Peach State Speedway, Georgia - While racing on the Gulf Coast took a weekend off between races, the Moose was at the racetrack. During the off weekend the Moose was in Memphis with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, returning just in time to join Grant Enfinger and his Beasley Allen late model team for a 2 day show at Peach State Speedway in Georgia. Back in town for a day's worth of sleep on July 4th, it was back to work in the Max Force Race shop in Mobile to prepare for Military Appreciation night at Five Flags Speedway. The Speedway's Military Appreciation night inspired the team to change the hood from their primary sponsor, G-Force Racing Gear, to the National Museum of Naval Aviation. The Museum is the most visited museum in the state of Florida and the perfect vehicle for the Max Force team to show it's appreciation to our men and women in the Military.
Off the trailer, the normal reliable Pontiac the team is used to at Pensacola's Five Flag Speedway was just junk. The team worked hard in both practice session to make the car better but nothing seemed to help. Another round of changes and the Moose lined up at the tail end of the heat race. Thomas made his way to 4th but the car was not much better. The crew went back to work, even taking the car back through the technical inspection line to find what might be amiss. All the measuring points were in line but the car would not sit properly on the scales. The weld that held the rear end in place had broken on the left side and the rear end was moved forward an inch. With the left side forward it basically had the rear of the car steering to the right even when you want to go straight. If you wanted to turn a little it was turning a lot. The team quickly re-squared the rear end tightening the 4 bolts that clamp it in place as best they could but they would not have the benefit of a weld to hold it in place. Fingers crossed they loaded the Moose into the Naval Museum Pontiac for the feature.
A Navy color guard and a group from NAS Pensacola to sing the National Anthem seemed to set the set stage for a special night with the Nation Museum of Naval Aviation on the hood. Having finished in the top 3 at the last race at Pensacola, the Moose was relegated to starting at the back of the field. With the drop of the green flag the Moose was on the march and by lap 8 he was up to 4th. Coming off of 4 the car he had just passed lifted the back end of the Naval Museum Pontiac off the ground and sent the Moose into the spin cycle down the front straightaway. The spin started off of turn 4 and the Moose was working over time inside the car, a 360 then a 180 followed by another 180 and the Naval Museum Pontiac came to a rest all the way down in the entrance of turn 1 with the nose of the car resting against the inside retaining wall. Somehow the Moose had been able to keep it off the wall and was able to continue. The car was not hurt but the tires were now flat spotted in 2 places and at a track that depends on tires the Moose was now at a real disadvantage. The Moose may have been at a disadvantage on paper but when you have a mad Moose things are going to happen.
Back under green the Moose now had to work his way back the front, within a few laps he was back up to 4th but the leaders had set sail on the field and catching them was impossible. Impossible unless you have a caution and a caution is what the Moose got with 5 to go. By the time the caution flag flew the Moose was a little cooler but with the field bunched back up he could see the car that put him in the spin cycle, a little extra incentive to get to the front. The Moose got a bad jump on the restart but by the time the field made a circuit the Moose had a full head of steam. He soon caught the 3rd place car and was looking for a spot to pass. Second and third were bunched up and with 3 to go the Moose took to the outside. The outside at Pensacola is tricky with fresh rubber and passing slow cars, with tires that have 22 laps and have been flat spotted, trying to pass for 3rd and 2nd is down right crazy. By the time the field took the white flag the Moose had cleared both 3rd and 2nd and was looking at the back end of the leader, the leader was the car that had put the Moose in to the spin earlier in the race. Racing 3rd and 2nd side by side had given the leader enough room to hold off the Moose for a lap and the Moose would take 2nd in a remarkable recovery.
Thomas on his night: "What a night. We were just horrible in practice and the guys just kept working and finally figured it out in time for the feature. I want to thank Grant (Enfinger) for helping us out tonight. We had a much better car in the feature and we were able to move forward pretty quick. I don't know what the 44 (race winner) was thinking, I had just passed him and he nearly cost us a racecar on the front stretch. We were able to get back to 2nd but you know we passed the winner (44) in the first 5 laps of the race. I'm still pretty hot about it. It was a great night for our team, we had the Naval Museum on the hood and we added to our points lead. We had a lot of people at the track with us tonight including one of our tire sponsors, S & S Cox Electric. I can't thank them and all our sponsors enough for what they do for us."