WATERFORD – A week ago at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, Bruce Thomas Jr. cruised easily to his first Late Model victory of the season.
Saturday Thomas, of Groton, returned to victory lane, though the drama level on display was 180 degrees different.
In a two-lap aggressive closing shootout, Thomas came out on top of Jason Palmer to win the 30-lap Late Model feature Saturday at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl.
Palmer, of Berlin, held on for second and Anthony Flannery of East Hampton was third.
With four laps remaining Ray Christian III slid up the track allowing Thomas to move to second behind Palmer.
The caution flew with two laps left setting up the green-white-checkered finish.
Palmer led the first lap after the restart, though Thomas said Palmer pushed him into the wall off of turn two on the lap. On the final lap it was Thomas getting under Palmer in turn three and pushing him toward the wall in turn four coming to the checkered flag, with Thomas grabbing the edge at the line.
“All in all it was just a great race,” Thomas said. “Everybody was driving good. I knew green-white-checkered Jason was going to drive it hard. I went into turn one on top of him and heading down the back chute I don’t know if his spotter didn’t tell him I was there. He kind of ran me out of room. It’s hard racing with two laps to go. Because I bounced off the wall I basically threw it in there a little bit harder the next time. I really didn’t care what happened.”
Palmer called Thomas a “dirty driver” on the track after the event.
“I didn’t touch anyone,” Palmer said. “He drove right through me. He lifted me down the whole backstretch, he worked me on the bottom. Luckily I have some kind of car control and I didn’t lose it. And then he just put me right in the frontstretch wall. It was either lift or wreck. I could have wrecked him, I could have hooked him, I could have junked him, but I let off. It isn’t work wrecking. But I can’t believe he did that.”