Team Thomas hoping to wow sponsor with win at Houston

HOUSTON (April 12) -- For the second race in a row Pro Stock driver Mike Thomas will be piloting the back-up car of Valspar Refinish driver Richie Stevens as he waits for his recently wrecked primary car to be repaired. But despite the name on the...

HOUSTON (April 12) -- For the second race in a row Pro Stock driver Mike Thomas will be piloting the back-up car of Valspar Refinish driver Richie Stevens as he waits for his recently wrecked primary car to be repaired. But despite the name on the side of the car, Thomas wants to make sure that his main sponsors -- Pennzoil and Matco Tools -- are the names people remember by the end of the 13th annual O'Reilly Nationals presented by Pennzoil.

"Plain and simple, I want to win this race for my sponsors," said Thomas, who is in his seventh year with Team Pennzoil. "Pennzoil is headquartered in downtown Houston and I have made a lot of friends up there over the years. They always come out and support us big-time at this race. It would be very cool to show them the winner's circle."

Thomas certainly knows how to be successful at Houston Raceway Park. Just two races ago at this event he raced to the final round on Sunday before narrowly losing to five-time Winston champion Warren Johnson. A few races later he redeemed himself by downing Johnson in Chicago.

"Warren is always there," Thomas said. "But he's just one of several top-caliber teams in this class. As always, we'll have our work cut out for us in Houston. But the level of competition only makes the reward that much sweeter.

"My hats off to Richie, his father, and Don Beverly for lending me their back-up car. We had a freak accident in testing and found the wall, basically wiping out our car. It's being repaired and updated to a 2000 model so we're anxious to get it back. But, I can tell you that this Valspar Pontiac is a very fast piece. We can certainly win with this car."

The elimination rounds of the 13th annual O'Reilly Nationals presented by Pennzoil will be broadcast from 4:30-6 p.m. (ET and PT) Sunday, April 16 on TNN.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Warren Johnson