It said in life that one never knows when success is right around the corner. And recently that passage proved to be true for Dirt Late Model racer Terry Henson, as he rounded the corner of turn four on the final lap at Old No. 1 Speedway. Henson captured his first ever dirt late model win, during an event sanctioned by the Southern Outlaw Late Models in Harrisburg, Arkansas.
While talking with Terry Henson you learn quickly that although he loves the sport of dirt track racing, there is nothing that he loves more than his family. One can tell how grateful and proud that he is of his wife Katlyn, their son Lane age 8, and their daughter Harper who is 1. There is just a tone in his voice that rings with pride.
Henson started his racing career at an early age of in life. At age 8, he was racing karts and remained in that division five years. Then in 2012 he started racing dirt track modifieds at the I-30 Speedway in Little Rock, Arkansas. He also ventured out to race at other tracks around the state.
It had always been a dream of Terry Henson’s to sit behind the wheel of a dirt late model, just like his uncle had whose name just happened to also be Terry Henson. His uncle Terry was an accomplished dirt track driver who unfortunately passed away in 2011.
His dream became a reality just a few seasons ago when he purchased his first dirt late model. “It has been a blast traveling around and getting behind the wheel of one of these things. The racing we do has been very competitive and that just adds to the excitement of it.”
During his first season attempt at running a dirt late model, Henson finished 3rd in the overall points for the Southern Outlaw Late Model Series that holds scheduled races throughout Arkansas, Louisiana, and Missouri. The Southern Outlaw Late Model Series also crowned a champion for their races that were held during the season at the I-30 Speedway. And when the points were totaled, Henson was atop the leader board.
Now, Terry Henson has settled into his second year of dirt late model racing. Although the season was hampered to get started due to the restrictions placed on racing facilities due to the Covid-19 scare, Henson has had a wonderful season with a runner up finish and several top five’s this season. Now he can add a win to his record book after the win at Old No.1 Speedway.
“I really wasn’t sure about going up to Harrisburg the day of the race. The weather didn’t look that good and it was raining when we left. It was just one on those days that I wasn’t too positive about. We got up there and it rained and it looked like we weren’t going to get to race. But a break came in the weather and we were able to race. After getting the win I sure am glad I made the trip.”
“I had a good run in my heat race, and finished second. That put me starting on the outside of the second row for the feature. The race then got underway, Rick Hearnsberger and Steven Crocker had some issues at the start and that worked to my advantage. After several laps into the race I was able to work my way into second place. The car was working very well and in a few more laps I was able to pass for the lead. There was a late race caution, but after the green came back out I was able to hold on till the end, and got my first Southern Outlaws Late Model feature win.”
“I had been struggling with some things on the handling of the car. I got ahold of Brian Larimore of Dirt Track Specialist in Nevada, Missouri the week before going up to Harrisburg. He did a lot of work with me, and with his help we were able to get the car lined out. I have to give him a lot of credit for the win, because I could tell a big difference in the car after I got up there.”
The car that Terry Henson refers to and campaigns on the Southern Outlaw Late Model Series is a 2012 MasterSbilt Racecar with the number T2 on the door. The car is powered by 364 cubic inch small block Chevrolet engine that Henson assembles himself.
“I have someone else do all the machine work on all the parts, but when it comes to the final assembly I do that myself,” states Henson.
There is a lot to maintaining any type of racecar, and even more when it comes to a dirt late model. “I spend a lot of time working and going over the car each week before a race. I’m proud to have the help of Jeff Gustin who also spends a lot of his time preparing the car.”
When asked about his favorite place to race is, Henson gets a little excited. “I love pulling onto the track at Batesville Motor Speedway. There is just something about being out on that speedway. I hope to get a win there one of these days. But I have to admit that I now have a special feeling for Old No.1 Speedway.”
Henson, who works during the week as the service manager at Greenway Equipment in Bryant, Arkansas, wanted to be sure to thank his sponsors that help enable him to race. His sponsors include Quanaico Oil & Gas, BrangusBills.com, Fairways at Hurricane Creek, and Eckie’s Racing Parts & Accessories.”
When asked what he likes the most about dirt track racing, Henson was quick to answer. “It’s the friendships that I’ve made along the way. People in dirt racing are more than friends, they are like a large family. Always helping each other. But after that, it’s pushing the throttle down and accelerating off a turn and heading down the straightaway, especially on a small track.”
“I have a lot to be thankful for in life. My family, friends, the ability to be able to race, and my sponsors. I just can’t thank all the people around me enough for helping in make it all happen. I would also like to thank Larry Cossey of the Southern Outlaw late Model Series for his hard work, and making the races happen.”
As the 2020 racing season nears an end, the question arose as to what Terry Henson saw in the future for Terry Henson. “Well my hope is to continue to run good and have great finishes, and enjoy my family and friends along the way.”
We at Arkansas Motorsports Magazine predict that Terry Henson will achieve his future goals, and much more.