Las Vegas Mike Thomas misses field by .001 of a second

Las Vegas, Saturday: Matco Tools Pro Stock driver Mike Thomas made a drastic move during Saturday's final two rounds of qualifying for the inaugural NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals but came up .001 of a second short of making the Race Day ...

Las Vegas, Saturday: Matco Tools Pro Stock driver Mike Thomas made a drastic move during Saturday's final two rounds of qualifying for the inaugural NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals but came up .001 of a second short of making the Race Day field.

Piloting the back-up Valspar Refinish Pontiac Firebird of fellow racer Richie "The Kid" Stevens, Thomas jumped into the fray with a solid 7.123-second pass at 194.10 mph in the day's opening session. But a few other drivers managed to jump ahead of the veteran from Knoxville, Tenn., relegating him to the 17th qualifying position. Only the top 16 cars survive the cut.

Thomas will be driving Stevens' second car until his recently wrecked machine is repaired. Car builder Jerry Bickel expects to return Thomas' car to him by the Richmond, Va. event later this month.

"We gained a lot of ground this weekend," Thomas said. "Driving this car has shown me that our Finish Line Racing Engines are making great horsepower. We just had some trouble early on with one car and then I wrecked the other one. The breaks just haven't been going our way. But we are moving in the right direction.

"The weather got us a little here and it took us one more round than everyone else to get a handle on this car. If we had run the lap we ran this morning last night then we'd easily be in the field. We ended up just as close as close can be.

"Thanks go out to Richie Stevens Sr. and Don Beverly for letting borrow their car."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Thomas