Kyle Thomas found himself in a familiar place after last weekend’s racing, winning his third FASTRAK National Weekly Championship in a tiebreaker off the heels of five wins. The Pennsboro, West Virginia native now heads into this weekend’s $50,000-to-win FASTRAK World Championship at Virginia Motor Speedway looking to take down the top guns in FASTRAK Pro Late Model racing and bring the big payday back to the Mountain State.
“K-Rocket” entered the 2019 season without plans to chase after another FASTRAK National Weekly points championship, with plans to only run the Pro Late Model in the bigger shows in the Southeast. However, that plan changed after reeling off wins and realizing the championship was within reach. He finished tied in points with Michael Bland, winning the title by having more wins than his fellow West Virginia counterpart.
“We started the year just going to run this car a few times here and there and just get ready for the $50,000-to-win show,” Thomas told Speed51.com. “We started clicking along there and hitting a few wins. We were just going back and forth and some tracks we’re not allowed to run both our cars at, so we would take the Crate car and try some stuff. It come down there close to the end right before the $7,000-to-win Great American Crate show, we got looking at the points and we were climbing the ladder pretty quick so we started focusing on points harder and harder. Me and Bland, I would watch his races to see where he was going. It’s been a good battle.”
Along with the FASTRAK National Weekly championship, Thomas also picked up track championships at Tyler County Speedway, Elkins Raceway, and I-77 Raceway Park in his home state. He also took his first-career FASTRAK Touring Series win in the Great American Crate Race at Tyler County. He looks to take momentum built throughout the year into this weekend’s FASTRAK World Championship.
“Let’s hope they don’t stop. It’s been great, we’ve had a great season,” he said. “We’ve run our Super, I think we’ve won four (races) or so with it. The XR1 Rocket, we’ve been just focusing on it the last few months. At the Hillbilly weekend we tried some stuff going into that race and it didn’t go that good, putting us behind the eight-ball to begin with. We were kind of hoping to have everyone stay on a level field in the points battle and we actually came out on top.”
The event now known as the richest Pro Late Model race in history was scheduled on top of the Knoxville Late Model Nationals at Knoxville Raceway in Iowa. Thomas says the schedule overlap allows drivers like him to have a better shot at taking home the $50,000 top prize Saturday night, though he would like to take on the country’s best Super Late Model drivers at some point down the road.
“It helps the guys who supports the series all season long,” he said. “A lot of them guys don’t have the top stuff like those guys do out on the Tour. I think it does help and I appreciate Stan Lester and them for doing that for these guys, but to go out and outrun those guys on a big show would be a good thing too.”
Normally competing on bullrings, the half-mile Virginia Motor Speedway presents a different challenge for Thomas this weekend. He has a set game plan on how to tackle the FASTRAK World Championship, but the size of the track ultimately has his team wondering where to go from there.
“That’s the thing we’re scratching our heads on, there’s a lot of stuff to do and stuff like that,” he said. “These Crate cars, you’ve got to have them free and rotating all the time. These cars nowadays are getting so air dependent. We’re just trying to dot our I’s and cross our T’s and get everything in line because it’s a big track. Trying to get a good basic setup to start with and hopefully Mark Richards is going to help me out there.”
Race fans unable to make it to Virginia Motor Speedway to watch ‘K-Rocket’ in action will be able to watch the FASTRAK World Championship via a live pay-per-view broadcast on Speed51. Live video tickets for both Friday and Saturday can be purchased by clicking here.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN/MI) – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo credit: Speed51.com