The Moose rolled his G-Force Impala into Mobile International Speedway with big expectations after a long month of hard work and testing. The Midwest Cooling Tower Late Models were slated as the feature class with qualifying, an extended lap feature and double points for the 2009 championship. Everyone was bringing their best car and big nights are known for attracting top-flight teams. Off the trailer the Moose was in and around the top 5 but that was practice and everyone would be picking their game up for qualifying.
With a change in the racing format at MIS the team prepped for only it’s the 3rd qualifying effort of the 2009 season and the first in the Grill chassis. The Moose was on the wheel timing in 4 tenths of second faster than his best qualifying effort at MIS and slightly over a tenth off the pole and would put him 4th on the starting grid. The hard work and energy the Max Force team put in this season was starting to pay off on the racetrack. With nearly a full field invert the Moose would roll of 10th instead of 4th.
With the drop of the green flag the Moose was charging a little too hard and he sent Jeremy Pate spinning on the first corner of the first lap. Back under green the G-Force Impala had gone from free in qualifying to super tight. Instead of going forward the Moose was going backwards with a car that wouldn’t turn. A caution 10 laps in would give the team an opportunity to bring the Moose down pit road and free him up. Back under green the Moose was rumbling back to the front. The Moose moved to dodge a wreck and was turned from behind sending him to the back again. At the halfway point the Moose was picking up spots again when they started wrecking in front of him blocking the track. The Moose tried a hard left to miss the wad of cars but there was nowhere to go. The impact nearly knocked the rear end out of the car and ended what had started as a promising night.
Thomas: "At one time or another I think I hit or got hit by everything but the pace car. Jeremy (Pate) came down after the race and we talked about the first lap. He’s been on both sides of the deal and he’s a class act. Our qualifying effort showed how far we’ve come since we started the season. We’ve put the first piece of the puzzle together and we’ll start working on making our race package better. A lot of people put in a lot of time getting our new motor in and running. I think Mr. Dan (Vanderley) was one of the happiest guys at the track with our qualifying effort and we out qualified his son. Mr. Dan’s VDL carburetor is all we run and he’s been tuning on the new motor combination for weeks. We’ll go back to work and get Midnight ready to go again."