Second Week of Thursday Thunder A Week of Firsts
Thursday, June 10, 2004
There were a lot of firsts during the second week of Thursday Thunder at Atlanta Motor Speedway presented by Bellamy-Strickland and J93.3. Mahlon Winstead (Williamson), Chris Roger (Kannapolis), Kyle Fowler (Smyrna), Jason Magagna (Cumming) and Jim Egloff (Griffin) all earned their first career victories in the 10-week summer racing series, while one local pastor claimed bragging rights in the Faster Pastor race.
There were also a few familiar faces in Victory Lane, as past champion Skip Nichols and returning Outlaws racer Tina Johnson both won their first races of the season in front of a crowd full of new fans on hand for the 2nd annual Fastor Pastor race.
The Fastor Pastor race, featuring local preachers from Sharon Baptist Church, First Baptist Church of Locust Grove and Bethany Baptist Church, took a twist before it even got started. The three pastors were thrown a last-minute surprise when their Legends cars were substituted with beat-up demolition-derby type cars.
They took the change in stride, beating and banging throughout the six-lap race. Rev. Gary Lewis of Sharon Baptist in McDonough emerged the winner of the heated grudge match, but the real winner of the night was the Helping In His Name Ministries Food Pantry, which received a large donation after Thursday¿s races.
Back in the weekly racing matches, Winstead earned his first career win in the Chargers division, holding off a strong challenge late in the race by rookie Christopher Keir (Hampton). Week 1 winner Todd Gulledge managed a third-place finish despite starting at the rear of the field.
In the Estes Heating & Air Semi-Pro division, Roger traveled down to Hampton from Kannapolis, N.C., only to show up his southern neighbors in his first career race at AMS. He bested 13-year-old Travis Pennington (Winston), who just moved into a Legends car this season, and Scott Hicks, who finished third (Hampton).
Magagna managed to hold off a hard-charging Taylor Hull (Winston) for his first win in Thursday Thunder in the Young Guns division, while last week¿s winner, Chase Moody (Griffin), finished third.
Fowler started on the pole position for the Atlanta Dental Bandits team race, was passed briefly by defending Bandits champion Casey Roderick, and then managed to overtake the past champion for his first career win. Roderick (Lawrenceville) ended in second, while Darrell Wallace (Concord, N.C.) was third.
After a close race last week, Jim Egloff (Griffin) turned the cards on his competition to earn his first career win. Jim Gresham (Hampton) finished second, while last week¿s winner Dale Akridge (Lilburn) finished third.
In the Tanger Outlet Center Masters division, Nichols (Albany) pushed his career win total to 13 after edging out Bruce Mundy (Covington), who earned his highest career finish. Recently coming off of triple-bypass surgery, Billy Hendrix (Griffin) finished third, also a career best.
Fresh off of a year hiatus from Thursday Thunder, Johnson reiterated her push for the championship by earning her first win of the season. Last week¿s winner and 2003 Young Guns Champion Trey Maughan (Fayetteville) finished second. Rookie Ryan Jernigon (Hickory) finished third in just his second race.
In the Don Bell Pro division, Hampton¿s Chris Dilbeck started in the rear and zoomed his way to the front of the field by the second lap, holding on for his second win of the season. Douglasville¿s L.J. Cover was second and Juliette¿s Beau Slocumb.
Atlanta Motor Speedway¿s Thursday Thunder will return next week for Eagle 106.7 FM night, which will feature Rhubarb Jones¿ March Across Georgia to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Atlanta Motor Speedway officials will donate $1 for every paid adult admission to Thursday¿s activities, and in lieu of an autograph session, drivers 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. 29-31 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 weekend for the first five fans who present Rhubarb with at least $500.
Tickets for Thursday Thunder are just $5 for adults, $1 for children 6-11, and children under 5 are free. Parking is free. Spectator gates open at 6 p.m. with preliminary action beginning immediately. Feature racing begins at 7 p.m. and concludes by 10:30 p.m. For more information about Thursday Thunder, call (770) 946-4211 or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.