DUQUOIN, Ill. — official series release — POWRi photo —
Tyler Thomas will race on the one-sixth Mini-Magic Mile at the Southern Illinois Center for the fourth time Saturday in the fifth annual Great Clips Battle at the Center presented by K&N Filters, a non-points event organized by the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series.
The 18-year-old from Collinsville, Okla., will be attempting to continue the considerable success he’s had on the indoor track at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds.
Thomas won in his initial event and finished second, passed by Bryan Clauson on the final lap, the next night in the late summer of 2012 in regular-season POWRi Midget events. He was running in the top 10 in the Battle of the Center in December, 2012, when a flat tire eliminated him and he finished 17th.
“Everything clicked that weekend,” Thomas said of his one-two finishes. “The car was working awesome. Hopefully, we’ll be able to have another weekend like that. We had a really fast car in feature at the Battle at the Center, too, but we had to start really far back because we didn’t get the passing points in the heats. It’s been a pretty good track for us.”
Thomas had one victory, the fourth of his POWRi Midget career, included in 12 top-fives in 22 events this season. He finished sixth in the championship. Thomas diversified his racing schedule in 2014, running seven late model stock car features with one victory and four runners-up in seven events, and also ran Honda USAC National Midgets and American Sprint Car Series national and regional events.
Thomas’ most recent Midget event was the famed USAC Turkey Night Grand Prix at Perris, Calif., on Nov. 27. He had climbed from 15th starting position to ninth when unavoidable contact took him out on the 75th of 98 laps.
“We came home from California and began working on our cars and we found something we’ve been struggling with all season,” Thomas said. “I’m looking forward to the Battle at the Center, really excited about it. A win at the Battle of the Center in that tough field would be pretty special.
“The heats will be the most important races. You need to get passing points to start up front for the qualifying races because you start pretty much straight up from where you finish for the feature.”
CREDIT: POWRi Racing