Talladega Short Track
Thomas holds off Knowles for second SAS victory
By Chris TilleySouthern All Stars Dirt Racing Series
EASTABOGA, AL (May 5) — William Thomas seems to like Talladega Short Track.
The 24-year-old driver from Phenix City, Ala., turned back several challenges from Jake Knowles of Tyrone, Ga., during Saturday night’s Southern All Stars Dirt Racing Series feature at Talladega en route to scoring his second-career series victory, both of which came at the third-mile oval. Saturday’s triumph paid $3,500.
Thomas, whose previous series victory came last season in Talladega’s Michael Head Jr. Memorial, led all 50 laps of Saturday’s main event, scored his second victory on the same weekend as NASCAR action just across the street at Talladega Superspeedway.
Knowles settled for the runner-up finish while Brandon Kinzer of Allen, Ky., finished third. Todd Morrow of East Ridge, Tenn., was fourth with Riley Hickman of Ooltewah, Tenn., rounding out the top five.
Starting from the front row of the 25-car field, Thomas jumped to the early lead over fellow front-row starter Kinzer and easily controlled the first half of the race, which saw the race’s only two cautions.
Following the final caution on lap 21, Knowles had worked his way to second and began to pressure Thomas as the two drivers negotiated lapped traffic during the middle portions of the race.
Knowles stuck his nose underneath Thomas several times even giving the high line a try as Kinzer pulled back within striking distance to make it a three-car car battle for the lead. But Thomas held off both challengers and began to pull ahead on his way to the victory.
Notes: The winner’s Vinson-powered Barry Wright Race Car is sponsored by J.W. Miller Land & Timber, Austin Trucking, Hoosier Racing Tire and Nevin Farms. … Thomas became the third different winner in three SAS events this season. Previous winners Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., and Vic Hill of Mosheim, Tenn., did not enter Saturday’s race. … The race’s two cautions were for a tangle between Doug King and Chad Winkles on lap four and Dylan Ames’ spin on lap 21. … Thomas and wife Alexis are expecting to give birth in the coming weeks. … The SAS tour will be back in action May 12 with it’s second event of the season at Cleveland (Tenn.) Speedway.
SAS @ Talladega: (1) William Thomas, (2) Jake Knowles, (3) Brandon Kinzer, (4) Todd Morrow, (5) Riley Hickman, (6) Tim Busha, (7) Ronnie Johnson, (8) Jackson Hale, (9) Jason Heitt, (10) James Cline, (11) Jason Wilson, (12) Tim Rozewell, (13) Shan Smith, (14) Brian Reese, (15) Randall Walker, (16) Chad Winkles, (17) Chris Jones, (18) Larry Boutwell, (19) Mike Weeks, (20) Todd Watson, (21) Dylan Ames, (22) Doug King, (23) Adam Martin, (24) Stacy Holmes, (25) Randy Weaver. Fast qualifier (among 34 cars): Thomas, 14.311 seconds. Consolation race winners: Heitt, Walker. Provisional starters: Weeks, Smith, Watson.