EASTABOGA, Ala. — William Thomas seems to like the Talladega Short Track. Thomas, a 24-year-old from Phenix City, Ala., held off several challenges from Tyrone, Ga.-based driver Jake Knowles to capture his second-career Southern All Stars Dirt Racing Series event win at the Talladega Short Track, on NASCAR weekend. Thomas also became the third straight different winner during the first three scheduled events.
Allen native Brandon Kinzer finished third in the SAS-sanctioned race.
Thomas led all 50 laps of the main event while driving the J.W. Miller Land & Timber, Austin Trucking, Hoosier Racing Tire and Nevin Farms-sponsored Vinson-powered Barry Wright Race Car. Thomas’ only other Southern All Stars Dirt Racing Series victory came less than a year ago on July 30, 2011 during the SAS’ annual Michael Head Jr. Memorial race.
Thomas and Kinzer brought the field of 25 to life. An upstart driver, Thomas jumped to the point early. A spin in turn two on lap four brought out the first of only two yellow flags as Doug King and Chad Winkles both spun, sending each driver to the tail on the double-file restart. On the 21st lap, Dylan Ames spun, bringing out the final yellow flag of the race. By the halfway point, Jake Knowles began to creep up on Thomas as they worked the lapped traffic and stuck his nose underneath Thomas several times, even switching to the high line. The dirt Late Model driver, however, couldn’t make it stick for the lead. With only 10 laps remaining, Thomas, Knowles and Kinzer were all vying for the lead. Thomas worked lapped traffic and to his advantage held off Knowles and Kinzer for the win.
Three previous series champions representing six years of championships were on hand for the 30th Anniversary visit to Talladega, including Ronnie Johnson (1985, 1987, 1988); James Cline (1990) and Randy Weaver (2009, 2010).
The Southern All Stars Dirt Racing Series will be back in action on Saturday, May 12 with the 35th Annual Tennessee Memorial event, which pays $3,500 to win/$300 to start.