Throwback Thursday - Dick Thompson

January 28, 2016

Dick Thompson

Team Penske will be celebrating our 50th anniversary in motorsports in 2016. To bring you some of the terrific stories of our five-decade run of excellence Team Penske is running weekly online features. We hope you enjoy this memorable time in our history.

Over the years, some 85 drivers have sat behind the wheel of a Team Penske racecar.  Of those 85, a handful of drivers over the years made just a single start for the legendary team.  One of those “one and done” drivers was one of Team Penske’s very first drivers, Dick Thompson.

Born in 1920, Thompson was an avid sports car racer who came to Team Penske in its first year of competition – 1966.  After winning the 24 Hours of Daytona in its first ever race in 1966, Team Penske decided to enter two cars in another prestigious race that season, the 12 Hours of Sebring. 

With Daytona winners Ben Moore and George Wintersteen in the first car, Team Penske needed a co-driver for the second Sebring entry to pair with Dick Guldstrand, who was also part of the winning 24 Hours of Daytona team. 

Enter Thompson, who had already been racing since the late 1950s and was well versed behind the wheel of a Corvette race car.  Thompson won SCCA championships in various classes in 1956, 1957, 1960, 1961 and 1962, all behind the wheel of Corvette racecars.

Driving the famed Corvette Grand Sport, Thompson and Guldstrand unfortunately did not finish the race due to an accident, while their teammates Wintersteen and Guldstrand went on to take the class victory. 

It would be Thompson’s only start for Team Penske, but not the end of his racing career.

Thompson continued to race through the late 70s, all while continuing to do his main job as a dentist in the Washington D.C area.  Through his racing years, Thompson became known as “The Flying Dentist.”

Thompson was inducted in the Corvette Hall of Fame in 2000 as well as the Le Mans Drivers Hall of Fame in 2013.  He passed away in September of 2014.