Former NASCAR Winston Cup Star Ernie Irvan To Race, Sign Autographs At Thursday Thunder
Tuesday, August 5, 2003
Former NASCAR Winston Cup star Ernie Irvan will be at Atlanta Motor Speedway this week for Papa John's Fan Appreciation Night at Thursday Thunder, where he will be signing autographs for the fans and racing against his young protégé in a celebrity Legends race.
Irvan, who won 15 races and 22 pole positions in his 13-year NASCAR career, will return to the track for a 10-lap grudge match against his young Busch protégé, Kevin Conway.
In his first career ARCA race last spring at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Conway started 5th and finished 13th. He also competed in the fall ARCA race at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway, finishing 7th. Since then he has been busy trying to obtain sponsorship to run the limited Busch schedule he and Irvan planned.
Now Conway will be able to test his skills against Irvan on track in this ¿Beat The Boss¿ grudge match.
Both Irvan and Conway will also be signing autographs on the concourse from 6-7 p.m., along with 1960 NASCAR champion Rex White.
This week will feature even more exciting things for fans, though, as the first 500 through the gate will receive a free goody bag stocked with Papa John's goodies, discount coupons, T-shirts and more.
One lucky fan will also get the chance to win $50 in the Redi.net Dash 4 Cash, while others will go home the lucky winner of tickets to the fall Winston Cup race at Atlanta or coupons for Richard Petty Driving Experience Ride-Alongs.
FUEL OK: Lilburn¿s Ryan Bowman had to wait for more than 10 days to find out if he would continue to hold the Moore Machinery Movers Young Guns division points lead after his fuel was tested for additives following the week 7 Thursday Thunder features.
Bowman, however, wasn¿t bothered by the wait.
¿I knew our fuel was clean, so it wasn¿t really a big deal,¿ Bowman said. ¿We¿re happy to be leading the points and hope to stay on top for week 9 and 10.¿
Fuel samples from several Young Guns¿ machines were sent to INEX, the sanctioning body of Legends, Bandolero and Thunder Roadsters, for analysis.
In the end, all tests came back negative, and Bowman leads the Young Guns division by 24 points. Bowman has scored three wins on Atlanta Motor Speedway¿s Thunder Ring this season.
CHAMBERS CHARGES AS LEGENDS ROOKIE: Mike Chambers of Griffin raced mini-stocks for 12 years before he decided it was time for a change.
¿I had two track championships at Senoia and 38 feature wins in mini-stocks,¿ he said. ¿It was just time to try something new.¿
Chambers bought a Legends car and began racing not only at Senoia but in Atlanta Motor Speedway¿s Thursday Thunder summer racing series.
¿Driving a Legends car is just as hard, if not harder, than racing a mini-stock,¿ he said. ¿I was a little surprised, but I¿m working on it.¿
Chambers is tied for fifth in Legends Chargers division points at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He has four top-10 finishes this season.
LIKE FATHER, LIKE DAUGHTER: First-year Chargers racer Mary Wilson has been getting quite a bit of advice from her father, a former racer, but she can¿t use much of it.
Her father, Doug Wilson, has raced vintage cars for years, winning the Walter Mitty Classic in 1997. And although she said he¿s been a great inspiration, there isn¿t much she can transfer from her dad¿s racing days to hers.
¿In that kind of racing, they¿re fighting over minutes,¿ Mary Wilson said. ¿Here on this little quarter-mile, we¿re fighting over tenths of a second. This is a totally different kind of racing.¿
And it¿s the kind of racing that Wilson could get good at - quick. In five races this year, she¿s finished fifth twice.
¿It¿s definitely coming to me,¿ Wilson said. ¿We¿re getting better every week.¿