Championship Drag Racing

NHRA Nationals
Las Vegas, NV
(April 6-9)

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Driver Profile
Mike Thomas
Nitro Fish Wear Dodge Stratus R/T

Thomas will run red Nitro Fish Dodge at Las Vegas

Las Vegas, prerace: Mike Thomas will be driving the backup Nitro Fish/Werner Enterprises Pro Stock Dodge Status for the Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Early speculation is the experienced chassis -- with additional fine tuning and horsepower from engine builder Larry Morgan -- should give the Knoxville, Tenn.-based driver a solid opportunity to qualify for the 16-car starting field.

Thomas and crew chief Eddie Guarnaccia have struggled with the team’s new blue Stratus for two races and Guarnaccia hasn’t been able to predict what the unpredictable car will do.

When the blue car didn’t go down the track once in the first three qualifying attempts last week in Houston, Guarnaccia brought out the red backup Dodge. It was a bold move and it almost worked. Thomas was timed in 6.760 seconds, but fell four-thousandths of a second short 16th place.

“We have to run the red car,” Guarnaccia said. “We know the red car and we need to run the car we’re most familiar with at this time. We tried to get the blue car to do the right things in low gear but nothing worked. I don’t know how many more things we could do to get this thing sorted out”

“We also found a clutch problem on the blue car,” he continued. “The throw-out bearing seized and it wouldn’t let the clutch work properly.”

Dave Northrop drove the red car at Gainesville, Fla. (March 17-18) and ran four-hundredths of a second quicker than Thomas and the blue car. Neither car qualified, although this time it was Northrop who missed racing on Sunday by four-thousandths of a second.

The car quandary was precipitated by Koretsky’s spectacular accident with Bruce Allen last October. The car Koretsky was driving was relatively new and Guarnaccia had it running very well. It was totaled in a finish-line incident that sent both drivers to the hospital. The red Stratus was the backup car before the crash and the team didn’t take delivery of the new chassis until earlier this year. Thomas drove the new car for the first time at Gainesville. “We are going to stay and test Monday,” said Koretsky. “Eddie wants to sort out the blue car, and the only way to do that is to test.”

Koretsky, Guarnaccia and Thomas are looking for good luck, and what better place to start than Las Vegas?


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