This is the story of how an automotive rivalry turned into a scene straight out of the Godfather.
If you're a car enthusiast, then you know the name Mickey Thompson exceptionally well because of his incredible reputation for high-quality racing tires and penchant for breaking and making more speed records than practically any other racing icon in history. Whether we're sending our Hellcat's tires screaming down the dragstrip at hundreds of miles per hour, taking our built-to-handle vehicles to autocross, or simply browsing an automotive catalog, that famous name will almost certainly surface at one point or another. However, many people are unaware of the tragic fate that he and his loving wife Trudy would experience and the incredible mystery that followed. So what is this terrifying tale that has plagued the automotive community for over 34 years?
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First, a little background surrounding the events leading up to the event. Mickey Thompson had spent his career breaking land speed records and racing around the globe in road racing and drag racing. One particular record set by the famously innovative Mickey was a speed of 406.6 mph in his four-engine "Challenger 1" car, which made him the first American ever to hit 400 mph on land. Eventually, he wanted to get involved more with the business side of things by selling custom parts and tires. This led him to Mike Goodwin, who was said to have been a ruthless businessman and a bit of an arrogant jerk. Mickey struck up a deal with him which soon fell apart due to Goodwin's inability to abide by the terms of the agreement, which resulted in a massive $800,000 lawsuit.
Verbal threats were made on Goodwin's part, which was not uncommon when dealing with Mike. Many colleagues testified that he would regularly make threats and become physically violent with anyone who wouldn't follow his selfish plans. This was confirmed on March 16, 1988, when Mickey and Trudy walked out of their garage only to be met by two thugs who promptly shot the two dead in cold blood. Mickey was the first to be shot but clung to life for as long as he could after Trudy died. It is rumored that the attackers forced Mickey to watch his wife die as a show of force to anyone unwilling to comply with Mike Goodwin's demands in the future. This was essentially a St. Valentine's Day Massacre situation in which everyone knew who did it but couldn't prove anything for sure.
However, just like the infamous Al Capone, Mike Goodwin was eventually brought to justice over 19 years later after being on the run from the law for ten years in the Caribbean islands. This was accomplished because of a witness who was inspired by a television documentary about the slaughtering of Mickey and Trudy to come forward with new information. Mike had spent the last few weeks leading up to the murders surveying the Thompson house with binoculars. Mike will never see the light of day after being sentenced to life in prison in 2007.