Seattle, Sunday: Mike Thomas had mixed feelings about his second weekend at the controls of Kenny Koretsky's Nitro Fish Wear Pro Stock Dodge Stratus.
On the plus side, Thomas grabbed both his and the team's first No. 1 qualifying position and followed with his first round win Sunday in the first round of the CARQUEST Auto Parts Nationals at Pacific Raceways.
On the minus side, Thomas - who is filling in for Koretsky while the owner recovers from a sore right shoulder -- pointed to his foul start in the quarterfinals.
"But all in all it was a good weekend," said Thomas, of Knoxville, Tenn.
Indeed it was. With crew chief Eddie Guarnaccia dialing in a competitive combination, Thomas went for his quickest Pro Stock ride, 6.661 seconds at 206.76 mph, to claim not only the prime starting spot but the Pacific Raceways track record.
In Sunday's first round, Thomas, racing in only his second event in four years, defeated Erica Enders, 6.703 at 206.10 mph to 6.826 at 203.92. "I was calm and didn't let my emotions get in the way," Thomas remembered.
In the next round, however, he admitted to being "overanxious" and fouled away a 6.726 at 206.76 pass against Ron Krisher. "I haven't raced in the last couple years," added a disappointed Thomas.
"I never expected to be the No. 1 qualifier," he continued, "but Eddie (Guarnaccia, the crew chief) kept tweaking the tune-up and getting the car running better. We had the fourth-best speed in the second round, thanks to the horsepower from Larry Morgan's Hemi engines.
"We are definitely looking forward to next week's race at Sonoma (Calif.)."