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Tue, 18 Oct 2005, 12:03 PM

Mike Thomas to Fill in for Injured Kenny Koretsky at Vegas, Pomona
Courtesy of Joe Sherk

LAS VEGAS -- Kenny Koretsky enjoys visiting Las Vegas. And the fact there are two drag races a year at the glitzy Nevada city only enhances his pleasure.

That's why he's doing his darnedest to be there for this weekend's ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

He definitely won't be driving, due to injuries received in a serious qualifying accident he had with Bruce Allen at Dallas, Oct. 7. But his Nitro Fish Wear Pro Stock Dodge Stratus - 2005 model replacing the demolished 2006 - will be competing, as will his Werner Enterprises/Kenny Koretsky Motorsports Top Fuel dragster, driven by Clay Millican.

Mike Thomas, the veteran driver from Knoxville, Tenn., who stepped in for Koretsky while he rested a sore shoulder in July, will be doing the driving at both Las Vegas and Pomona, Calif. (Nov. 3-6).

"Eddie Guarnaccia, my crew chief, and I asked Mike to drive again," said Koretsky, who is recuperating from two broken ribs, a broken right hand, bruised heart, concussion and sore neck. "Mike's familiar with the car and did a good job for us.

"I am planning to go to Vegas, watch the race and basically relax. I'm not going to be running around the race track, I can tell you that. A neurosurgeon told me I didn't have any idea how much trauma my body went through, but I can sure feel it. I'm bruised all over and feel like I was run over by a Mack truck."

Thomas was the No. 1 qualifier at Seattle and No. 2 at Sonoma, Calif., in two of his three races in the Nitro Fish Wear Dodge.

Another incentive for Koretsky to make the trek from his Richboro, Pa., home is the appearance of his Top Fuel team. Millican has an opportunity to compete for $100,000 Saturday in the special Budweiser Shootout. He is one of eight drivers vying for the eighth, and final, berth in the event. A Thursday night drawing will determine which driver makes the field.

Millican also will be vying for one of 16 start positions in Sunday's race.

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