Thursday Thunder Week 3: Gresham & Assoc. Salute Rhubarb's March Across Georgia
Wednesday, June 18, 2003
Eagle 106.7 FM¿s Rhubarb Jones and his March Across Georgia will stop at this week¿s Thursday Thunder summer racing event at Atlanta Motor Speedway, providing race fans with the chance make a difference in the fight against leukemia and lymphoma.
Atlanta Motor Speedway officials will donate $1 for every paid adult admission to Thursday¿s activities, and in lieu of an autograph session, this week¿s featured division will go through the grandstands with their helmets.
In addition, Atlanta Motor Speedway president Ed Clark has donated five pairs of weekend ticket packages to the Oct. 24-26 Georgia 500 weekend for the first five fans who present Rhubarb with at least $1000. Last year¿s stop at AMS netted $4,959 for Rhubarb¿s March Across Georgia, one of his top stops of the summer.
Rhubarb will be at the track to sign autographs from 6-7 p.m. and will stay for the infamous ¿Throwdown Showdown¿ grudge match between his morning show co-host, Dallas McCade, AMS president Clark and Dawsonville native Dan Elliott, brother of Bill Elliott.
Fans can win exciting prizes each week at Thursday Thunder. Up for grabs this week are tickets to this October¿s Georgia 500 weekend, as well as a host of other great prizes, including Richard Petty Driving Experience Gift Certificates, cash and racing merchandise.
Thursday Thunder is a fun and affordable activity for the whole family. Admission for adults is just $5, children 6-11 are $1, and children 5 and under are free. Gates open at 6 p.m., and the racing action will start immediately. For more information call (770) 946-4211.
ON THE FAST TRACK: Casey Roderick has only had his Bandolero car one month - competing in two races, but this 10-year-old driver is anything but a rookie.
A veteran of go-kart racing for five years, Roderick was one of the youngest national go-karting champions in history (and perhaps the youngest, since records of age weren¿t kept until recently), winning the title at age 8 in 2001.
That half-decade of experience has been obvious on track, as Roderick has quickly adapted to his new Bandolero. In his first race, Roderick finished third, then nearly won in the second week of competition, being scooted out of the lead on the final lap by points leader and Thursday Thunder veteran Hunter Robbins.
¿We¿re still learning,¿ Roderick said. ¿But we¿re doing good.¿
Dad and crew chief David Roderick said the curve had been steep, but that his son had adapted quickly.
¿We¿re still new at this and trying to learn all we can in a short amount of time - it won¿t take us long,¿ David said before last week¿s near-win. ¿He¿s already surprised a lot of folks, including us, with how quick he¿s picked this up. He¿s running with some good folks. He¿s not ready to beat them yet, but we can tag along behind them and have a great time learning. And in the future, we¿ll be one of the guys to beat.¿
That future might be sooner than either one of them thought.
RIDING WITH A LEGEND: Billy Chapman, 34, remembers clearly the moment he became a race fan. It was 1979, and Atlanta Motor Speedway (then Atlanta International Raceway) was having its yearly open house.
It was Dale Earnhardt¿s rookie season, and he and local racer Bill Elliott had come to AMS to give rides to the fans in attendance. Chapman and his father ended up in the car with Earnhardt.
¿If he even said anything to us that day, I would never remember it,¿ said Chapman, who is now a competitor in the Chargers division at AMS¿ Thursday Thunder. ¿At the time, he was just another guy - a nobody. Just getting to ride around the track was the neatest thing for me. But he did look exactly the same - big mustache, big sideburns. He never changed; always had the same mannerisms.¿
The next weekend while watching the race, Chapman¿s father asked him which drivers was his favorite. Naturally he chose Earnhardt, the only driver he had ever met.
¿I watched him and cheered for him the rest of his life,¿ Chapman said. ¿And he¿s the reason I ended up in racing.¿
THURSDAY THUNDER GOES PATRIOTIC ON JULY 3: If racing and fireworks are on your July agenda, then Atlanta Motor Speedway is the place to be. In addition to the fantastic fireworks show following the evening¿s racing, there will also be special games for children and families all night. As always, admission will be just $5 for adults, $1 for children 6-11 and free for children 5 and under.