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Aug 12, 2014 - 06:21 AM
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Tyler Thomas 2nd in New Smyrna Late Models, 4th in POWRi Midgets
Posted by: newsla on Aug 12, 2014 - 06:17 AM
Tyler Thomas 2nd in New Smyrna Late Models, 4th in POWRi Midgets

Tyler Thomas stretched his top-three streak to four with a second-place finish in the Late Model Pro division at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway on Saturday and finished fourth in the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series at Belle-Clair Speedway in Belleville, Ill., on Sunday.


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The 18-year-old from Collinsville, Okla., started eighth for the 25-lap feature in a lineup set by draw at New Smyrna and climbed to second by the third lap on the half-mile track. Veteran Florida stock car driver Rich Clouser of DeLand, Fla., was the leader and eventual winner.

“We had a yellow fairly early and after the restart, there was only a car length separating us for about 10 laps,” Thomas said. “We got a little loose at the end of the race. We made improvements to the car from the last time we were there. Clouser was always better, but we were there with him and I’m pretty happy with second.”

Thomas has one victory, two runner-ups and a third in four starts in his rookie season in stock cars and on pavement. His next Late Model Pro race at New Smyrna is Sept. 6.

“Hopefully, we can grab another win, but the top-three streak is not bad at all,” Thomas said. “We’re pretty close to winning again, that’s for sure.”

Thomas and his Midget crew chief father Brian flew to St. Louis on Sunday morning, arriving at 11 a.m. CT after a brief stop in Atlanta.

“We got the truck and the trailer and went straight to the track,” Thomas said.

Thomas was running second halfway through the heat race on the one-fifth mile dirt track when the left-front brake line broke. He managed to keep the Midget in second until the final lap when the right rear wheel hub quit turning on the back straight and he dropped to fifth.

The mechanical failure put Thomas into the B main and he won it. Thomas started 17th in the Arnie Knepper Memorial and climbed to fourth at the checkered flag, finishing fourth behind Bryan Clauson, Zach Daum and Shane Cottle.

“It was a great field and fourth from 17th starting position was a very good run,” Thomas said.

Thomas will race in three POWRi National Midget races this weekend. He’ll be at Lincoln (Ill.) Speedway on Friday (Aug. 15), Macon (Ill.) Speedway on Saturday for the Dana Godfrey Memorial and Angell Park Speedway in Sun Prairie, Wis., on Sunday. Angell Park is also sanctioned by the Honda USAC National Midgets and the Badger Midget Auto Racing Association, bringing the nation’s top three Midget series together.

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