Short-track racing returns to Atlanta Motor Speedway's "Thunder Ring" for the ninth of 10 weeks of Thursday Thunder on Classic Car Night on Thursday, July 30.
Race fans have just two more weeks to witness the grass roots, short-track racing action of Thursday Thunder at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Classic Car Night will include a classic car display and parade, in addition to featuring heated points battles among eight classes of Legends, Bandolero and Thunder Roadsters.
Points Battles Brewing with Championship Night Looming
With just two weeks remaining in the 2009 Thursday Thunder season, a majority of the divisional points races remain remarkable close. Of the eight Thursday Thunder classes, six are separated by 20 points or less, while three classes are separated by a nearly-negligible three points or less.
In the series' closest race, four-time Masters division champion Skip Nichols leads back-to-back defending Masters champion Jeff Haynie by just two points. After Nichols won four Masters titles in a six-year span between 2001 and 2006, Haynie has won the last two class championships. Now with just two weeks remaining in 2009, two of the series' most-experienced drivers are separated by a mere two points.
In addition to the tight racing among Masters, the J.J. Morley Outlaws and Semi-Pros are each separated by just three points. Among J.J. Morley Outlaws, first-year Outlaw Luke Behnke leads Garrett Smithley. Despite trailing, Smithley has appeared to have the stronger car approaching the season's end by claiming all of his 2009 Thursday Thunder wins in the last three weeks.
Tied in Semi-Pro points after week seven, Jonathan Chandler barely nudged ahead of Cody Haskins in points after besting his nearest competition by one position in week eight. With Kenzie Ruston taking the feature win, Chandler claimed second to take three more points than Haskins' third-place finish. With Chandler currently holding the tie-breaker advantage by virtue of wins (five wins to Haskins' three), Haskins will need to finish at least one position ahead of Chandler in consecutive weeks to take the 2009 title.
TT Competitors Carry Momentum From 2009 Bandolero Nationals
With the 2009 Bandolero Nationals held at Atlanta Motor Speedway this past weekend, many Thursday Thunder competitors stood out on their home track among national competition. After posting impressive performances, many competitors are hoping to carry momentum from the event through the final two weeks of the Thursday Thunder season.
Buford-native Evan Bell claimed the win in the Young Guns feature at the Bandolero Nationals. Currently first in the Thursday Thunder Young Guns' points standings, Bell will hope to use his Nationals experience to catapult him to his first Thursday Thunder championship.
In the Bandits feature at the Nationals, four of the top-five finishers were Thursday Thunder regulars, including Clayton and Kyle Weatherman who finished in first and second respectively. Clayton is fourth in the M&S Auto Bandits division at Atlanta Motor Speedway and trails his brother Kyle by 40 points approaching the season's end.
Classic Car Night - Cruise and Free Admission for Classic Owners
With replicas of classic cars from the 1930s and 1940s competing on the track, Legends racing is a natural host for a Classic Car Night and week nine of Thursday Thunder will highlight automotive history.
Atlanta Motor Speedway's ninth week of Thursday Thunder is Classic Car Night and classic car owners are encouraged to bring their cars for display at Thursday Thunder. Classic car owners will receive free admission for week nine of Thursday Thunder and can participate in a classic car cruise during intermission. The car cruise will take place on the "Thunder Ring," the Speedway's one-quarter mile frontstretch short track.
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.