Lanier, GA - After spending the season on the high banks of Mobile International Speedway the Moose loaded up his G-Force Impala for the flat 3/8th mile bull ring of Lanier National Speedway and a 100 lap Georgia Asphalt Series race. Parking on Friday was the first indication of how steep the competition was this past weekend. Parked to the right was Chase Elliot, son of NASCAR driver Bill Elliott and on the left was current Super Late Model-Blizzard, Miller Lite and Viper Series points leader Bubba Pollard. They were the next-door neighbors and the rest of the neighborhood was just as tough. To go fast in Mobile you drive it in until you think it won’t hold and then you stomp the gas and hold on. Lanier is more touch than brute strength and more turning than going straight. The first few laps of practice got the better of the Moose as he struggled to adapt to the unique Speedway. The team thrashed on the Grill chassis while the Moose continued to learn. After less than 50 laps of practice the Moose lined up to qualify posting a lap more than a second faster than his first laps on the track and just 2 tenths off the pole. How tight was the field? The Moose lined up 16th out of 20 cars.
The team had little time to work on long runs and had more questions marks about the race than they did qualifying. With the drop of the green flag the Moose picked up a few spots but not many and the race settled in to a 25 lap green flag run before the first caution. Back under green the Moose was looking to pick up some spaces, 3 cars in front of the G-Force machine spun and the Moose locked up the brakes to keep from running over the cars in front of him. The move sent the Moose spinning and a light encounter with the outside retaining wall. A trip down pit road for a little duck tape and the Moose was back on track, still on the lead lap but at the tail end of the field. Under green he was picking up spots he lost in the accident. The Moose was making progress until he caught a lapped car that wanted to race the lead lap cars. The time spent getting around the lapped car cost the Moose valuable real estate as the leaders closed in. On a small 3/8ths mile track it doesn’t take long for the leaders to come around, at lap 60 the Moose went a lap down. As usual, a much needed caution flag flew shortly thereafter. The GAS Series does not use the lucky dog free pass like NASCAR, so the Max Force team used the last 30 laps to work on the handling of the G-force Impala preparing for a return trip to the North Georgia track. The weekend netted a 14th place finish and a lot of valuable experience.
Thomas: "We really had a solid weekend, the level of competition was incredible and the track was hard to get a handle on. I really appreciate Mr. Rick (Crawford) and Grant (Enfinger) coming down from Charlotte to help me out. With the limited practice time we had, they cut my learning curve down big time. Every lap we made I felt like we got better I hope we can fit anther GAS race on the schedule before the end of the year."