Thomas' title hopes slip away early
DALLAS (April 25) -- A promising weekend of drag racing came to an abrupt end for Pennzoil Pro Stock driver Mike Thomas as he was eliminated in the opening round of Sunday's sudden-death action at the Texas Motorplex. Thomas was hoping to make a better run at the title of the Third Annual Castrol Nationals presented by O'Reilly Auto Parts but encountered traction problems during his Round 1 race against Mike Trumble Jr. and was forced to shut his machine down before reaching the finish line.
The Knoxville, Tenn. resident got the early jump on Trumble, reacting to the green light in 0.450 seconds to Trumble's 0.466-second start. Thomas also led at several points on the track until just past the halfway point when his car slid dangerously close to centerline, forcing him to turn off the motor to avoid any potential contact with his opponent.
"We started right and continued to creep to the right until we eventually hopped right out of the groove," Thomas said. "I was trying to drive through it but at one point the car started spinning so bad that I knew we were done. There was nothing I could do.
"This is unbelievably disappointing. We had him by three or four car lengths. I feel like I just threw away a real good chance at making a big move up in the points standings. The way things are going it seems like I have zero luck.
"The car has been so quick. I guarantee that if we hadn't gotten out of the groove we would have posted a 6.93 at least. Then we would have been the quickest car of the round and we'd be looking good for the quarterfinals. Instead, we're going home. I just can't believe it."
Thomas has qualified for three races this year, but has yet to record a single elimnation-round win on Sunday. He, along with the rest of the NHRA's top drivers, will take to the track again in Richmond, Va. this Thursday through Sunday.