Micheal's Motor Alley Podcast

Planes, trains and automobiles? Well, maybe not the first two, all the time. Join award-winning, nationally-recognized automobile and motor oil expert, Michael Thomas, to discuss and learn a variety of topics in the automotive and motor oil industries. Awarded ‘Best Podcast’ in 2022 by the Public Relations Society of America – Houston Chapter, Michael’s Motor Alley features special guests talking anything from social media auto Influencers to the science behind motor oil, and everything in between. By a passionate car enthusiast, for passionate car enthusiasts. 

Michael is a nationally-recognized expert with experience in the passenger car motor oil sector, for over 45 years, and has a passion for automobiles and business-to-consumer lubricants. He has spoken at many national conferences for several national automotive parts retailers, in addition to speaking at SEMA and consulting with national retailers and several grassroots organizations around the country. Interestingly, he was the very first technical lubricant advisor with Jiffy Lube International in the late ‘80’s. Michael also works with several national automotive parts retailers to advise on specific products and how they affect all their customers within multiple car manufacturer's vehicles. Michael’s experience and expansive knowledge of the industry makes him a very credible host of Michael’s Motor Alley Podcast!

Special guests will be featured talking anything from social media auto Influencers to the science behind motor oil, and everything in between. By a passionate car enthusiast, for passionate car enthusiasts.

Season 2 - 2022

A Red Ferrari car on road

Episode #18 - Under the Hood and Overseas: Car Culture in Italy

Today, Michael talks to his colleague from Marketing, Andrea, who’s an Italy native and auto enthusiast. They get into Andrea’s background growing up in the Italian automotive scene, his racing passion and more!

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An aerial view of a village road

Episode #17 - The Heat is On - Vehicle Maintenance in the Summer

The heat is ON in today’s episode, as Michael gives his quick advice on taking care of your vehicle during the toasty days of the summer, including some tips, tricks and what to stay away from. 

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Episode #16 – Michael Goes Back to School!

Michael is heading back to school in today’s episode with Pennzoil sponsored collegiate athletes Maggie MacNeil, Trayce Jackson-Davis, and Charlotte North as they chat about their personal road to success and goals for the future. In March, Pennzoil announced its first ever name, image and likeness (NIL) deal, inking sponsorships with the best of the best. Maggie is an Olympic Gold Medalist who recently announced she would be continuing her collegiate career at Louisiana State University; Trayce is heading into his senior year as a forward for the Indiana University Men’s Basketball Team and is a draft prospect; and Charlotte is a two-time Tewaaraton award winner and national champion for the Boston College Women’s Lacrosse Team who is now bringing her success the U.S. Women’s National Team. These three not only prosper in their respective sports but also know their way around a vehicle! 

Check out all three athletes on social media to follow their next steps:

Maggie MacNeil: Instagram, Twitter

Trayce Jackson-Davis: Instagram, Twitter

Charlotte North: Instagram, Twitter

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Shelby and Michael

Episode #15 – Celebrating a Big Honkin’ Anniversary at Shell Rotella SuperRigs

Live from Branson, Missouri - Michael is swapping a racecar for a big rig at the 40th Annual Shell Rotella SuperRigs! Tune in to hear all the action, including conversations with Shelby from Happiness by the Mile, Natalie Ortiz from Diesel World Magazine and more.

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daniel with car

Episode #14 – Daniel Mac, What do YOU do for a Living Sir?

Today, Michael sits down with Daniel Mac, the world's largest automotive content creator on Tiktok, with a combined 18 million followers across all of his platforms. He is most known for asking supercar owners and celebrities the iconic phrase "What do you do for a living?" Featuring individuals like: Paris Hilton, Jason Derulo, Jay Leno, Helen Mirren, Tom Brady, and more in his short form videos! Michael and Daniel get to discussing Daniel’s start, his inspirations and his upcoming Europe and Dubai car tour.

Check out Daniel Mac on Instagram and TikTok to follow his adventures!

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High speed car on the road

Episode #13 – Jonny Grunwald Returns 

Jonny Grunwald, Motorsports Creator and Automotive Special Projects Build Manager, returns to the podcast for another insightful conversation with Michael. Today they discuss Jonny's upcoming automotive plans, how the closing of race tracks is affecting the automotive community, and more.

Don’t forget to follow Jonny on social media @Jonny.Grunwald to check out what he’s up to!

