Career-best top speed not enough for Thomas POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 10) -- Normally a weekend at the drag races that ends with career-best numbers is one to cherish forever. For Pro Stock driver Mike Thomas of Knoxville, Tenn., the scenario that ...
Career-best top speed not enough for Thomas
POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 10) -- Normally a weekend at the drag races that ends with career-best numbers is one to cherish forever. For Pro Stock driver Mike Thomas of Knoxville, Tenn., the scenario that played out at the season-opening 42nd annual K&N Filters Winternationals--where he posted a career-best top speed of 201.04 mph--is one he'd just as soon forget.
Despite his record run, Thomas failed to qualify for the first race of the 2002 POWERade Drag Racing Series. His best run of 6.898 seconds at 201.04 mph was .039 seconds off the required pace for the 16-car elimination field.
"We figured out what we needed to do to get this car down the race track in the final session," Thomas said. "If we could have one more run we'd be in the top half of the field. We were chasing the clutch all weekend. Obviously we had the horsepower to make a charge but we didn't find a way to capitalize on it."
Thomas and the rest of his Finish Line Racing Engines crew have two weeks to wait until they can redeem themselves. The 18th annual Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals run from Feb. 21-24 at Phoenix's Firebird International Raceway.
"I think we'll be fine," Thomas said. "We've got a great race car here. We tested extensively and almost every single lap went straight down the track. We get here and struggle to get off the starting line. The good news is we know what we did wrong and we know how to correct the problem. We'll be back strong in Phoenix."
Primetime elimination coverage of the 42nd annual K&N Filters Winternationals 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.