Kyle Thomas scored the biggest win of his racing career Saturday night, winning the 2nd Annual Great American Crate Race at Tyler County Speedway (WV).
The Pennsboro, West Virginia native won the FASTRAK Racing Series-sanctioned event in dramatic fashion, holding off a hard-charging Logan Roberson to take the $7,000 winner’s payday.
An emotional Thomas, the current Tyler County Speedway track championship points leader, had plenty of people to thank in victory lane, including the people behind the loaned engine he drove to the win.
“This is the biggest race of my career,” said Thomas. “Actually, this is a borrowed motor. It’s a Race-1, Brad Hibbard motor, it belongs to Terry Williams. I thought I was having motor troubles a couple of weeks ago, and we switched it out to run these last two races, and it panned out.”
Key to Thomas’ win was adjusting to the high line as Roberson closed in, finding speed on the cushion to hang on to the top spot.
“I knew that top was there,” said Thomas. “I just kept watching it pack in under caution. I knew if I needed to go there, I will. My crew guy wanted me to stay on the bottom, but my car really didn’t feel that good down there.
“With two laps to go, I saw Logan down there, so I knew I had to use the top then.”
Roberson came up just short, battling side-by-side with Thomas over the closing laps. Thomas was able to work more smoothly around a lapped car on the final lap than Roberson, clinching the win.
“I think we had one of the top cars tonight,” said Roberson. “[Thomas] was really good, too. That lapped car just didn’t get out of the way. That’s maybe what cost me the race, but it’s always if and but. He won the race, I didn’t.
“I felt like we had a really good car for the first time here,” added Roberson. “It would be better to win, but I feel good to put on a show for all these fans.”
Despite Thomas’ success on the high line in the closing laps, Roberson felt his only chance to win the race was on the bottom and did not second-guess his decision making.
“I was in the dirty air,” said Roberson. “I just knew the bottom was the only way to get around him. If I could just get into three and get my nose beside him. He gave me room, and I appreciate that. He gave me all the room in the world, it just didn’t play in our favor.”
Dillon Brown finished third, taking the bottom spot on the podium for the second year in a row in the Great American Crate Race.
“I didn’t know when we got here if it would clean up as well as it did last year,” said Brown. “After the heat races, the track started to clean and I found that top with 10 to go. I wish I had found that about 15 laps sooner.
“Was I quite as good as them? I don’t know. I would have liked to see.”
Race fans who missed Saturday’s FASTRAK event can visit Race Day Now by clicking here to see live updates from the event. Highlights will also be available on the Speed51 Network for Premium Members.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51.com photo