Houston Mike Thomas Preview

THOMAS HOPES TO SHED GREMLINS, GET BACK ON WINNING TRACK BAYTOWN, Texas -- Please excuse Mike Thomas' absence from Pro Stock eliminations in two of the three NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series events this season. He's been hunting ...

THOMAS HOPES TO SHED GREMLINS, GET BACK ON WINNING TRACK BAYTOWN, Texas -- Please excuse Mike Thomas' absence from Pro Stock eliminations in two of the three NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series events this season. He's been hunting Gremlins. Not for sport mind you, but in an attempt to reverse the recent struggles of his Pennzoil Pontiac. It seems that the pesky critters have invaded his pit area and swarmed his race car. Their objective is simple: prevent the car from doing what it's supposed to do -- run fast. After missing the qualifying cut at both the season-opening AutoZone Winternationals and recent Mac Tools Gatornationals, Thomas is optimistic that his fortunes are about to change. He hopes a recent extermination procedure has cleared his machine of the devious pests. Thomas is certain his Pennzoil Pontiac will be back in the starting lineup for the 12th annual O'Reilly Nationals presented by Pennzoil, April 8-11 at Houston Raceway Park. The $1.7 million race is the fourth of 22 events in the $40 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. "We've had some darned gremlins here lately that have really hurt our program and thrown us a few curveballs," Thomas said. "We tested right after the Gatornationals and corrected the problem. We've just been bit by one thing or another all season. We look forward to getting to Houston and showing everyone what this team is really capable of doing." Actually Thomas' competition is well aware of his team's capabilities. He finished No. 6 in the Winston point standings in 1998 with two final round appearances that produced a victory and runner-up finish. He also posted seven top five qualifying efforts. His runner-up finish came here one year ago against Warren Johnson in one of the quickest side-by-side Pro Stock races in NHRA history. He said he recently reminded his team of their accomplishments from one year ago and they agreed it was time to get back on track. "We need to stop experimenting and start racing," Thomas said. "We had everything clicking in pre-season but ran into some bad luck to start the season. We've been changing things around too much looking for something that's not there. We need to focus on doing what we know how to do and get back in a position to win some races. We've got the power to win. We're as quick and fast as anyone out here. We just need to get back to basics and show some consistency." Thomas' pre-season was phenomenal. At Houston's Pro Stock Superbowl Challenge, Thomas recorded the unofficial quickest pass in Pro Stock history and added a few record-breaking 200 mph speeds for good measure. He says Houston Raceway Park should be ripe for the picking. He expects national records to fall. "We ran 6.845 seconds at Houston during the off-season and had a couple of 200-plus mph runs too," Thomas said. "If the weather conditions are right, I think we'll be able to hit those kinds of numbers again. It's certainly going to be fast. Houston's always fast." Thomas only wishes race day could get here a little faster. "We have a little bit of a comfort zone going for us at Houston," Thomas said. "Our sponsor is involved with the race and we seem to always do well there. It's definitely one of my favorite tracks on the circuit. I'm ready to go -- I wish the race was tomorrow. At this point we have something to prove."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Thomas , Warren Johnson