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Jun 23, 2014 - 06:55 AM
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Tyler Thomas Delivers Breakthrough Win In Late Model Pro At New Smyrna
Posted by: newsla on Jun 23, 2014 - 06:50 AM
Tyler Thomas Delivers Breakthrough Win In Late Model Pro At New Smyrna

Tyler Thomas of Collinsville, Okla., drove to a breakthrough victory in the Late Model Pro 25-lap feature at New Smyrna Speedway on Saturday night.


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It was Thomas’ second race in a stock car, on pavement and at the half-mile track. He finished third in his debut on May 17.

“Winning feels pretty cool,” the 18-year-old Thomas said. “I knew we had a shot, that we had a car capable of winning. I just had to put the race together. Fortunately, we had the luck of the draw.”

Starting positions for the race, part of NASCAR’s Whelan All-American Racing Series, were determined by draw. Thomas started on the outside of the front row and led every lap.

“It wasn’t very eventful,” he said. “We tested Friday and had practice before the race Saturday. We got the car dialed in and I couldn’t have asked for much more. It was really good overall.”

Thomas is in his third season driving in the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget championship and won its most recent feature on June 8 at Belle-Clare Speedway in Belleville, Ill. Thomas followed by driving in the four Honda USAC Indiana Midget Week events. He didn’t have any problems returning to the 2,750-pound stock car from the 1,000-pound Midget.

“I feel totally comfortable in the stock car,” Thomas said. “Everything came back. I feel I’ve adapted to the track and the way and car works and how everything changes with the car during the race. The dirt stuff helps with the pavement stuff. I generally like the car a little looser and with pavement, I feel more control with what I want. It helps me on the dirt side, too. I’m driving the Midget straighter and am more patient. Both sides help each other in my driving style.”

Thomas will return to the POWRi Midgets on Friday (June 27) at Wayne County (Ill.) Speedway and Saturday at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Ind. He’s fourth in the points, but only 40, 1,950-1,910, behind leader Zach Daum.

“I think our chances to win at Wayne County and Tri-State are pretty good,” Thomas said. “We’ve been very consistent with the Midget as far as top fives and top threes and been in contention in most of the races. We’ve got a lot figured out on those race cars.”

Thomas is running a seven-race schedule in Late Model Pro with Tim Russell’s team. His next stock car event will be at New Smyrna on July 19.

“There’s no doubt there is the possibility of more wins to come in the Late Model,” Thomas said.

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