Nitro Fish Wear Dodge Stratus R/T
Thomas goes right, loses in 1st round
Sonoma, Sunday: There are a thousand or so ways to win -- or lose -- a round of racing in NHRA Pro Stock competition.
Kenny Koretsky's Nitro Fish Wear Dodge Stratus, with substitute driver Mike Thomas, of Knoxville, Tenn., at the wheel, found one Sunday in the opening round of the Fram Autolite Nationals at Infineon Raceway.
After qualifying second (6.679 seconds at 205.91 mph), Thomas met Jim Yates (No. 15, 6.739 at 204.54) in the first round . . . and lost when the car inexplicably made a move to the right just past the starting line. Yates, meanwhile, motored down the track with nary a problem, winning with a of 6.792 at 203.06 mph to 7.770 at 131.60 mph.
"The car went to the right as it left the starting line and we don't understand what happened," said crew chief Eddie Guarnaccia. "This car has never gone right. We took everything apart and couldn't see anything that would've made it do that. It's really disappointing. We thought we had a real chance to win the race."
Thomas qualified first at Seattle last week to go with his No. 2 here.
"That wasn't the way I wanted this (three-race western swing) to end," he said. "I don't know what happened. I just let the clutch out and the cars moved to the right. I was able to get it back into the groove, but it took too long. I made 16 runs in the car and it went straight as an arrow.
"I was ahead of him and trying to stay that way but car was sideways," he continued. "I want to thank Kenny again for giving me the opportunity to drive his car while he made sure his sore right shoulder healed."
"It's not like we'd been fighting the car at the last three races," added Guarnaccia. "If we can't tell you what happened, nobody can. It just wasn't our day."
Koretsky plans to return to the driver's seat at Brainerd.
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