Who was Tony Phillips? Drag racing hero’s death mourned in Knoxville TN

Danny Munro January 4, 2023
Who was Tony Phillips? Drag racing hero’s death mourned in Knoxville TN
Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Tributes are pouring in for drag racing driver Tony Phillips after his family confirmed the death of the Knoxville, TN community figure.

In a tough blow for the drag car racing community, the family of Tony Phillips has confirmed that the racer has passed away as they appealed to friends and the wider public for financial assistance.

Phillips, who was known fondly as Tony ‘Six Pack’ or Tony ‘Little Phillips’, was a figurehead in the Knoxville, Tennessee community, and outside of drag racing was a keen family man.

Phillips’ family pays tribute to Tony following drag racer’s untimely death

Taking to gofundme to announce his passing, Phillips’ brother, Cody, uploaded a statement detailing the sad news, writing: “It is with heavy heart that we announce the tragic loss of our dear friend Tony (Little) Phillips of Knoxville, TN.”

“Tony was a one of a kind soul in so many different people’s lives.”

Phillips is survived by his wife of 11 years, Savannah, and their two younger children, Brayden and Mia. Cody shared that “Through the last 11 years of marriage they created so many memories as a family”, and that noted they looked back fondly on their annual trip to Lake Powell.

No official cause of death was given for Phillips and his family did not confirm any official funeral or mourning plans in their statement.

Who was drag racing star, Tony Phillips?

Phillips was best known for his role in a father-son drag race duo, alongside his father, ‘Big Tony’ Phillips, hence his Little Phillips nickname.

The pair achieved great success on the track alongside one another. Phillips’ brother spoke fondly of their success at the World Cup Drag Race Finals Championships, where the duo managed to win the illustrious competition in November 2022.

Phillips documented his and his father’s achievements on Instagram, regularly posting videos and photo updates up until March 2022, where over 3700 fellow drag car enthusiasts kept up to date with the pair.

Phillips was known as ‘six pack’ due to his passion for renovating his father’s Toyota Supra and the late racer was said to have had “so many friends in the racing community.”

Tony Phillips was a community man in Knoxville, TN

Aside from racing, Phillips was also a committed sports coach and a recognized figure in the Knoxville community.

Phillips’ brother spoke fondly of how he “volunteered his time selflessly for the development and coaching of dozens of young boys.”

He continued, adding: “From Spring to Autumn you could find Tony on the fields of Powell running plays and directing games.”

“From mid week practices to full long days on the weekends he gave all he had for the improvement of these sports programs. His passion was palpable.”

Phillips family look to cover financial burden with gofundme

And as the Phillips’ come to terms with their loss, they have appealed for those affected by the racers passing to contribute financially, in order to “help soften the financial burden for Savannah, Brayden and Mila.”

The statement noted that the funds raised will “go towards Tony’s final arrangements and helping his family lay him to rest”, as the family looked to “redirect” the pain of their loss into “a focus of love and support for a shattered family.”

At the time of writing, Phillips’ gofundme page has raised over $26,000, as his family nears its target of $30,000.

“RIP mate. You have touched so many people’s lives and will be missed around the world”, commented one donator below, as another paid tribute to a “Great friend, great coach, great dad.”

To read the statement in full and find out how you can donate, please check here.

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Danny Munro is a Freelance Entertainment Reporter at GRV Media sites HITC and The Focus and is currently in his third year of a Journalism and Politics degree at the University of Strathclyde. From Twitter to TikTok, his finger is constantly on the pulse of the latest online trends and a typical shift will see him write about anything from The Kardashians to politics and everything in between. He is also passionate about all things music and edits the music section in his university paper, The Strathclyde Telegraph. Danny can be contacted at [email protected]