Mike Thomas Hopes to Gain Foothold in Phoenix

PHOENIX (Feb. 21) -- Noted Pro Stock driver Mike Thomas enters this weekend's 16th annual Checker-Schuck's-Kragen Nationals at Firebird International Raceway on a mission. After suffering a rare DNQ (did not qualify) at the season opener two weeks...

PHOENIX (Feb. 21) -- Noted Pro Stock driver Mike Thomas enters this weekend's 16th annual Checker-Schuck's-Kragen Nationals at Firebird International Raceway on a mission. After suffering a rare DNQ (did not qualify) at the season opener two weeks ago because of parts failure, the 47-year-old from Knoxville, Tenn. knows he has something to prove in Arizona and he plans on getting his respected program back on track in a hurry.

"We are very anxious to show everyone what our latest Finish Line Racing Engines are capable of," said Thomas, who owns and operates FLRE. "We didn't get a chance to do that in Pomona because all of our clutch discs were coated with an inferior coating and we just drove right through the clutch every time out there.

"It was a disappointing way to start the season but I'm not too discouraged because it was something that was completely out of our control. We thought we were way ahead of the game by getting all of our discs done in the off season and it ended up biting us. We'll just chalk it up to experience and move on. Phoenix is a fresh start for us. We're revved up."

Thomas is especially excited about unveiling his 2000 Jerry Haas-built Pontiac Firebird, which has shown promise in testing. In an effort to play it safe, Thomas will spend this week testing in Tucson to iron out any potential wrinkles with the new car and clutch system.

"We ran this Haas car at the Superbowl in Houston and it was very quick," Thomas said. "But it turns out we were fighting the same clutch problems there that got us in Pomona. We're still not sure what this car is capable of doing when we match it to our horsepower. I know Jerry is really pumped up about this car and we're anxious to get it on the track."

The Winston championship points standings currently shows Thomas tied with several other drivers in 17th place. Last year, Thomas almost earned the Pro Stock pole at the CSK Nationals before taking the No. 3 spot with a smooth 6.956-second lap at 197.97 mph.

The elimination rounds of the Checker-Schuck's-Kragen Nationals will be televised on Speedvision from 7-8:30 p.m. (ET), Sunday, Feb. 27 with a rebroadcast later that evening on Fox Sports Net from midnight-1:30 a.m. (ET).

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Thomas , Jerry Haas