Denver: Thomas thunders into Thunder Mountain

DENVER (July 13) -- From Bristol's Thunder Valley to Denver's Thunder Mountain, Matco Tools Pro Stock driver Mike Thomas wants to keep making noise in his powerful Pontiac Firebird. Thomas successfully qualified for last weekend's special event...

DENVER (July 13) -- From Bristol's Thunder Valley to Denver's Thunder Mountain, Matco Tools Pro Stock driver Mike Thomas wants to keep making noise in his powerful Pontiac Firebird. Thomas successfully qualified for last weekend's special event in his home state of Tennessee. Now he hopes to carry the momentum he gained there to the 22nd annual Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway.

"We made a lot of progress in Bristol," Thomas said. "Now we're ready to start the second half of the season with a strong showing in Denver and start working our way up the points standings. We spend a lot of time in Denver so it's like a second home to me. My in-laws live here and work at Coors Brewery right up the street.

"The track at Bandimere Speedway is excellent. Of course, it's at an extreme altitude compared to the other 23 places we go so the carburetors on these Pro Stock cars are starving for oxygen and we tend to go a little slower. But we're all working under the same conditions so I expect us to stay competitive in relation to the rest of the field."

The Denver event starts what the drivers call the "Western Swing" with races following in Seattle and Sonoma, Calif. The Western Swing usually sets the tone for the second half of the season and Thomas is hoping to start a championship-caliber surge of his own.

"It's no secret that we've had a tough first half," said Thomas, a 47-year-old from Knoxville, Tenn. "We wrecked a car early and have fought hard to get back on track. What's nice is that our engine program, which we moved from Ohio to Tennessee, is still producing amazing horsepower. We have just had a hard time matching it to the car.

"The race in Bristol showed me that we're moving in the right direction. Now I'd like to continue that trend with our friends and family in Denver. I see no reason why we can't challenge for a top 10 finish in the Winston points. That's our goal for the second half."

Several hours of this race will be broadcast on ESPN2. Qualifying highlights will air from 10 p.m.-midnight, Saturday, with a repeat from 4:30-6:30 a.m. (ET) Sunday morning. The first round of eliminations will be shown from 4:30-5:30 p.m. (ET) Sunday with the final three rounds shown later that evening from 11:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. (ET). A repeat of the elimination rounds will air from 4-6 a.m. (ET) Tuesday.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Thomas