Atlanta Motor Speedway's 10th Anniversary season of Thursday Thunder opened with a record-high 113 competitors vying to make their mark early in the season in hopes of capturing a coveted championship title. Papa John's Pizza Opening Night featured a New Year's Eve theme with an entertaining backwards junker car race during intermission.

The night started out with heat races to determine the starting order for each division's feature event.  The Fuddrucker's Semi-Pro division had so many competitors entered that some did not qualify to race in the feature; only 23 of 30 cars advanced. Robert Ridley led the field to the green flag to start the feature, but during the early laps of the race, Matt Stover edged his way up to Ridley's rear bumper.  On lap five, Stover made the pass to take over the lead. Stover put serious distance between himself and the other competitors, jumping ahead of the field and eventually snaring the first victory of the night.

Next up was the Zaxby's Bandits with Mason Massy starting on the point. Massey was the class of the field in the early going on the event. Newcomer Evan Bell made strides to move to the front and on lap 11 and made a clean pass in turn one to become the race leader. Bell led the rest of the laps and in only his first Thursday Thunder start; the previous 2005 North Georgia quarter midget champion captured the checkered flag. 

Fred Miles was the pole sitter for the Curry's Collision Center Chargers event. Miles held onto the lead until lap seven when Alex Roberts jumped to the top spot. The rest of the field couldn't catch him and Roberts went on to claim his very first Thursday Thunder feature win.

AMS president and general manager, Ed Clark paced the field to start the Back Yard Burgers Roadsters feature. Running nose-to-tail, Dwight Pilgram and Brian Weimer passed Clark on lap eight, taking over the top two positions. Pilgram and Weimer put on a great show for the fans, leaning on each other lap after lap. A veteran Legends racer, Pilgram claimed his second Thursday Thunder Roadster win in only three starts.   

The Greencastle Dental Young Guns and Morley Company Outlaws divisions competed in a combined class tonight with Young Gun Dustyn Cunningham out front. The race was full of cautions, but on each restart, Cunningham was able to pull away and post his first Thursday Thunder win in his third year of competition. Diggie Bush was the highest finishing Outlaw with a sixth-place score.          

Brian Weimer started on the pole for the Tanger Outlet Center Masters feature. On lap three, North Carolina standout Clay Hair jumped out front. Five-time Georgia State Masters Champion, Dwight Pilgram charged his way to the back of Hair's bumper, unable to get by. On lap 17, Hair was involved in a caution, sending him to the rear of the field. Pilgram inherited the lead with a three-lap shootout to determine the winner. Pilgram held off a hard-charging Weimer to claim his second feature win of the evening with Weimer logging his second runner up finish of the night.

Pole sitter Casey Roderick began the Adrenalin Powersports Pro feature. Lap after lap, no one came close to challenging Roderick. He scored his 18th Thursday Thunder win in only 37 starts and his third Thursday Thunder Pro win in 10 starts.          

Atlanta Motor Speedway's Thursday Thunder will return on June 7 for the second of 10 weeks of Legends, Bandolero and Thunder Roadster racing. Next week will feature Gresham & Associates Disco night showcasing the always amusing kids' candy and coin scramble. 

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

Fuddrucker's Semi-Pro:

1. Matt Stover (Gastonia, N.C.), 2. Jeremy Mullinax (Jasper), 3. Robert Ridley (Ballground), 4. Zac Kittle (Watkinsville), 5. Justin Swilling (Cohutta), 6. Daniel Moore (Griffin), 7. T.J. Halsema (Roswell), 8. Chase Moody (Griffin), 9. Parker Hammons (Midland), 10. Jonathan Chandler (Fayetteville), 11. Kevan Combs (Stockdale, N.C.), 12. Tyler Ridley (Ballground), 13. Brad Shelnutt (Stockbridge), 14. Chris Seibert (Hampton), 15. Sam McAulay (Huntersville, N.C.), 16. Tina Johnson (Senoia), 17. Trey Poole (Pine Mountain), 18. Dylan Ames (Huntsville, Ala.), 19. J.R. Allen (Duluth), 20. R.S. Senter (Oakwood), 21. Charles Evans (Houston, TX), 22. Kyle Lowry (Covington), 23. Ross Mundy (Oxford).

