Sonoma Mike Thomas Finals Notes

SONOMA, Calif. (Aug. 8) -- Pennzoil Pro Stock driver Mike Thomas let his title hopes slip away with a red-light starting line violation in his quarterfinal race against Kurt Johnson. The miscue came in Sunday's second round of elimination racing...

SONOMA, Calif. (Aug. 8) -- Pennzoil Pro Stock driver Mike Thomas let his title hopes slip away with a red-light starting line violation in his quarterfinal race against Kurt Johnson. The miscue came in Sunday's second round of elimination racing at the 12th Annual Autolite Nationals at Sears Point Raceway.

In their race, the two men staged simultaneously but Thomas bolted from the starting line before the green light lit and drew the foul, immediately disqualifying from the race. Unaware of the violation, Thomas ran through a competitive pass of 7.008 seconds at 197.54 mph against Johnson's 6.990-second lap at 199.46 mph, which was close enough to make the starting line differential (0.240 seconds for Thomas and 0.457 for Johnson) seem much more important.

"I thought I nailed it," Thomas said about his start. "I guess I was wrong but something is still screwy with these lights. Kurt's 60-foot time was a 0.950, which is literally impossible for these cars to run. That's closer to the time a dragster would put up.

"Either way, I'm disappointed that we lost. I thought we had a car that could win this race and I think we just ran a lap to prove that. The guys did a great job all weekend. My crew chief Rick Hickman and clutch man Gary Rost had their hands full trying to figure this track out. But they did and they had me ready to go today.

"This was an okay weekend. We did qualify fairly well and we won a round so we will make up some ground in the points. I just wanted more."

Thomas, a 46-year-old from Knoxville, Tenn., has qualified for 12 national events this season and has recorded six elimination round wins. Entering this event he held the 13th position in the Winston points standings.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Thomas , Kurt Johnson