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Derek Bieri from Vice Grip garage

Episode #12: #FlashbackFriday with Derek Bieri from Vice Grip Garage

Today’s episode takes us back to #FlashbackFriday with Michael talking with Derek Bieri, from YouTube’s famous 1 million+ subscriber Vice Grip Garage channel, at the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show (PRI) in December 2021. Derek talks about how he started Vice Grip Garage from his passion to save classic automobiles and muscle cars, how important it is to use high-zinc Rotella T line motor oil in his classic cars, and Michael and Derek’s experience working in the automotive industry.

Don’t forget to check out Derek and Vice Grip Garage on YouTube!

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Kelly with Mario painting

Episode #11 - The Art of the Automotive, with Kelly Telfer

Kelly Telfer is an award-winning automotive artist and has specialized in motorsports art for decades. After creating the art for his own racing team, Telfer Bros. Racing, Kelly started and ran an apparel business in the 80’s and 90’s. He also created apparel for many of the top racetracks, race teams and manufacturers, including the Indianapolis 500, F1, NASCAR, Chevrolet, Ford, Dale Earnhardt, Mario Andretti, and many more. His art is on permanent exhibit at The Speedway Motors Museum of American Speed, in Lincoln, NE, and his art is available at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, CA, and the LeMay America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, WA. Kelly’s works have also been featured in art galleries, magazines and in corporate and private art collections around the world.

Check out his original art, fine art prints and more: www.kellytelfer.com

To contact Kelly, please email: kelly@telferdesign.com

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Jennifer Maher Picture

Episode #10: TechForce Foundation and Solving the Technician Shortage, with Jennifer Maher

Today, Michael sits down with Jennifer Maher, who serves as CEO/Executive Director of TechForce Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charity. TechForce's mission is to champion all students to and through their education and into careers as professional vehicle technicians. Also, in 2019, Jennifer was named by the Auto Care Association's Women in Auto Care division "Woman of the Year." In this episode, Michael and Jennifer discuss TechForce’s mission, the ongoing technician shortage, and how joining TechForce’s free technician social network community can give technicians the resources they need to be in the industry.

Check out www.techforce.org to learn more and to join TechForce’s free technician social network community, go to www.jointechforce.org!

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Tim Lawrence

Episode #9 - Creating Hollywood’s Automotive Scene, with Fireball Tim Lawrence

Fireball Tim Lawrence is a Hollywood Automotive Concept Artist, responsible for over 400 vehicle designs of some of the most famous Hollywood Movie Cars including Batman, Avengers, Priest, and more! His 1989 Batmobile is currently at the Petersen Museum in Hollywood. Also, Fireball currently has one of the coolest automotive coloring book series with featured automotive talents & vehicle sketches from across the globe! In today’s episode, Michael and Fireball discuss how Fireball got his name, his automotive designs and work in several different movies, and how the passion of automotive vehicles bring people together.

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Frank Leutz

Episode #8 - Frank Leutz, Car Care Expert and Radio Host of Wrench Nation

Today’s episode welcomes Frank Leutz, an award-winning national car care expert, automotive industry consultant, analyst and enthusiast. Frank is the founder of Desert Car Care, full automotive service shops in Arizona, and is the host of the radio lifestyle car talk show, Wrench Nation, on 88.7 FM The Pulse, local to Phoenix, Arizona. Michael and Frank discuss a variety of topics including the importance of automotive education and skilled labor in society.

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Pennzoil Las Vegas 400 logo

Episode #7: Reporting LIVE from the Fast Lane: The 5th Annual Pennzoil 400 in Las Vegas

Hold on to your seats, folks! We have the very FIRST Michael’s Motor Alley podcast, LIVE from the Pennzoil 400 in Las Vegas, as Michael hosts a round-robin of five exciting special guests!

Follow today’s guests on social media to keep up with their adventures and which awesome vehicles they’re driving: 

Hennessey Performance: Instagram, Twitter, YouTube

Chelsea DeNofa, RTR Vehicles: Instagram

Expedition Overland: Instagram, Twitter, YouTube

Mitchell Stapleton: YouTubeInstagramTikTok

Brian Jannusch: Instagram

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Madison Conrad Headshot

Episode #6: Start your Engines, with Roush Yates Engines

Get those engines going today! Michael chats with Madison Conrad, a Universal Technical Institute graduate, who is a Powertrain Reliability Specialist at Roush Yates Engines. Roush Yates is the exclusive Ford engine builder for NASCAR, including Team Penske race cars. They discuss several topics including how Madison’s passion drove her to build engines, Joey Logano’s win at the Clash at the Coliseum, and more! 

