From The Hospital Bed to the Driver's Seat
 January 25, 2022| 
  • Team News

(January 24, 2022) - A month after a climbing trip from El Capitan, in Yosemite National Park, Tony McIntosh became extremely sick. It was not looking good as the team of doctors worked to figure out his mysterious illness. His nervous system was being viciously attacked, which led to weeks of not being able to eat, sleep, and in constant pain from Trigeminal Neuralgia. As weeks turned into months the sickness moved into his frontal lobe portion of his brain and started to attack his hearing and vision. The doctors narrowed in on a bacterial infection and started a treatment with a protocol similar to treating an Anthrax exposure. 


“My condition was so severe, I really thought it was the end of the road for me,” Tony recalled. “While I was sick, I would daydream to take my mind off the pain. I thought of all the things I would do if I ever got a second chance to live a normal life. Driving a car on a race track was one of them.”

Tony did recover, with the exception of some nerve damage and permanent Tinnitus; however, by this time the Covid-19 pandemic started to take hold in the United States. “While I was getting stronger and able to go do normal things again, everything was closing. One of the few things still open was the race tracks. So, I signed up for a track day as a beginner, after one day I was hooked.” Tony placed an order for a track day car and waited. That’s when an ironic coincidence happened. One of Tony’s coworkers was a college roommate of Jared Thomas. They were introduced and Jared started working with Tony in a Spec Miata, then Spec MX-5. That’s when Jared first mentioned the MX-5 Cup Series. 


The track day car delay turned from weeks to months. So, Tony signed up for Lucas Oil School of Racing as a way to keep progressing and to get his race license. That is where he met Selin Rollan and Glenn McGee. After impressing in his first school, The Lucas Oil team of coaches nudged Tony into their race series where he had his first race in January of 2021.


Glenn McGee added, “Tony was thrown on a race track with all of these talented, aggressive, and young karting kids, with far more experience than him. Many of which are champions and up-in-coming talents in motorsports. It's not an easy field, and he was showing impressive pace and maturity right away.” That’s when Glenn started sim-coaching him. “I saw him making these huge saves, yet he was still super smooth in the car and calm on the radio. He has that extra level of talent and determination. Those drivers are special to work with because you can challenge them to develop quickly, without worrying about common setbacks. I knew right away that he was ready to learn more advanced concepts, race craft, and race tracks through intense sim-training on iRacing.”


All of the coaching work of Jared Thomas, Glenn McGee, and the Lucas Oil team paid off on October 30th, 2021 when Tony was one of a four driver team to take a historic win in the first ever 24-hour race at Sebring. 


Now, exactly one year from his first race, Tony will be continuing his development up the racing ladder, driving alongside Glenn McGee and Jared Thomas, of JTR Motorsports Engineering in the 2022 Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires.

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