Betrayal on the Race Track: The Mickey Thompson Story of Innovation, Threats, and Murder

Estimated read time 3 min read

From Record-Breaking Speeds to Cold-Blooded Killing: The Pursuit of Answers in the Thompson Tragedy.

In the action-packed era of the 1980s, Mickey Thompson made a name for himself on the race track, earning recognition by surpassing the 400 mph land speed threshold. Beyond his racing achievements, Thompson narrowly escaped death in a speedboat accident, which temporarily paralyzed him. Together with his wife Trudy, he revolutionized the racing industry through innovative designs and created a successful stadium-racing enterprise. The pair were deeply involved in their business, but one failed deal led to sinister death threats from an identified individual.

Watch a guy in a donk try to run from the cops.

Tragically, this threat became a reality on March 16, 1988. In the dim early morning hours, Mickey and Trudy Thompson were ambushed and savagely shot in the driveway of their Bradbury residence. The first responders found Trudy near their van and Mickey closer to the garage. Both were confirmed dead at the spot.

An initial investigation dismissed robbery as the cause of the murders, as $70,000 in jewelry and $4,000 in cash were found untouched. A mysterious stun gun was discovered at the scene, pointing towards something more sinister.

Authorities came to believe that the Thompsons were targeted in a professional hit. Eyewitnesses recalled hearing gunshots and seeing two men, described as black males, leaving the crime scene on bicycles. The killers were spotted in the vicinity before the murders, leading investigators to suspect them as hired assassins, possibly working for the person who had threatened Mickey.

Colleen, Mickey’s sister, believed the murderers were familiar with the couple’s routine, lying in wait to strike. Mickey’s last moments were reportedly spent begging for Trudy’s life.

The curious choice of bicycles and the lack of a silencer puzzled investigators, leading to speculation that the initial plan may have been abduction and murder elsewhere.

Despite thorough investigations, insufficient evidence left the case unresolved, and the killers remained free.

In the aftermath, the suspected killers were described as two black men in their twenties or thirties, both around 6 feet tall, with muscular builds. The mastermind, the person who allegedly threatened Mickey, was never officially identified.

Over time, additional details emerged. In December 2001, Michael Goodwin, a former business associate of Mickey’s, was arrested and charged with orchestrating the murders. Evidence suggested he may have hired the hitmen after a failed business venture and subsequent lawsuit.

Witnesses, including an ex-girlfriend, testified against Goodwin, claiming he admitted to planning the murders. They also linked him to the stun gun found at the crime scene. Goodwin was even spotted spying on the Thompsons before the crime.

Though initially dropped, charges were later reinstated, and in 2007, Goodwin was found guilty, receiving two life sentences without parole. His appeal in 2015 failed, but the actual gunmen have never been apprehended. They are believed to have escaped to Pensacola, Florida, and possibly the Caribbean, with a $1,000,000 reward offered for information leading to their capture.

The tale of the Thompson murders highlights a dark chapter in the racing world, marking a saga of ambition, betrayal, and a pursuit of justice that continues to this day.

Shawn Henry

Shawn Henry is an accomplished automotive journalist with a genuine passion for cars and a talent for storytelling. His expertise encompasses a broad spectrum of the automotive world, including classic cars, cutting-edge technology, and industry trends. Shawn's writing is characterized by a deep understanding of automotive engineering and design.

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