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Episode #5: Bob is the Oil Guy Q&A

Join Michael and three different guests from the ‘Internet’s Number One Motor Oil Web Site’ Forum -

Bob is the Oil Guy – for a round robin of in-depth automotive and motor oil questions!

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UTI Campus Image

Episode #4: The Importance of Automotive Technicians, with Universal Technical Institute

Universal Technical Institute is the nation’s leading provider of technical training for automotive, diesel, collision repair, motorcycle and marine technicians, and more, with 14 campuses around the United States. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) is the hot topic today, as Michael chats with Jorge Moreno, an Automotive Instructor at Universal Technical Institute’s Dallas, Texas campus. Michael and Jorge touch on nationwide automotive trends, what it’s like to teach the future automotive technicians and more!
Learn more about Universal Technical Institute at www.UTI.edu.

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Patrick Haye

Episode #3 - Patrick Hayes, Driven by Diversity

Patrick Hayes is the CEO of Driven by Diversity, a non-profit organization with a mission to educate individuals and organizations on the value of diversity and inclusion in motorsports, while also providing educational resources and services that directly address growing diversity in the motorsports industry. Patrick's love for motorsports goes back THREE generations and he has always been a motorsports and car enthusiast. He spent his adolescent years growing up in a house only four miles from the historic Los Angeles County Raceway. As an adult living in Okinawa, Japan, while serving in the U.S. Marines, he immersed himself in the Japanese car culture and became one of the few Black men to work for a major Japanese aftermarket performance manufacturer. Patrick's journey through the industry has spanned over 20 years, with his newest chapter focusing on helping push for diversity and equality within motorsports.

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Thelma & Louise car

Episode #2 - A Blast from the Past - Car Movies

Who doesn’t love a great car movie? How about an exhilarating chase scene or the final lap in a racing flick? The list of classic movies goes on and on. In this episode, Michael dives into some of his favorite car movies and chase scenes from the last several decades. What are your favorite car movies of all time? Let us know by tagging @Pennzoil on social media!

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Michael’s 2022 Trends

Episode #1 - Michael's Top Trends of 2022

Michael rings in the new year with his Top Trends in the Automotive Industry, highlighting some big and exciting changes coming in 2022 and on: vehicle smart connectivity with more vehicles communicating with each other for safer roads, growth in autonomous cars and trucks, increased vehicle artificial intelligence which will monitor and calculate vehicle surroundings and more!

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Season 1 - 2021

Racing Industry Trade Show

Episode #15 - LIVE at the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show (PRI) with Alex Taylor

For the last episode of 2021, Michael fittingly reaches the finish line while recording live from the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) trade show in Indianapolis (December 9-11). Special guest, Alex Taylor, also stops by to chat with Michael! Alex is an automotive builder, racer, automotive influencer, and content creator with an unquenchable desire to go fast. At 23, Alex started her own high-performance automotive company: Alex Taylor Racing. She has 155k+ Instagram followers (@AlexTaylorRacing) as well as 88k YouTube subscribers. Alex has also recently been featured in MotorTrend and other automotive news media.

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John Hennessey with Venom F5

Episode #14 – John Hennessey, CEO of Hennessey Performance

John Hennessey is the founder & CEO of Hennessey Special Vehicles, Hennessey Performance, Tuner School, and Lonestar Motorsports Park. Born with a passion for speed and fast cars, John found early racing success behind the wheel of a modified Mitsubishi 3000GT at events such as the Pikes Peak Hill Climb and the Silver State Classic. Not to mention, Hennessey set a world speed record in his class at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Today, the Hennessey facilities in Texas include a large manufacturing plant and a dedicated test track – where vehicles may be tested at speeds of up to 150 mph. Overall, more than 12,000 specialty vehicles, including mid-engine supercars, six-wheeled supertrucks, and modern muscle cars have been enhanced by Hennessey’s performance modifications. Grab your racing helmets and buckle up folks, as Michael and John talk all things speed and performance!

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Vaughn on racing track with car

Episode #13 – Drifting around the SEMA Show with Vaughn Gittin Jr.

