Upturn has Thomas thinking 'Big' again INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 26) -- Riding a swell of recent successes, Finish Line Racing Engines Pro Stock driver Mike Thomas enters this weekend's 47th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals intent on once again ...
Upturn has Thomas thinking 'Big' again
INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 26) -- Riding a swell of recent successes, Finish Line Racing Engines Pro Stock driver Mike Thomas enters this weekend's 47th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals intent on once again tasting victory champagne in Indianapolis Raceway Park's hallowed Victory Circle. Thomas is a two-time winner at drag racing's biggest race, known among the competitors simply as the "Big Go," having claimed the Super Stock crown on consecutive visits in 1988 and 1989.
Now, 12 years later, the 48-year-old from Knoxville, Tenn., is hoping to boost his U.S. Nationals trophy count to three by taking home the hardware in the ultra-competitive Pro Stock class. Only a month removed from the Seattle race where he posted his career-best elapsed time of 6.862 seconds, and fresh off another solid qualifying performance in Brainerd, Minn., Thomas is now convinced he has the car to get the job done.
"We were here in Indy for a good portion of last week's testing sessions and we were very pleased with how the car responded," Thomas said. "We ran a 7-flat in the heat of the day, which compared very well with the other cars that were running here. There were some cars posting big numbers but we just wanted to work on getting the car prepared for the race. That's why we tried to stack our laps during the same time frames we'll be running during the actual race. Anything else would have been a waste of time.
"Obviously, we're very excited in this pit with the recent upswing our program has taken. We're really not doing anything differently, we just finally found out what our problems were and we corrected them. The guys have done a great job of hanging in there and getting the work done. I'm proud of this team."
The main goal for Thomas and Co. now is to find some more success on the race track, especially during a national event. The team couldn't ask for a bigger stage then the U.S. Nationals to have a breakthrough race. The Pro Stock class is wide open this season with 11 different drivers capturing event titles in the first 17 races.
ESPN and ESPN2 will broadcast 11 hours of the 47th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. Qualifying highlights begin airing from noon-2 p.m. (ET) Saturday on ESPN2, with bonus coverage of the Holley Pro Stock Motorcycle Dominator Duel running from 11 p.m.-midnight (ET) on ESPN2. More qualifying highlights will air from 1-2:30 p.m. (ET) Sunday on ESPN2 with the entire Budweiser Shootout for Funny Cars broadcast from 8-9:30 p.m. (ET) on ESPN2. Elimination action dominates Monday's coverage with the early rounds airing from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. (ET) on ESPN2 and the later rounds filling the coveted 4-7 p.m. (ET) primetime slot on ESPN.