Final Week Decides Championships At Atlanta Motor Speedway
Friday, August 6, 2004
With eight championships on the line, the finale of the Thursday Thunder series at Atlanta Motor Speedway series ended with a bang Thursday night, especially in the hotly contested Outlaws division.
Tina Johnson (Senoia) led the chase for the championship by a scant one point heading into the final night, and had built a hefty lead early in the race. But Fayetteville¿s Trey Maughan wasn¿t ready to give up without a fight, as he followed Ryan Jernigan (Hickory, N.C.) to the front to challenge her.
With four laps to go, Jernigan was mounting a challenge for the lead, and Maughan was right behind him. As Jernigan moved high to pass Johnson, the two made contact, sending Johnson spinning, her championship hopes dashed. Maughan scooted by as the other two cars connected and held on for the win and the championship.
In another tight race, Jason Magagna earned his fifth win of the season in the Young Guns division but was a heartbreaking nine points shy of the championship. Magagna led the points heading into week 9, when a one-dollar part on his car broke, leaving him to finish at the back of the pack and basically give up hope for his first title.
That¿s when Daniel Moore (Griffin) stepped up to retake the points lead he held for much of early season. Knowing that the championship was on the line Thursday, Moore ran a clean race to finish second and clinch his first Thursday Thunder championship. Fayetteville¿s Bre Sharp finished third, and Griffin¿s Chase Moody was fourth.
In the Don Bell Signs Pro division, Bubba Harry (Griffin) won his second race of the season, while Chris Dilbeck (Hampton) captured his first Thursday Thunder championship in seven years.
Harry and Dilbeck both started on the first row but had to battle throughout the race to preserve their positions. Harry finally retook the lead with three laps to go and stayed there until the end, leading Beau Slocumb (Juliette) and Dilbeck to the checkered flag.
It was a sweet end to the 2004 season for Dilbeck, who won his first championship after seven years racing in the Thursday Thunder series. Last year, Dilbeck saw the championship slip away as Doug Stevens earned his fourth title.
Dilbeck once again stole the show a few races later and won his third race of the season in the Roadsters division. From the pole position, he fought off Dwight Pilgram (Stockbridge) who finished second to him for the second week in a row. Last year¿s division champion Jim Gresham (Hampton) finished third.
In the same race, Roadster division champion Jim Egloff (Griffin) suffered mechanical failure on lap one and sent him to the garage for the evening. However, Egloff still managed to capture his first championship as a rookie at Thursday Thunder.
In the Atlanta Dental Team Bandits division, Casey Roderick earned his second straight division championship by chasing down Cole Miktuk (Rock Hill, SC). Miktuk finished second, and Kyle Fowler (Smyrna) finished third.
It was Roderick¿s second title in just two years of racing. He had eight wins this seasons for a total of 12 career victories at Thursday Thunder.
Estes Heating & Air Semi-Pro driver Chris Cable (Griffin) clinched his first outright championship ¿ in 1999, he was a co-champion in the Bandits division ¿ by winning Thursday¿s race. It was his fourth win of the season.
Jess Mattox (Waycross) and Mahlon Winstead finished second and third in the Semi-Pro division. Winstead was leading in the Chargers division before moving up to Semi-Pro and finishing strong.
In the Chargers division, it was down to the top two in the point standings as Todd ¿Catfish¿ Gulledge (Griffin) took the win over Chris Keir (Hampton). Gulledge started on the pole position and led wire-to-wire to clinch his first Thursday Thunder title. Mary Wilson (Norcross) followed closely behind them for her third top-five finish of the season.
Skip Nichols (Albany) won his second race of the season in the Tanger Outlet Center Masters division while picking up his third division championship. He started on the pole position and led to the end, holding off Brian Weimer (Cumming) and Randy Thornton (Oxford), who fell just short in their bids for the championship.
Thursday Thunder will return next summer for another exciting 10 weeks of racing action beginning June 2nd.
WEEK 10 RESULTS
1. Bubba Harry (Griffin), 2. Beau Slocumb (Juliette), 3. Chris Dilbeck (Hampton), REMAINING RESULTS PENDING
1. Chris Cable (Griffin), 2. Jess Mattox (Waycross), 3. Mahlon Winstead (Williamson), 4. Keith Breasbois (Cumming), 5. Scott Hicks (Hampton), 6. Travis Pennington (Winston), 7. Tyler Flick (Jasper), 8. Jess Evans (Alma), 9. Brad Shelnutt (Stockbridge), 10. Sean Davis (McDonough), 11. Ronnie Poland (Cumming), 12. Jay Cloud (Hampton), 13. Joe Zimbric (Stockbridge), 14. Ross Mundy (Conyers), 15. Casey Tate (Locust Grove)
1. Todd Gulledge (Griffin), 2. Chris Keir (Hampton), 3. Mary Wilson (Norcross), 4. Brian Snider (Jonesboro), 5. Sean Anderson (Stockbridge), 6. Jason Guskey (Atlanta), 7. Ryan West (Canton), 8. Phillip Bell (Senoia), 9. Justin Rickett (Stockbridge), 10. James Auld (Hastings, England), 11. Wade Brewer (Hampton), 12. Eddie Donaldson (Hampton)
1. Chris Dilbeck (Hampton), 2. Dwight Pilgrim (Stockbridge), 3. Jim Gresham (Hampton), 4. Mark Wallace (Griffin), 5. Jim Egloff (Griffin)
1. Skip Nichols (Albany), 2. Brian Weimer (Cumming), 3. Randy Thornton (Oxford), 4. Bruce Mundy (Covington), 5. Dwight Pilgrim (Stockbridge), 6. Wade Brewer (Hampton), 7. David Wilkerson (Midland), 8. Ed Clark (Peachtree City), 9. Jim Gresham (Hampton), 10. Mark Wallace (Griffin)
1. Casey Roderick (Lawrenceville), 2. Cole Miktuk (Rock Hill, SC), 3. Kyle Fowler (Smyrna), 4. Greg Ippolito (Smyrna), 5. Max Gresham (Hampton), 6. Evan Swilling (Cohutta), 7. Chris Siebert (Hampton), 8. T.J. Shelnutt (Loganville), 9. Justin Swilling (Cohutta)
1. Jason Magagna (Cumming), 2. Daniel Moore (Griffin), 3. Bre Sharp (Fayetteville), 4. Chase Moody (Griffin), 5. Ryan Rudy (Hampton), 6. John Allen (Duluth), 7. Kyle LaPier (Belvadeere, IL), 8. Stuart Wilkerson (Midland), 9. Taylor Hull (Winston), 10. Ryan Gandee (McDonough), 11. James Caldwell (McDonough)
1. Trey Maughan (Fayetteville), 2. Jody Pilkenton (Griffin), 3. Tina Johnson (Senoia), 4. Ryan Jernigan (Hickory, NC), 5. Darrell Banks (Sharpsburg), 6. Tinker Smith (Harrelson)