Did not advance to feature: Mike Weed (Franklin), Rick Geddes (Newnan), Zach Weaver (Phenix City, Ala.), Eric Cushman (Stockbridge), L.J. Klemmons (Griffin), Dustin Davis (Swainsboro) and Austin Hill (Winston).

Zaxby's Bandits:

1. Evan Bell (Buford), 2. Kyle Benjamin (Simpsonville, S.C.), 3. Dillon Bassett (Winston-Salem, N.C.), 4. Kyle Plott (Marietta), 5. Mason Massey (Winston), 6. Davey Matthews (Douglasville), 7. Chase Elliott (Blairsville), 8. Critter Saile (Casselberry). 9. Grant Crane (Zebulon), 10. Evan Swilling (Cohutta), 11. Matt Dooley (Brooks), 12. J.D. Farlow (Grantville), 13. Justin Thomas (Woodstock), 14. Tanner Adkinson (Tallahassee, Fla.), 15. Charlie Gresham (Milner), 16. Brady Boswell (Watkinsville), 17. Alex Coffey (McDonough).

Curry's Collision Center Chargers:

1. Alex Roberts (Monroe), 2. Currie Pierce (Griffin), 3. Carl Chapman (Barnett), 4. Fred Miles (Alpharetta), 5. Jai Otwell (Bremen), 6. Melissa Wade (Griffin), 7. P.J. Alexander (McDonough), 8. Chris Bowie (Douglasville), 9. Leslie Cash (Brooks), 10. Stuart Wilkerson (Columbus), 11. Tyler Armstrong (Fayetteville).

Back Yard Burgers Roadsters:

1. Dwight Pilgram (McDonough), 2. Brian Weimer (Cumming), 3. Ed Clark (Peachtree City), 4. Johnny Rucker (McDonough), 5. Jim Gresham (Stockbridge), 6. Adam Akridge (Lilburn), 7. Paige Monette (Alpharetta), 8. Dale Akridge (Lilburn).

Greencastle Dental Young Guns:

1. Dustyn Cunningham (Madison), 2. Scott Hensley (Olive Branch, MS), 3. Blake Eden (Deland, Fla.), 4. Will Prance (Canton), 5. Jordan Coker (Powder Springs), 6. Judson Kittle (Watkinsville), 7. Joseph Pilato (Cropwell, Ala.), 8. Brandon Lynn (Charlotte, N.C.), 9. Taylor Bryant (Juliette), 10. Ronnie Bassett (Winston-Salem, N.C.), 11. Jake Armstrong (Fayetteville), 12. Jonathan Lybrand (Newnan), 13. Rawlin West (Locust Grove), 14. Dallan Wortham (Woodstock), 15. Shawn Wortham (Woodstock), 16. Jordan Rogers (Thomaston), 17. Ty Bennett (Loganville).

Morley Company Outlaws:

1. Diggie Bush (Seale, Ala.), 2. Darrell Banks (Griffin).                                

Tanger Outlet Center Masters:

1. Dwight Pilgram (McDonough), 2. Brian Weimer (Cumming.), 3. Robert Spence (Atlanta), 4. Jeff Haynie (Zebulon), 5. Skip Nichols (Albany), 6. Bill Henry (Kennesaw), 7. Jim Daniel (Thomaston), 8. Ed Clark (Peachtree City), 9. Clay Hair (Mt. Pleasant, N.C.), 10. Virgil Brown (Concord), 11. Wade Brewer (Hampton), 12. Steve Fessler (Tyrone), 13. Jimmy Wade (Griffin), 14. David Wilkerson (Columbus).

Adrenalin Powersports Pro:

1. Casey Roderick (Lawrenceville), 2. Taylor Hull (Winston), 3. Ryan Gandee (McDonough), 4. Max Gresham (Milner), 5. Doug Stevens (McDonough), 6. Cole Miktuk (Rock Hill, S.C.), 7. Paddy Rodenbeck (Odessa, Fla.), 8. Billy Fulson (Brooks), 9. Jordan Anderson (Columbia), 10. Chris Buescher (Prosper, Texas), 11. Andrew Smith (Pooler), 12. Ted Studley (Niceville, Fla.).