Minority Winners Take Two Races at Mid-State RV's Thursday Thunder Opening Night Spectacular Presented by WSB-TV
Friday, June 6, 2003
The opening night of Atlanta Motor Speedway¿s 2003 Thursday Thunder season proved to be the opportunity two minority racers had been waiting for, making history as the first African-American driver and first African-American owner to earn victories in the summer shootout.
Former Super Bowl Champion Myron Guyton won the Chargers division race and Kyle Beattie won the Roadsters race in a car owned by African-American businessman Tinsley Hughes.
After running three heat races ¿ and a B-Main for the first time in Thursday Thunder history ¿ the Chargers division race was a caution-filled run with McDonough¿s Guyton taking the checkered at the end of the night. He was followed by Larry Peeples and Vince Ponder.
Guyton won the Super Bowl with the New York Giants in 1990 and now owns several Burger King restaurants in the Atlanta area.
Beattie took home the Pace Car Fuel Center Roadsters¿ trophy after leader Dale Akridge was disqualified following the race. Beattie was driving for Hughes, who briefly fielded a Winston Cup program last season.
Second place in the Roadsters race went to Don Snyder of Knoxville, Tenn. Mark Gay finished third.
Picking up where he left off last season as Chargers champion, Bubba Harry (Griffin) moved into the Semi-Pro division and dominated the race, leading flag to flag for his first win of the season. Griffin¿s second-place Jeremy Kalina and third-place finisher L.J. Cover.
Thirteen-year-old Joey Logano (Alpharetta), last year¿s Semi-Pro champion, moved into the Pro division this season and also dominated, starting from the pole and leading every lap. Morrow¿s Andy James and Fayetteville¿s Douglas Ludwig rounded out the top 3.
In the Atlanta Dental Team Bandits division, Hunter Robbins started from the front of the 13-car pack and took home the winner¿s trophy at the end of the night. He was followed by reigning Bandits Champion Kyle Mitchell and Casey Roderick, who was making his Thursday Thunder debut.
The Tanger Outlet Malls Masters division race was halted for almost 30 minutes after Jim Gresham flipped his No. 711 machine in turn three. Gresham was transported to Southern Regional Medical Center for further evaluation; he was released later that night and returned to work Friday morning.
After the delay in the Tanger Outlet Malls Masters race, Randy Thornton held on to win, beating Griffin¿s Mark Wallace, owner of the No. 77 Winston Cup car of Dave Blaney, and Skip Nichols.
The Pace Car Fuel Center Outlaws race provided a close battle for the fans. Darrell Banks barely edged competitors Sean Cassidy and Jody Pilkenton.
Lilburn¿s Ryan Bowman visited Papa John¿s Victory Lane in the Moore Machinery Movers Young Guns division, with Jonathan Chandler and Trey Maughan finishing close behind.
Atlanta Motor Speedway¿s Thursday Thunder will return next week for the second of ten weeks of Legends, Bandolero and Roadster racing. To test driver your own Legends machine, or for more information about Legends racing, call Legends of Georgia director Pete Horne at (770) 707-2977 or visit (www.legendsofga.com).