the epitome of a racer that had such a passion for the sport. Although he may not have been competing for wins, he still loved racing and was always doing what he could, smiling the whole time! A very nice man for sure. He will be missed.”

Drew Greenlaw Racing, “We really didn’t know him where he raced in different divisions and we were at opposite ends of the pits but from what we have seen and heard Robert was a class act. He may not of had the best equipment all the time but he was there every week because he loved to race. A True Pioneer of the Sport!”

From Jere Humphrey owner of Last Chance Motorsports and race promoter relayed this statement, “Our deepest condolences from everyone at Last Chance Motorsports to the entire Tomlinson family, due to the recent passing of stock car driver, Robert. The communities, on both sides of the border have lost a loyal competitor, fan and a friend at the track(s).”

“Our deepest condolences, along with prayers, as you continue to grieve this tragic & unexpected loss to the Tomlinson family, friends, competitors, sponsors and crew members on the loss of Robert Tomlinson, one of Spud Speedway’s most memorable drivers. Robert is a perfect example of what local Saturday night racing should be all about; regardless of what kind of day the #29 was having on the track, Robert took time out to greet everyone with a pleasant smile and unwavering kindness, whether they were a competitor or a fan.”

“His passion and love for racing shined weekly as he pulled into the pits for a day of racing, year after year. Robert will be missed deeply at local tracks, as his heart and soul was definitely at the oval. Robert’s loyalty to Spud Speedway and the entire racing community was ever so evident, over the years, second to none and will be greatly missed.”

“Sometimes we never understand why awesome people are swept away, before the checkered flag flies for the final time. For several years, I personally was involved with Pro Stock race teams at the local track, racing against the 29 team and will also have best regards for Robert and many cherishable memories from the fierce battles!”

“As several fans awaited the opening of the pit gates at the latest Pro All Star Series Showdown event, I had the great opportunity to stand in line with Robert and several other Canadian competitors and talk ‘racing’, like it was just yesterday, reminiscing about both long ago and current events. It was awesome to stand, listen and bench race with Robert & the Boys.”

Spud Speedway track owner, Troy Haney, had this to say about Tomlinson, ” Robert truly loved racing and always showed up to the track with a smile and full of optimism. Robert was a true racer that loved racing no matter the outcome. We will surely miss seeing him around the track.

Roger Penske awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom

I must admit that I am have been a fan of Roger Penske since I first saw his race team in action at the 1974 United States Formula One Grand Prix at Watkins Glen. The Penske race pits and organization along with driver Mark Donohue impressed me then and continues to this day. I have only greeted Mr Penske once at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona in January 2018. No deep friendship implied.

When I was a teacher I saw a photo with Penske at his desk with a sign E = R (Effort = Results) in the background. I had this made into a sign which I posted at my desk for many years.

When I heard he was being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest award that the government of the USA can award civilians, I was pleased for him, his family, and members of Penske operations which helped make this possible.

Roger Penske awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the White House Oval Office on Thursday October 24, 2019. Family members look on as President Donald Trump congratulates Penske. (White House official photo)

The official announcement from the Penske Group follows:

Team Penske congratulates Roger S. Penske, who was presented with the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom Award Thursday at the White House in Washington, D.C. by President Donald Trump.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom Award is the Nation’s highest civilian honor, which may be awarded by the President to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.

“Roger S. Penske is a well-known American success story,” said the White House statement on the presentation of the award. “Guided by his father’s favorite phrase, ‘effort equals results,’ Mr. Penske built his one car dealership into Penske Corporation, a leader in global transportation services.  On the track, Mr. Penske built and led Team Penske into the most successful motorsports team in history.  Mr. Penske’s passion and unrelenting drive have established him as a business and motorsports icon.”

During the presentation ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House Thursday afternoon President Trump reflected on Penske’s many accomplishments in racing, in business and in community service.

“I’m delighted to present our nation’s highest civilian honor to a giant of American industry, entrepreneurship and auto racing, the legendary Roger Penske,” said the President before presenting the medal to Penske.

Thank you, Mr. President.  It’s a wonderful honor to receive this award.  It’s amazing to be here today.  And thank you, Vice President Pence, you know, for you being here in your busy schedule.

