Mike Thomas engine powers European Champ READING, Pa. -- Pennzoil Pro Stock driver Mike Thomas has known for some time that his Finish Line Racing Engines produce a lot of power. After all, he ran past Warren Johnson earlier this year to win the...
Mike Thomas engine powers European Champ
READING, Pa. -- Pennzoil Pro Stock driver Mike Thomas has known for some time that his Finish Line Racing Engines produce a lot of power. After all, he ran past Warren Johnson earlier this year to win the Inaugural Route 66 Nationals in Chicago. Thomas also gauges the success of his engines each race by watching fellow Pro Stock drivers and Finish Line powerplant clients Mark Osborne, Richie Stevens, Shawn Collins, Ron Krisher and Tom Hammonds win round after round on the quarter-mile strip. Now Thomas can claim another great Finish Line achievement -- the best engine in Europe.
Rookie Pro Stock driver Niclas Anderson of Sweden clinched the F.I.A. European Pro Stock Points Championship Sunday at England's Santa Pod Raceway with a Finish Line Racing Engine under his hood. "It was close all season," said Marcus Svenson, a Thomas crew member who acted as a liaison and part-time crewman to Anderson. "We literally clinched the championship by half a round at the last race. There were less than 10 points between the runner-up and us and there were two other cars that could have won the championship on the final day. I think the Finish Line engine was the difference. It was extremely reliable all season.
"We entered the year with a new engine, a new driver and a new Jerry Bickel car. We were planning on just breaking everything in and getting set for the 1999 season. But it all came together so well. Power-wise, we were immediately on the same level as the top teams over there, most of which run Steve Schmidt and Bob Ingles engines. Right from the start we were competitive. We won the first race and never looked back. We even led in points standings from start to finish and the car consistently qualified in the first-through-fourth-place range. It was a great season all the way around."
Thomas also was understandably pleased. "It's an honor to provide the power for the best car in Europe," he said. "We're thrilled for (car owner) Jonas Larson and really proud of our engines. Niclas did a great job." Since the European circuit has officially ended its season, Thomas has hired Anderson's clutch technician Ronnie Enokson for the remainder of the NHRA's season. "Obviously Ronnie is a great addition to the team," Thomas said. "He's been working with our engines all year and he won a championship so he knows his way around my car pretty well. We're very glad to have him in our pit."
The F.I.A. European League adheres to the exact same rules as the National Hot Rod Association. Races take place in England, Sweden, Finland, Norway and Germany.