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Aug 08, 2014 - 06:13 AM
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Tyler Thomas Goes For 4th Straight Top-Three In Late Models At New Smyrna
Posted by: newsla on Aug 08, 2014 - 06:07 AM
Tyler Thomas Goes For 4th Straight Top-Three In Late Models At New Smyrna

Tyler Thomas of Collinsville, Okla., will attempt to stretch his streak of top-three finishes to four Saturday in the Late Model Pro division at New Smyrna Speedway.


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The 18-year-old Thomas has a victory, a second place and a third in three starts at New Smyrna’s famed half-mile, the only track where he’s run on pavement and in a stock car in his career. He expects to do well in his fourth stock car race, too.

“I want to finish the race and I know if we finish it, we’ll have a pretty good finish,” Thomas said. “We just need to keep doing what we’ve been doing.”

Thomas is a development driver for Florida short-track star Tim Russell’s team.

“They know what they’re doing on the cars and when you have a good car under you, it’s easier to learn more and learn faster,” Thomas said. “When you’re not fighting the car, you’re able to work on yourself more than anything. I’m excited about Saturday’s race. I enjoy going back there each and every time. I learn every time. I feel more comfortable in the car and knowing what the car is doing, I’m able to explain it to the team.

“I think we’re getting better with every race. I’ve developed what I want in the car to fit my style and I think it’s paying off.”

Thomas will test at New Smyrna on Friday to start a busy weekend.

“Hopefully, we’ll try some new things and find some new things to make the car better,” he said.

Thomas will fly to St. Louis on Sunday morning and drive that evening in the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series’ Arnie Knepper Memorial at Belle-Clair Speedway in Belleville, Ill.

“I’m looking forward to getting into the Midget and racing at Belle-Clair,” Thomas said.

Thomas has four victories in the POWRi National Midgets including one this year. He’s been a regular in the series for three seasons, but is missing some events to run seven at New Smyrna. Thomas and his Midget crew chief and father Brian have their car and transporter waiting for them in the St. Louis area. They drove from their home in suburban Tulsa and flew to Florida on Thursday. They have a 7:15 a.m. flight from the Daytona Beach International Airport scheduled on Sunday.

“We won’t get much sleep,” Thomas said. “Hopefully, it will be worth it.”

Thomas has driven in only one event the past two weekends. He finished second in the Badger Midget Auto Racing feature at Angell Park Speedway in Sun Prairie, Wis., on July 27 driving for car owner Hans Lien.

“Last weekend was the first I’ve had off in a few months,” Thomas said. “We went through the Midget (mechanically), but I wish I had been racing. I guess I’ve got the addiction pretty bad.”

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