From Inside Line Promotions
Belleville, IL — (June 10, 2014) — Tyler Thomas powered to his first POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series victory of the season last Sunday.
Thomas led all 30 laps during the POWRi Illinois SPEED Week finale at Belle-Clair Speedway. The win, which was his fourth overall and first since 2012, also propelled Thomas to his first career SPEED Week championship.
“Jeff Davis and my dad had my car dialed in all week,” he said. “It was super easy to drive. Overall it was a really good week. I definitely could have had some better finishes, but stuff happens.”
The highlight of the week came on Sunday, when Thomas charged from eighth to second place in his heat race. That gave him the most points earned in heat race action and the pole position for the main event.
“I got a good start and went straight to the cushion and made laps,” he said of the feature. “That place is so tight and the cushion gets really treacherous there. I’ve never had a top-10 starting spot there. A clean race track makes a big difference.”
Despite a handful of cautions, Thomas led from green flag to checkered flag en route to the victory.
“We’ve been so close all year,” he said. “It’s been a good year. It always seems like that first win is really hard to get. With it being me and dad, it makes it that much more special.”
The Illinois SPEED Week kicked off last Thursday at Quincy Raceways in Quincy, where Thomas rallied from seventh to third place in his heat race. That lined him up on the outside of the third row for the main event.
“We jumped right up to second by Lap 2,” he said. “We had a quick yellow. On the restart I pulled a side job on Michael Pickens for the lead in turns one and two. He slid me back in turns three and four. I tried to drive around him and I probably got too impatient. I ended up going over the edge. I thought I had enough speed to drive back around him, but there wasn’t enough room there. I ended up lifting and locking the brakes up as his right rear (tire) got to my left front.”
After being forced to restart at the back of the field, Thomas maneuvered to a seventh-place finish.
“There were a lot of yellows and a lot reds, which I didn’t want,” he said. “I seemed to be better on the longer runs picking off cars.”
Night 2 of the POWRi Illinois SPEED Week was hosted by Lincoln Speedway in Lincoln on Friday.
“We had a problem with the rear end before hot laps so we thrashed and got that changed,” he said. “We were not very good in the heat race. The track conditions were not the greatest and we were not set up for the way it was. We started in the back and we stayed there.”
Thomas placed fifth in his heat race, which relegated him to a B Main. He then finished second in the consolation race to transfer to the back of the main event.
“We basically threw the kitchen sink at it before the A Main and it ended up paying off,” he said. “By Lap 10 I was in fifth and racing for fourth. Me and Nick Knepper were racing hard for fourth. We ended up making contact and we both ended up spinning around.”
After rallying from 19th to fourth, the incident made Thomas restart at the back. Once again he maneuvered to a seventh-place result.
“By then the track was taking rubber,” he said. “It took rubber on the top and bottom in turns three and four. I had the bottom working pretty good for me.”
The POWRi Illinois SPEED Week race at Macon Speedway in Macon on Saturday rained out.
Fresh off his victory and SPEED Week title, Thomas will tackle another busy week of competition during the USAC Honda National Midget Series Indiana Midget Week. It begins this Wednesday at Gas City I-69 Speedway in Gas City, Ind. The week of racing also includes Thursday at Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville, Ind.; Friday at Bloomington Speedway in Bloomington, Ind.; Saturday at Lawrenceburg Speedway in Lawrenceburg, Ind.; and Sunday at Kokomo Speedway in Kokomo, Ind.
QUICK RESULTS –
June 5 – Quincy Raceways in Quincy, Ill. – Heat race: 3 (7); Feature: 7 (6).
June 6 – Lincoln Speedway in Lincoln, Ill. – Heat race: 5 (6); B Main: 2 (3); Feature: 7 (19).
June 8 – Belle-Clair Speedway in Belleville, Ill. – Heat race: 2 (8); Feature: 1 (1).
SEASON STATS –
18 races, 1 win, 8 top fives, 12 top 10s, 16 top 15s, 17 top 20s
UP NEXT –
Wednesday at Gas City I-69 Speedway in Gas City, Ind.; Thursday at Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville, Ind.; Friday at Bloomington Speedway in Bloomington, Ind.; Saturday at Lawrenceburg Speedway in Lawrenceburg, Ind.; and Sunday at Kokomo Speedway in Kokomo, Ind., for the USAC Honda National Midget Series Indiana Midget Week
MEDIA LINKS –
Thomas has t-shirts for sale at his race trailer during every event this season. For his schedule, visit http://www.TylerThomasMotorsports.com.