The Jay Kiser Racing #23 car prepares for battle at Fremont Speedway, August 4th, 2023. (Jacob Hord, photo)

by Jacob Hord, @HordRaceWatcher

After Cale Thomas was let go of the Rudzik 49X sprinter in late July, it only took about two days before he had a ride once again. Jay Kiser Racing tabbed Thomas to pilot the #23 machine for an Attica Raceway Park- Fremont Speedway weekend. Right out of the gate, Thomas had speed in the 23 car. Even battling with Cap Henry for a win at Attica before contact between the two tipped Thomas over. They finished third at Fremont the following night. One week later, they got their first win together at Fremont over Henry. They finished the year with a win in the inaugural Maverick Winged Sprint Car Series event at Lincoln Park Speedweek to give them two wins, five top fives and eight top ten finishes together. 

They’re running it back for the 2024 season, looking to tackle a 60-65 race schedule across Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Michigan, and more. 

“I’m looking forward to the first race,” said Thomas. Which sounds funny, to say because it won’t be the hardest , it won’t be the most fun, and it won’t be for the most money. But it’s to break the ice and shake the rust off for what is to come the rest of the season. Then after that, the next race, and then the next, and take every race weekend by weekend. Build momentum early. Then look forward to racing the big dogs when they come to town or when we go visit them,” Thomas said. 

“We plan to hit approximately 30-35 World of Outlaw and High Limit Racing races, and will fill the other 30-35 races with Attica, Fremont, Ohio Speedweek, Maverick Winged Sprints, and some other high paying races around Ohio, Pennsylvania, and possibly some other states,” stated Jay Kiser, owner of the #23 machine. 

As for goals for 2024, Kiser mentioned respect, and said he doesn’t have any set goals per se, they just want to win races and have fun. 

“We had a lot of fun last year right off the start. Jason Thomas, Cale’s dad, came and helped on the car after Cale was in the car for a couple weeks and made it even better. Jason has been Cale’s crew chief on their own #91 car and some other rides Cale has had, so he knows the feel Cale is looking for and wants. The respect that Jason, Cale and one of Cale’s crew members Geoffrey has towards my team and my equipment is very appreciated,” concluded Kiser. 

Cale echoed Kiser’s statement: “Cut and dry, the easiest answer is to win. I want to win races. But the way you win races is to learn something from each race, and improve upon what you learn. When you win or run well, don’t get too high, and when you don’t run well, don’t get too low. This allows consistency and consistency wins races. I feel so close to jumping to another plateau and showing people what I am truly capable of,” said Thomas. 

Cale Thomas in Victory Lane at Fremont Speedway after his AFCS Win on August 5th,

  1. (Jacob Hord Photo) 

“Cale is easy to work with and is very confident in his ability as a driver. If Jason [Thomas], Brice [Sleek], and Geoffrey [Sleek] and myself can get the car close for him, he is capable of winning every night, in my opinion,” Kiser said. 

The back half of the 2023 season was a solid building block for Thomas and JKR, and they’re looking to take another step forward in 2024.

“I think the success that Cale and I had together in 2023 in a short period of time was very important and could lead to early success in 2024,” said Kiser. “The #23 showed speed to start the year with Zeth Sabo and Hunter Schuerenberg for the weekend we were together. So when Cale jumped in the #23 the first night and ran down the leader [Cap Henry] and was the fastest car on the track at Attica, it didn’t surprise me,” continued Kiser. 

“Any time you build a relationship with a team, with a car, with a motor, you will always build a notebook and consistency. I ended the year with a big win. I’m going into the first race expecting to contend for a win. I had conversations with other potential teams, and conversations with JKR. The grass always seems greener on the other side, until you get there and realize that they just painted the grass. Jay treated me with so much respect, believed in me and my dad,” Thomas said. 

Thomas mentioned a night at Fremont where he made a mistake in qualifying and qualified last. He was expecting to get chewed out when he got back to the pits, but that wasn’t the case, and it stuck out to Thomas. 

“I fell off in qualifying at Fremont one weekend. You get one lap, so I qualified last, which was dumb of me because I probably would have been in the top five. I come in expecting smug looks and an ass chewing. I got high fives and smiles. ‘You’re good dude, we will be fine.’ We went seventh to second on lap one of a heat race. We won the feature. JKR believes in me. I’m doubling down on that belief,” stated Thomas.