Right now is an exciting time to be around Atlanta Motor Speedway. Not only is the AdvoCare 500 Labor Day Night Race Weekend fast approaching, but also a handful of NASCAR drivers are showing everyone the caliber of racers, which Thursday Thunder has produced!
Since we began to hold races on our ¼-mile “Thunder Ring” in 1998, numerous drivers have competed in Legends and Bandolero cars through the years. Some of those drivers have, vaulted by the experience gained from racing on summer Thursday nights here at the Speedway, moved up among the NASCAR ranks.
In fact, approximately 50 former Thursday Thunder racers have competed in either ARCA or a form of NASCAR competition.
Three of them, all former Thursday Thunder champions, now find themselves near the top of the pack in NASCAR. David Ragan is coming off his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win over the weekend in the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona, a win coming a night after another former Thursday Thunder standout, Joey Logano, claimed victory in the Nationwide Series. And with Reed Sorenson’s win last weekend at Road America in Wisconsin, three of the past four Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races have been one by drivers whose racing careers include having raced at Thursday Thunder! And the other driver to win during that span, Kurt Busch, is a former Legends racer himself, having cut his teeth in the racing program at our sister track of Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
First of all, we’d like to congratulate all three of these former Thursday Thunder racers. Having seen Joey, David and Reed start off their careers in front of our very own eyes, it’s enjoyable to see drivers of which we saw in the very early years of their careers experience such a high level of success in NASCAR. Seeing these drivers win is a point of pride not only for the AMS employees, fans and competitors who saw them race back then, but it also gives our current Thursday Thunder fans and competitors something to be proud of.
Think about it – the summer legends series of which you support, either as a fan or competitor, has spawned three drivers who have not only advanced up the NASCAR ranks but also have found a high level of success there. It’s certainly something for everyone who has had any involvement with Thursday Thunder throughout the years to be proud of.
The great thing is that the stream of talented drivers racing at Thursday Thunder is not finished. Each Thursday night during the summer, some of the best Legends and Bandolero racers venture to Atlanta Motor Speedway’s challenging ¼-mile track, and excitement is likely to ensue when the green flag drops!
After weekend’s like this one, the question will inevitably become who the next driver in line is to move up from Thursday Thunder to eventual NASCAR stardom. The good news for fans is that you can see for yourself who that driver may be either at Thursday Thunder this summer or at the Legends Invitational on Friday, Sept. 2 during the AdvoCare 500 Labor Day Night Race Weekend!
Hope to see you at the track soon!