NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. —Tyler Thomas of Collinsville, Okla., finished second in the Late Model Pro 50-lap race Saturday night at New Smyrna Speedway.
It was the third runner-up finish for the 18-year-old stock car and pavement rookie in six races on New Smyrna’s half-mile. Thomas also has a victory, a third and a fourth.
“We’ve run second and third quite a bit and I’ve never run this consistently up front and it feels good,” Thomas said. “I know the wins are coming. We were really stout in practice, qualifying and through the race. It was my best qualifying (fifth), within a tenth (of a second) of pole.”
Thomas started on the outside of the front row following a draw in which the top six were inverted.
“I took the lead on the start and kept it for roughly ten laps,” Thomas said. “We had a caution and I chose the outside line. The preferred line is the outside, but it was my first restart as a leader and the guy (Daniel Keene Jr.) just beat me on the restart. You don’t learn unless you experience things a couple of times. It was the last restart and I paced behind him the whole race. We were pretty much the same speed. He didn’t pull me and I couldn’t catch him.”
Thomas, a development driver for Florida short-track star Tim Russell’s team, has one Late Model Pro race at New Smyrna remaining this season, a 50-lapper Nov. 1.
“I’m really excited with how we ran,” Thomas said. “Hopefully, we’ll get one more win in our final Late Model race this season.”
Tyler Thomas race results in Late Model Pro division at New Smyrna Speedway for 2014 season: May 17—third; June 21—first; July 19—second; Aug. 9—second; Oct. 11—fourth; Oct. 18—second.