St Louis Mike Thomas Saturday Story

Screwy shifter sinks Thomas in Saturday's second session ST. LOUIS (June 26) -- After fighting through a tough weekend of qualifying and a lower-half draw in Saturday's opening round of elimination racing, Pennzoil Pro Stock driver Mike Thomas...

Screwy shifter sinks Thomas in Saturday's second session

ST. LOUIS (June 26) -- After fighting through a tough weekend of qualifying and a lower-half draw in Saturday's opening round of elimination racing, Pennzoil Pro Stock driver Mike Thomas squandered the lane choice he had finally earned and lost his quarterfinal race against Jim Yates at the Sears Craftsman Nationals.

Thomas, from Knoxville, Tenn., had rebounded from a broken engine in the second session of qualifying and was the only pro in attendance to grab a spot in Friday's final qualifying round, albeit in the bottom half of the field. He then toughed out a first round win over No. 2 qualifier Robert Patrick and was quick enough to earn lane choice in the second round. But, after a fairly level start against Yates, the Pennzoil car's transmission locked up in second gear and Thomas watched his title hopes speed away.

"I just flat out couldn't get the car into second gear," Thomas said. "It's been a long time since that's happened. We're checking the shifter out now to see what happened. What a disappointment. We were finally looking good and then we have this fluky thing happen. I'm bummed out.

"I know that, all in all, this was a good weekend. We moved up at least three spots in the points and we're now only one spot out of the top 10, which is fantastic. But right now I just feel terrible because it seemed like we gave a race away."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Thomas