T.J. Tindle’s First Win Shows He May Already Have Flair For The Dramatic


The first professional win was always going to be special for T.J. Tindle, and it certainly proved to be that way for the X-treme Pro Mod during the winner’s circle celebration at the X-DRL’s Bash On The Bayou at No Problem Raceway.

But this first win also comes with a story not many could imagine and includes a tale Tindle will be recalling for years to come. It included a late-night phone call, a middle-of-the-night drive across several state lines and a lengthy thrash, adding up to one incredible backstory to the 18-year-old Tindle’s first victory.

“I was going to race (Saturday) no matter what,” T.J. said. He ended up in the winner’s circle, but only after a wild 24 hours where sleep took a backseat.

During a qualifying run at No Problem Raceway in Belle Rose, La., a bell broke off the spindle on one of the rear tires in Tindle’s ’67 Mustang, which was the longtime vehicle of choice for T.J.’s father, Tim.

Tim talked to the company that made the part and they said it wouldn’t be ready until Wednesday of the following week. Well, that wasn’t going to do.

“We’re here to race,” Tim Tindle said. “We’re going to do everything we can to do it.”

That meant a phone call to Randy Altridge, a mechanic for Tindle’s business, and a request for a part of Tindle’s Corvette, which he drove last year in Pro X-treme. Tindle told him to take the entire read-end housing off of both cars, and sent visual instructions just to be sure.

“I called one of my mechanics and sent him pictures of what to take off the ‘Vette,” Tim said. “I told him to take the whole rear end out if he had to.”

Well, he didn’t have to go that far, but there was the problem of getting the parts to T.J. in a relatively timely manner. To do that T.J. made a nearly 200-mile trip that started late Friday evening, meeting Altridge just past the Mississippi/Alabama state line. From there, he motored back to No Problem Raceway with the part in hand, finally arriving back at the track at nearly 3 a.m. on Saturday morning.

The work was just beginning, as the team worked furiously to get the car ready for the final qualifying session at 12 p.m. T.J. squeezed in a couple hours of sleep, got to the starting line and promptly delivered an incredible 3.96 at 187 mph. It gave Tindle the No. 1 qualifying spot and a remarkable run considering the scorching track conditions and what the team went through just to get the car in working order.

“That was pretty impressive, but we couldn’t do it without (tuner) Quain (Stott),” Tim Tindle said. “He’s got the car running great.”

That being said, even Stott was blown away by how well the situation turned out.

“We’ve found some power since Bristol. In this heat, a 3.96 is pretty impressive,” Stott said. “That was great to do. T.J.’s doing a great job.”

As expected, T.J. downplayed the run, deflecting credit to Stott and the rest of the team, which included everyone at the track and guys like Altridge, who made the special midnight run.

“We were just trying to make it down, so that was a pretty stout run. I didn’t expect a run like that,” Tindle said. “It was pretty neat to see after doing all that just to make sure we could race.”

The happy ending and good vibes continues to the end as well, as Tindle claimed his first professional win in just his fifth official race, running 3.992 at 186.54 to beat Kevin Rivenbark, who ran a quicker 3.964. But Tindle was quicker off the line thanks to a .071 reaction time, concluding his memorable weekend in dramatic fashion.

“This is pretty exciting. It’s a big moment,” Tindle said. “I was skating out there a little bit, but he was too close so I didn’t want to lift. It was an exciting moment crossing that finish line.”



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