Career-best off-season has Thomas confident POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 4) -- The last two months have been good ones for 11-year veteran Pro Stock driver Mike Thomas. The 49-year-old pro from Knoxville, Tenn., has made great progress with his in-house...
Career-best off-season has Thomas confident
POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 4) -- The last two months have been good ones for 11-year veteran Pro Stock driver Mike Thomas. The 49-year-old pro from Knoxville, Tenn., has made great progress with his in-house engine program that has translated to several career-best outings during test sessions in Florida and Texas.
Officially, Thomas' best elapsed time and top speed numbers, which by rule must be carded during a sanctioned NHRA national event, show a 6.862 at 200.35 mph. This off-season, those same numbers would account for some of his slowest passes. The key now is to take the 6.82-second, 202-mph passes he's routinely made over the last several weeks and carry them over to the POWERade Drag Racing Series, which opens Thursday at Pomona Raceway with the 42nd annual K&N Filters Winternationals.
"We've accomplished just about everything we've wanted to accomplish this off-season," Thomas said Sunday after his last lap of the preseason, a steady 6.828 at 201.19 mph in Houston. "Our Finish Line Racing Engines are making some great power and the car is reacting to the adjustments we make. I think we've got this thing figured out. We did what we're supposed to do in testing, right up until the last day when he made a switch in the rear-end."
Adding to the excitement of the new season is the fact that Thomas has a teammate of sorts for the foreseeable future. Ten-time Pro Stock champion Bob Glidden will campaign Steve Schmidt's Pontiac Grand Am out of Thomas's transporter, an agreement that includes an open invitation for Thomas to use Schmidt's powerplants if he so desires. Glidden wrecked Schmidt's primary car Sunday but the group hopes to have a back-up car in place by Pomona.
"Steve and I have been helping each other out a little bit," Thomas said. "I've been testing with his motors and mine so that we can both get the feedback we need. Obviously, each of us want our own engines to work so we'll try to keep it that way but it's nice to know it's there if you need it. Plus, it never hurts to have Bob Glidden around. Anybody that has 85 national event wins and 10 championships is worth listening to."
Both ESPN and ESPN2 will carry portions of the Winternationals. Qualifying highlights air from 4:30-6 p.m., Saturday, on ESPN, and continue from 6-7 p.m., Saturday, on ESPN2. Primetime elimination coverage runs from 5-7 p.m., Sunday, on ESPN. The eliminations will be rebroadcast from 3-5 a.m., Monday, Feb. 11, on ESPN, and again from 4-6 a.m., Friday, Feb. 15, on ESPN2. Times are listed in Eastern Standard Time.