Bristol: Winston Showdown field finds room for Thomas

BRISTOL, Tenn. (July 8) -- Matco Tools Pro Stock driver Mike Thomas anchored the field of six drivers who were battling for an at-large spot in the field of the $50,000 Winston "No Bull" Showdown. Thomas' 7.107-second run at 193.99 mph from...

BRISTOL, Tenn. (July 8) -- Matco Tools Pro Stock driver Mike Thomas anchored the field of six drivers who were battling for an at-large spot in the field of the $50,000 Winston "No Bull" Showdown. Thomas' 7.107-second run at 193.99 mph from Friday evening was good enough to earn him the 15th spot in the all-star affair.

The format of this special non-points event called for 10 pre-qualified drivers and six open positions to fill a regular 16-car field. The 10 pre-qualified entry's included last year's season champion and the last nine national event winners. As such, Thomas had to fight it out with several drivers for one of the six open spots.

"The first part of the war is over," said Thomas, a 47-year-old from Knoxville. "And we won. I knew it would be tough to earn a spot. There are a bunch of good cars out here fighting for those openings. I'm glad we were able to get one.

"We also found out what was wrong with the car today. The carburators were wrong and we believe it was robbing us of some power. The car kept driving right through the clutch every run no matter how much we dialed in. Now we've got it fixed and I think we'll open some eyes tomorrow.

"No one out here really knows what we're capable of doing. I know what kind of horsepower we have. We just haven't put it down on the track yet. I have a real good feeling about tomorrow.

"It's great to be in the field. It's a boost to the team and a nice bonus for Matco. Those guys have stuck with us this year through thick and thin and we're very glad to have them on our side. Now we know we're leaving here with some of Winston's money. I hope we can make it $50,000."

Qualifying highlights for the second annual Winston "No Bull" Showdown will air tonight from 10 p.m. to midnight (ET), on ESPN2. The elimination rounds will be shown from 9:30-11:30 p.m. (ET), tomorrow, also on ESPN2.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Thomas