Thomas' 200-mph blast lifts Team Pennzoil RICHMOND, Va. (May 1) - Pennzoil Pro Stock driver Mike Thomas became the ninth member of the prestigious Speed-Pro 200 MPH Club Saturday afternoon during the fourth and final round of professional ...
Thomas' 200-mph blast lifts Team Pennzoil
RICHMOND, Va. (May 1) - Pennzoil Pro Stock driver Mike Thomas became the ninth member of the prestigious Speed-Pro 200 MPH Club Saturday afternoon during the fourth and final round of professional qualifying for the Fifth Annual Pennzoil Nationals presented by Trak Auto at Virginia Motorsports Park. The career-best run of 6.880 seconds at 200.35 mph helped lift Thomas into the top half of the quickest Pro Stock field ever assembled and puts him in prime position to make a championship run during Sunday's elimination rounds.
Here's a recap of Thomas' run as well as the other news and notes from Pennzoil's pit row.
Mike Thomas, the driver of the Pennzoil Pro Stock Pontiac, reset his personal-best elapsed time and top speed during both of Saturday's qualifying runs. Before the 6.880-second, 200.35-mph blast on Saturday evening, Thomas had posted a 6.887-second, 199.70-mph lap in the day's first session. Thomas will open Sunday's action against Jim Yates (6.886 at 199.97 mph.)
"That run was killer," an elated Thomas said. "We've been trying to get over that 200-mph mark for some time now and it feels great to finally get it done. Rick (Hickman, Thomas' crew chief) has this car running better than it ever has before and all of this support we're getting here from our Pennzoil contingent has really got me revved up. I want to put this Pennzoil car in Pennzoil's Winner's Circle so bad I can taste it. It'll take four rounds of great laps to win, but we can do it."
Eddie Hill, the pilot of the Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster, finished qualifying with a 4.743-second lap at 282.24 mph. His third round pass of 4.642 seconds at 307.79 mph was his best of the weekend and earned him the No. 6 spot on the qualifying ladder. Hill will open Sunday's action with lane choice over Bob Vandergriff who qualified 11th with a 4.737-second lap at 270.21 mph.
"Having lane choice could very well be the difference tomorrow," Hill said. "I'm thrilled that our best run of the weekend came under the exact conditions we're expecting in Round 1. Our car is finally running great, consistent laps and the electrical gremlins of the past few races are gone for good. Bob will be a good opening test and the plan is to take this one round at a time."
Bruce Allen, the driver of The Outlaw Fuel Additives Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, couldn't quite keep up with the quickest field in NHRA history and failed to qualify for tomorrow's elimination session. Allen's best time of the weekend was a 6.935-second pass at 198.20 mph. The DNQ marks the fifth time this season that Allen has been sent home early.
"We are greatly disappointed that we can't get this car up to speed," Allen said. "We should be able to get our No. 1 race motor back in by Atlanta and we'll have to go from there. We reached the finals of that race last year and we've always had good luck there so maybe we can have a fresh start to something positive. We're definitely down right now, but we will fight through this."