Atlanta Motor Speedway's Thursday Thunder is hitting late-season form as the weekly short-track racing series enters its seventh of 10 weeks of grass-roots racing on the "Thunder Ring."
Week Seven is BumbleBee Foods Night and will and will feature eight classes of Legends, Bandolero and Thunder Roadster racing. BumbleBee Foods Night will continue to highlight the fantastic finishes and tight-points racing typical of Thursday Thunder, in addition to including the annual Faster Pastor Race for intermission entertainment.
Faster Pastor Race
The annual Faster Pastor Race showcases local church leaders competing for the title of fastest church leader and the Faster Pastor Cup trophy.
The 2009 edition of the Faster Pastor race has an added twist, as the entrants will compete in an one-lap shootout in COTs - not the current Cars of Tomorrow used by NASCAR, but literally on cots - with the first-place winner earning the Faster Pastor nameplate. Entrants and their teams will lay one member on the COT, while the remaining team members carry their "Driver" around the "Thunder Ring."
The 2009 Faster Pastor entrants include Vonnie Battle of Divine Faith Ministries, Barry Saunders of Bethany Baptist Church and defending-champion Keith Strickland of Solid Stone Ministries, among others.
To honor the occasion, church members are asked to dress in their church colors to support their local Faster Pastor entrant. In addition, all fans named Matthew, Mark, Luke or John will receive free admission to week seven's Thursday Thunder Faster Pastor event with a valid picture I.D.
"Helping in His Name" Canned-Food Drive
In conjunction with the Faster Pastor Race, Atlanta Motor Speedway will be conducting a canned-food drive to benefit "Helping in His Name Food Pantry." Race fans and church members are encouraged to bring canned goods to aid the supplies of "Helping in His Name Food Pantry."
In addition to assisting a local charitable organization, food donations will set the line-up for the Faster Pastor race. Upon entering the concourse, church members and fans should place their canned goods in the bin representing their respective church, or one of their choosing. The church's bin with the most canned goods will win the pole position for the Faster Pastor race. Canned goods will be tallied for starting line-up position following Thursday Thunder heat races.
Semi Pro Points
While often overlooked by the Pros, Thursday Thunder's Semi-Pro competitors are currently putting on the most compelling points race in the series.
Cody Haskins currently sits first in the Semi-Pro points standings, but Jonathan Chandler trails Haskins by just three points (573 points to 570). Chandler has four wins in six races, but has failed to finish in the top-five in his other starts. Meanwhile, Haskins has just two wins, but his consistent style - he has finished in the top-five in each race - has allowed him to take the class points lead.
In addition to the fight among the class leaders, Zach Weaver sits just 15-points behind first and two other competitors - Mike Weed (-37) and Jake Armstrong (-47) - sit within 50 points of the lead.
Featuring a full slate of short-track racing, Thursday Thunder is an affordably-priced activity that offers something for spectators of all ages. Tickets are just $5 for adults and $1 for children 6-11 (ages 5 and under are free) for each evening of family fun and grass-roots racing. Gates open at 6 p.m., heat races start at 6:15 p.m. and feature races start at approximately 7:50 p.m. For more information about Thursday Thunder, contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211 or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.