Thursday Thunder Week 9: Action Heats Up With Championships On The Line
Friday, July 30, 2004
With one race to go, the racing action heated up in the chase for the championship during Atlanta Motor Speedway¿s Thursday Thunder.
Several division titles are still wide open, as only one points leader managed to win during Thursday¿s Mid-State RV Faster Pastor night presented by J93 (Atlanta) and FM 99 (Macon).
In the Young Guns division, Ryan Gandee (McDonough) won his second race of the season. But the big story of the night for this division was when Jason Magagna, the points leader heading into the night, suffered heartbreak on lap five when his car broke. Magagna ended up in 12th place, putting him 14 points behind the new leader, Daniel Moore, who finished fifth.
Chase Moody (Griffin) finished second and positioned himself just two points out of the race for the championship. Ryan Rudy (Hampton) finished third despite a first-lap mishap.
In the Outlaws division, Senoia¿s Tina Johnson earned her fourth win this season and overtook the points lead from Trey Maughan (Fayetteville) by just one point. Griffin¿s Jody Pilkenton finished second, while Maughan was third.
In the Roadsters division, it was a battle to the finish as Chris Dilbeck (Hampton) outdueled Dwight Pilgram (Stockbridge) for his second race in just two races in the division. Pilgram was all over his back bumper in the closing laps but couldn't pull off the final pass, finishing just a nose behind Dilbeck. Defending division champion Jim Gresham (Hampton) held off current points leader Jim Egloff to finish third.
Two races later, Pilgram was on the winning end of the late-race action, earning his second win this season in the Tanger Outlet Center Masters division. Randy Thornton finished second, while points leader Skip Nichols finished third. Nichols holds a slim one-point leading heading into the final week.
Casey Roderick (Lawrenceville) continued to dominate the Atlanta Dental Team Bandits division by earning his seventh win of the season and further extending his lead in the division standings. With a 24-point advantage, Roderick should capture his second division championship next week. The only driver who could stop him is second-place finisher Kyle Fowler (Smyrna), who has won the other two races this season not claimed by Roderick. Max Gresham (Hampton) earned his highest finish of the season, crossing the line third.
In the Chargers division, rookie Chris Keir (Hampton) took the checkered flag for his first career win. Starting from the pole position, Keir managed to avoid a series of cautions to maintain his lead. Finishing just behind him were current points leader Todd ¿Catfish¿ Gulledge (Griffin) and Eddie Donaldson (Griffin). Keir now trails Gulledge in the division standings by a 23 points.
In his first race back to Thursday Thunder in three years, Jonathan Davenport (Griffin) earned his 10th career victory in the Don Bell Signs Pro division, holding off Jeremy Kalina (Griffin). L.J. Cover (Douglasville) rounded out the top 3, while current points champion, Chris Dilbeck (Hampton) finished fourth.
Casey Tate (Locust Grove) won his second race of the season in the Estes Heating & Air Semi-Pro division, while Jess Mattox (Waycross) tied a career-best finish by following Tate to the checkered flag. Current points leader Chris Cable (Griffin) was third.
Atlanta Motor Speedway¿s Thursday Thunder will return next week for the season finale, Papa John¿s Fan Appreciation night presented by 96 Rock. The first 1,500 fans through the gate will receive a free goody bag, and the prize closet will be emptied during the final night of racing.
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 p.m. For more information about Thursday Thunder, call (770) 946-4211 or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.
WEEK 8 RESULTS
1. Chris Keir (Hampton), 2. Todd Gulledge (Griffin), 3. Eddy Donaldson (Griffin), 4. Sean Anderson, 5. Jason Guske (Atlanta), 6. Micah Willis (Fayetteville), 7. Micah Chambers (Griffin), 8. Phillip Bell (Senoia), 9. Mary Wilson (Norcross), 10. James Auld (Hastings, Great Britain), 11. Gene Redahan (Fayetteville), 12. Brian Snider (Inwood, WV)
1. Ryan Gandee (McDonough), 2. Chase Moody (Griffin), 3. Ryan Rudy (Hampton), 4. Bre Sharp (Fayetteville), 5. Daniel Moore (Griffin), 6. Taylor Hull (Winston), 7. Matthew Stover (Gastonia), 8. John Allen (Duluth), 9. Josh McCallum (Lizella), 10. Kyle McCallum (Lizella), 11. James Caldwell (McDonough), 12. Jason Magagna (Cumming)
DON BELL SIGNS PRO
1. Jonathan Davenport (Blairsville), 2. Jeremy Kalina (Griffin), 3. L.J. Cover (Douglasville), 4. Chris Dilbeck (Hampton), 5. Brian Meredith (Locust Grove), 6. Peter Horne (Macon), 7. Hunter Durham (Bluffton), 8. Bubba Harry (Griffin), Beau Slocumb (Julliette)
ATLANTA DENTAL TEAM BANDITS
1. Casey Roderick (Lawrenceville), 2. Kyle Fowler (Smyrna), 3. Max Gresham (Hampton), 4. Cole Miktuk (Rock Hill, SC), 5. Gerald White Jr. (Lakeland, Fl), 6. Nicholas Stroupe (Iron Station, NC) 7. Justin Swilling (Cohutta), 8. Chris Siebert (Hampton), 9. Greg Ippolito (Roswell), 10. Evan Swilling (Cohutta), 11. Andrew Brunnert (McDonough), 12. T.J. Shelnutt (Loganville), 13. Zach Stroupe (Iron Station, NC), 14. Peyton Durflinger (McDonough)
1. Chris Dilbeck (Hampton), 2. Dwight Pilgrim (Stockbridge), 3. Jim Gresham (Hampton), 4. Jim Egloff (Griffin), 5. Ed Clark (Peachtree City)
ESTES HEATING AND AIR SEMI-PRO
1. Casey Tate (Locust Grove), 2. Jess Mattox (Waycross), 3. Chris Cable (Griffin), 4. Mahlon Winstead (Williamson), 5. Travis Pennington (Winston), 6. Sean Davis (McDonough), 7. Tyler Flick (Jasper), 8. Brad Shelnutt (Stockbridge), 9. Keith Breasbois (Cumming), 10. Justin Stauffer (Gainsville), 11. Scott Hicks (Hampton), 12. Jay Cloud (Hampton)
TANGER OUTLET CENTER MASTERS
1. Dwight Pilgram (Stockbridge), 2. Randy Thornton (Oxford), 3. Skip Nichols (Albany), 4. Brian Weimer (Cummings), 5. Wade Brewer (Hampton), 6. David Wilkerson (Midland), 7. Jim Gresham (Hampton), 8. Thomas Clarke (Palm Beach), 9. Geoffrey Barnes (Griffin), 10. Keith Durham (Bluffton), 11. Ed Clark (Peachtree City)
1. Tina Johnson (Senoia), 2. Jody Pilkenton (Griffin), 3. Trey Maughan (Fayetteville), 4. Tinker Smith (Harrelson), 5. Rick Gandee (McDonough), 6. Kara Clarke (Palm Beach, Fla.)