Nitro Fish Wear Dodge Stratus R/T
Thomas surprise top qualifier
Seattle, Saturday: Mike Thomas stunned the CARQUEST Auto Parts Nationals Pro Stock field Saturday when he drove Kenny Koretsky's Nitro Fish Wear Dodge Stratus into the No. 1 Pro Stock qualifying berth for Sunday's race at Pacific Raceways.
It was the first top qualifying effort for Thomas and the Nitro Fish Wear team.
Thomas' run of 6.661 seconds at 206.76 mph in optimum late-morning conditions held throughout the last two qualifying sessions. Thomas, who is temporarily replacing Koretsky in the drivers seat, is in his second of three NHRA POWERade Series races. Koretsky is resting a sore right shoulder.
"I'm shocked to be No. 1. These guys are awesome," Thomas said of crew chief Eddie Guarnaccia and the crew. "We knew we had the potential if we could get the car to go straight, and it did go straight on that run. I really, really appreciate Kenny giving me this opportunity. I think this is a top five car."
Thomas was a regular on NHRA Pro Stock tour for 10 years but bowed out in 2001. He'd run infrequently since then. He qualified Koretsky's Nitro Fish Wear Dodge last week in Denver, marking the first time in four years that he made the 16-car line-up.
"I'm excited about the race," added Thomas. "I hope we have four more rounds in it tomorrow."
Koretsky was monitoring his team's success at his Richboro, Pa., home. "I was excited following their progress," he commented. "Qualifying No. 1 for the first time is quite and accomplishment for our team. I never had any doubts. The team does a great job."
Guarnaccia also lauded the efforts of his crew. "To qualify No. 1 is significant," he said. "I'm very proud of the team effort. Mike did a good job driving. We had some added weight to work with and the car went down the race track. We made good decisions and I think that paid off.
"This was great, but if we don't go forward tomorrow, I'll be disappointed."
Thomas has one career victory, at Joliet, Ill., in 1998. He races Erica Enders, No. 16, 6.751 at 205.13 mph, in the opening round.
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