Thomas closes in on ideal set-up

Thomas closes in on ideal set-up BRADENTON, Fla. (Jan. 19) -- For the second time in as many weeks, NHRA Pro Stock driver Mike Thomas has improved on his personal-best elapsed time and top speed in the quarter-mile during an impromptu test ...

Thomas closes in on ideal set-up

BRADENTON, Fla. (Jan. 19) -- For the second time in as many weeks, NHRA Pro Stock driver Mike Thomas has improved on his personal-best elapsed time and top speed in the quarter-mile during an impromptu test session in Southern Florida. The 11-year drag racing veteran carded an unofficial best pass of 6.822 seconds at 201.39 mph, which put smiles on the faces of every member of the Finish Line Racing Engines crew.

Times and speeds registered outside the parameters of an NHRA national event are deemed unofficial since the usual regulations and weight requirements are not enforced. Still, Thomas made sure his car was legal this past week, just as he did in late December when he posted a best of 6.830 seconds at 201.11 mph.

"It doesn't make any sense to test your car in any condition other than race-ready," said Thomas, a 49-year-old businessman from Knoxville, Tenn. "We're trying to refine the car and get ready for the start of the season. We make darn sure it's legal every pass we make. Otherwise, I just think you're kidding yourself."

Thomas' best elapsed time and speed in NHRA competition show a 6.862 at 200.35 mph, a pair of personal records he hopes to obliterate when the regular season begins in earnest Feb. 7-10 in Pomona, Calif., with the 42nd annual K&N Filters Winternationals.

"When you test you have to gauge your success against the other cars at the test session," Thomas said. "The only two people I saw run quicker than us were Jim Yates and Ron Krisher, and they were just barely quicker by maybe a hundredth of a second or two. If we're that close to two guys who were running at the front of the pack all of last year then I like our chances in Pomona. It should be a record-setting year for us.

"This Grand Am is quick and it's also consistent, which is a huge factor for Pro Stock. We ran several laps with our motors in the car and we ran several more with one of Steve Schmidt's engines and the car reacted the same almost every time. Consistency like that usually translates to going rounds at the races.

"The good news for us is we haven't topped out yet by any means. I think we have some room to improve on the top end and if we can do that, we'll be right back where we need to be in relation to the rest of the field. I'm excited about our potential."

The team's best finish in the POWERade championship points standings came in 1998 when Thomas raced to sixth place on the strength of one win in two final rounds.

-flre/rg-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Thomas , Ron Krisher , Steve Schmidt