Any car enthusiast cannot hear ‘drifting’ without thinking of world champion drifter, off-road racing champion, and Professional Fun-Haver, Vaughn Gittin Jr. Vaughn joins Michael on this rubber-burning episode to talk about his origins with drifting, following his true passion, and how Pennzoil motor oils have enhanced Vaughn and the RTR Motorsports team’s performance. As a bonus, Michael recaps his experience from attending the 2021 SEMA Show in Las Vegas.

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Scott Mc sitting on racing car and laughting

Episode #12 - Coming to America - Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske IndyCar Driver

Today’s episode features our very first IndyCar driver on Michael’s Motor Alley! Scott McLaughlin is the IndyCar driver of the #3 Dallara-Chevrolet for Team Penske. Michael sits down with the 2021 IndyCar Rookie of the Year winner to discuss Scott’s introduction into racing, his experience since moving to the United States and what’s on tap for him next.

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 Craig Jackson, Barrett-Jackson Automotive Auctions

Episode #11 – Craig Jackson, Barrett-Jackson Automotive Auctions

Craig Jackson is the CEO of Barrett-Jackson, The World’s Great Collector Car Auctions, and briefly sits down with Michael during September’s Houston auction to discuss the future of the automotive industry, automotive technology and car collecting.

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Episode #10 – Keep your Vehicle Cool, Calm & Collected

Michael covers the quiet, but important role that antifreeze and coolants have in vehicles, how they have evolved over the years, how to have your coolants checked properly and busts the myth of mixing antifreeze.

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Joey Logano

Episode #9 - In the NASCAR Driver’s Seat with Joey Logano

Today's episode features our very first NASCAR driver on Michael’s Motor Alley! Michael chats with Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Pennzoil Ford Mustang for Team Penske, about the upcoming NASCAR Cup Series South Point 400 race in Las Vegas, what it’s like being a NASCAR driver and answers questions submitted by fans on social media. Listen to this exclusive interview now!

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Episode #8 – A Blast from the Past – Classic Car Care

Did you know certain cars from this millennium are considered classics? For older vehicles, 20 years in age and older, they hold ‘classic’ status. In this week’s episode, Michael gets into several topics, including; why high zinc motor oil is needed in classic car engines, tips on ensuring the correct transmission fluids are used in classic cars and a special announcement about the next episode’s guest.

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Episode #7 – In The Staging Lane: Special Guest Leah Pruett

Michael’s guest adventures continue as he connects with Don Schumacher Racing Top Fuel driver Leah Pruett! Pruett shares how she prepares for her events, like the upcoming Dodge//SRT NHRA U.S. Nationals, taking place September 3rd - 5th. Tune into this special edition National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) episode!

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Episode #6: Riding Shotgun: Special Guest Eric Harley

Eric Harley, our very FIRST guest, joins us on the show to recap the 2021 Rotella SuperRigs Trucking event and his experience as a Judge, talk trucking and some crazy trucker tales! Eric Harley’s radio career spans 37 years and he currently co-hosts Red Eye Radio, heard on over 200 radio stations nationwide on the Westwood One Radio Network. Eric has been hosting the all-night show, very popular with truckers, for 25 years.

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Episode #5: Take the High (Mileage) Road

Can low mileage vehicles use high mileage motor oils? Today, Michael will answer that exact question, while discussing high mileage motor oils: why/when they were developed and how seal conditioners play a part.

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Episode #4: The Good, The Bad, and The Diesel

If you own a diesel truck or vehicle that is fed diesel motor oil, then today’s episode is for you! Michael addresses some common diesel motor oil questions that are typically asked, including: the good and the bad of using diesel motor oils in a gasoline engine and how higher levels of zinc in these oils affect older/newer engines.

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Episode #3 - Soup to Nuts – How can Motor Oil be compared to Soup?

In the third episode, Michael discusses a variety of topics including an exciting listener giveaway opportunity, while answering questions like: ‘To add or not to add aftermarket oil additives with Pennzoil?’ and ‘Is there a shelf life on motor oil?’. He also provides additional resources for your oil analysis needs.

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Episode #2 – Shaken not Stirred – Is it Safe to Mix Oils?

Michael sits down to discuss the age-old question: can you mix different types of motor oils?

Additionally, he takes on the topic of how to approach using synthetic blend motor oils in your vehicle’s engine.

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Episode #1 - There’s More to Oil than Meets the Eye 

In the very first episode of Michael’s Motor Alley, Michael gets right into it with a variety of topics including: finding the correct motor oil, types of oils and their viscosities, and what oil to use and how it works in an engine. 

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