SONOMA, Calif. (Aug. 3) -- The Sonoma and Napa Valley region of Northern California is known around the world for it's award-winning wines. Matco Tools Pro Stock driver Mike Thomas is hoping to put the area's equally-famous racetrack -- Sears...
SONOMA, Calif. (Aug. 3) -- The Sonoma and Napa Valley region of Northern California is known around the world for it's award-winning wines. Matco Tools Pro Stock driver Mike Thomas is hoping to put the area's equally-famous racetrack -- Sears Point Raceway -- on his personal map of places where he's driven into the Winner's Circle.
Thomas, a 47-year-old from Knoxville, Tenn., has won 16 races in his career and has been a perennial top-10 driver since he turned pro in the early 1990s. Plus, he's one of the few drivers in the world to have earned membership in both of his classes performance groups; the Speed-Pro 200-mph Club and the Holley 6-Second Club. Still, the feisty veteran knows the most important item on a driver's docket is the next race and the next win.
"The accomplishment's from the past are great and I'm proud of everything we've done," Thomas said. "But I don't really think about it much. I guess when you're old and retired you look back and realize you've had a great run. Until then, I still have a lot of personal goals left to accomplish.
"Right now we've got our hands full trying to make a run up the points standings this season. We've struggled a bit with the Matco Tools car and our results on Sunday aren't what we had hoped for at the start of the season. I know down times happen in racing but I also know we have the talent, horsepower, and drive to be back on top very soon.
"Ultimately, whether it's on your personal resume or when you're sitting down with your sponsors to talk about next year, national event wins are what people notice the most. If you take care of business and win your share of races along the way then so many other things fall into place. That's where we're at right now. We're totally and completely focused on this particular race this particular weekend. We'll take everything one step at a time and our turn will come around again. I'm confident about that."
Several hours of the 13th annual Autolite Nationals will be broadcast on ESPN2. Qualifying highlights will air from 9:30-11 p.m. (ET)/6:30-8 p.m. (PT) Saturday. Eliminations will be shown from 9:30p.m. - Midnight (ET)/6:30-9 p.m. (PT) Sunday with a rebroadcast from 1-3 p.m. (ET)/10 a.m. - noon (PT) on Wednesday, Aug. 9.