You know, it’s amazing — you know, many years ago, my mother and father invested in me and told me the love and passion of our great country.  And to think that I’m standing here today in the Oval Office with the President and the Vice President, and all of you here today, and especially my family, to receive this wonderful award, it’s just hard to believe that would happen.

As we all know, people make a team and people make power.  And I think the great thing — and I’ve had the opportunities to do is to surround me with the talented individuals in my business.  And we built Penske Corporation over many years, and to see the success is really due to our people.

Motorsports has been the common thread through our business for many years.  In fact, it helped us build our brand.  Think about 18 Indianapolis 500s and also the many championships.  But guess what?  That was the power of the team.

The 64,000 people who worked for us on a worldwide basis in five continents and nine countries, these are the people who I need to thank today, because if they hadn’t done their work, I wouldn’t be here today.  As we think about things that we’ve been able to do in supporting the communities where we work and where we live, in 2006, I was the Super Bowl Chairman in Detroit — Super Bowl 40.  This was an opportunity for me, as an individual, to get the public and private sector together to start developing a plan for the renaissance of the city of Detroit.

If you think of that today, it’s called almost a “model city,” 13 years later, when you think about Detroit.  It is the automotive capital of the world.  As we go forward together as a nation, the innovation and technology that will come out of Detroit will be amazing.

Thinking about my family and thinking about support, my wife Kathy, here today, of 46 years, has been my support — really, my support staff for so many years.  She’s walked this long river for me and along this walk for many years.  And I want to thank her personally for the love and support of my family that’s here today — our 13 grandchildren.  Her love and passion has been so special.

And to think that I’m here today with my five children, their spouses, my brother and his wife, is amazing.  And, to me, this is a very, very special time.

I really want to thank the President for this prestigious honor.  Receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom really is something special.  And, to me, it means more than any business success or motorsports trophy.

I also want to thank the men and women in our armed forces.  They’re the real heroes and the backbone of our country.  I want to thank them.

Vice President Pence, Mr. President, thank you for this honor.

“It’s a wonderful honor to receive this award,” said Penske during the ceremony that included his brother, his five children and his wife Kathy. “It’s amazing to be here today…Winning the Presidential Medal of Freedom is very special, and to me it means more than any business success or motor sports trophy.”

Cold Hard Art one of headliners at SEMA Show 2019

Tom Patsis, Cold Hard Art, Brownsburg, Indiana, will be back at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center November 5-8, 2019. Patsis will be welding up “Blue” out of steel at the Miller Welders booth #23113 at the show and invites you to drop by. Patsis was last at the show as a featured presenter seven years ago. (Cold Hard Art Photo)

“Wear Your Helmet to Work Day”

Grassroots Motorsports Magazine had at least two Aroostook County participants in their 2019 challenge to wear your racing helmet at work. Winner of the contest won a Stilo ST5 GT helmet. The winner was Instagram follower a lady bartender.

Jesse Michaud, Caribou, with his patriotic helmet at his job at a local manufacturing/fabrication shop. (Jesse Michaud photo)

Yours truly on the job at Haney Building Specialties and Spud Speedway. (HTF Motorsports photo)

Tame the Track Snowmobile Tour releases 2020 race schedule

Tame the Track  promoter Jere Humphrey released the  2020 Tame the Track race schedule . More information about the snowmobile racing tour can be found at

Car of the Week

This weeks car is the M-Sport World Rally Car (WRC) Ford rally car in action at the RallyRACC in Spain, The race is the only gravel/tarmac race on the WRC Circuit thus necessitating some radical changes to the rally car set ups. This video highlights the 75 minute transformation ot the M-Sport EcoBoost Ford Fiesta from gravel to tarmac from the mechanics viewpoint. Enjoy.

Lets Go Racing,

Tom Hale

Soli Deo Gloria (Matthew 5:16)

Tom Hale

About Tom Hale

Tom wrote 14 years as freelancer for the Bangor Daily Sports covering motorsports in Maine. Now blogging and concentrating on human interest stories about people and places in racing. He races Champ Karts and owns HTF Motorsports in remote Westmanland, Maine