Defending Thursday Thunder Champs Start 2004 Off Hot
Monday, June 7, 2004
Last year¿s Thursday Thunder champions started off the 2004 season with a bang, with three defending champs returning to win their division races.
Mark Wallace (Griffin), Casey Roderick (Lawrenceville) and Trey Maughan (Fayetteville) all defended their titles with resounding wins and a challenge to the other competitors.
Wallace earned the Tanger Outlet Center Masters win, holding off division veteran Randy Thornton (Oxford) and Skip Nichols (Albany). It was the ninth career win for Wallace, who is a consultant to the No. 77 NEXTEL Cup car driven by Brendan Gaughan.
Roderick also picked up where he left off last season, winning the Atlanta Dental Team Bandits race by coasting to the win over newcomer Zachary Stroupe (Iron Station) and Kyle Fowler (Smyrna).
Maughan, who graduated from Starr¿s Mill High School last week, moved into the Outlaws division this season after winning the Young Guns title last year. He took the new competition by storm, holding off Sean Cassidy (Martinez) and Jody Pilkenton (Griffin).
In the Don Bell Pro division, last year¿s runner-up Chris Dilbeck, another recent high school graduate, earned his first win of the season. He held off Beau Slocumb (Juliette) and Andy James (Morrow) to establish himself as the man to beat this season.
Griffin¿s Chase Moody earned his first career Thursday Thunder win in the Young Guns division as he outraced Daniel Moore (Griffin) and Bre Sharp (Fayetteville) to the checkered flag.
In the Chargers division, Todd Gulledge also earned his first career win. Gulledge traded in his tool box for a driving suit in recent years after being a crew member of the 1999 Daytona-winning Busch effort with Randy LaJoie. Gulledge held off Mahlon Winstead (Williamson) and Brian Snider (Jonesboro) for the win.
Chris Cable, a dominant force in the Bandolero division several years ago, reestablished himself as a contender in the Estes Heating & Air Semi-Pro division by running away with the win Thursday. He sailes past Sean ¿Flip¿ Davis (McDonough) and Jess Evans (Almo) for the victory.
In the Roadsters division, defending champion Jim Gresham (Hampton), went off track early, finishing third. That left the door open for a fantastic duel between Dale Akridge (Lilburn) and James Egloff (Griffin). On the final lap, Egloff slipped in turn 2 as Akridge sailed past for the win.
Atlanta Motor Speedway¿s Thursday Thunder will return next week for the second of ten weeks of Legends, Bandolero and Roadster racing. Don¿t miss the 2nd Annual Faster Pastor race, which will feature preachers from Sharon Baptist Church, First Baptist Church of Locust Grove and Bethany Baptist Church. The Faster Pastor race, presented by J93, will be the intermission race of the next week¿s Thursday Thunder. Fans are reminded to bring canned goods to be donated to Helping In His Name food pantry in McDonough.
To test drive 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. For more information about Thursday Thunder, call (770) 946-4211 or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.