Atlanta Motor Speedway's ninth week of Thursday Thunder featured thrilling side-by-side racing on the quarter-mile "Thunder Ring," setting the stage for the final week of the 2009 edition of Thursday Thunder on Aug. 6, where champions will be crowned in each division.
Jake Armstrong started from the pole in the Semi-Pro feature before relinquishing the lead to Kenzie Ruston on the third lap, who took the lead with an inside pass in turn 2. Ruston built what appeared to be a comfortable cushion, but had to hold off a hard-charging Jonathan Chandler for her second win in a row during the final laps as a result of the race leaders being bunched up after encountering lapped traffic.
Fresh off his win in the Bandolero Nationals, Clayton Weatherman led the M&S Auto Bandits to the start and held a strong advantage before a caution with three laps to go bunched the field together. Weatherman denied a late charge at the lead on the inside by Alex Coffey, who finished third. Kyle Weatherman came in second.
Trey Maughan guided the combined classes of Young Gun and J.J. Morley Outlaws to the green flag, but Evan Bell, who was also crowned a national champion at last weekend's Bandolero Nationals, made a pass for the lead on the eighth lap and put some distance between himself and the rest of the field to take the victory. Garrett Smithley was the top finishing Outlaw driver.
In the Young Lions Feature, Justin Thomas led the way prior to an early caution. Following the restart, both Mason Massey and Donald McIntosh went back and forth in a battle for the lead before McIntosh pulled away before the race's halfway point and coasted to the win ahead of Chad Finchum.
At the start of the Thunder Roadsters feature, Brian Weimer led the contenders to the green flag, but Adam Gay made his way into the lead on the eighth lap and handled the field with ease from there, collecting his second victory of the season.
Bayley Currie led the field to the green flag to begin the Pro feature before being overtaken by Zach Kittle on the fifth lap. Following a multi-car battle for the lead and a caution, Billy Fulson made his way into the lead with four laps remaining and powered to the win, ahead of Kittle and Currie Pierce.
Ed Clark held the top spot to start the Masters feature race before Jeff Haynie made an inside pass just before the halfway point of the 20-lap race to take the lead. Haynie built an insurmountable cushion over the final 10 laps to go away with the win, his sixth of the season.
Joshua Hicks led to start the Bandolero Promoter's Choice race leading the entire way to earn the win.
Phillip Young started the Legends Promoter's Choice Race from the pole position, leading flag-to-flag to capture with the win.
Atlanta Motor Speedway's Thursday Thunder will return on Aug. 6 for Championship Night of the 2009 season. Week 10 will feature an autograph session with each Thursday Thunder class. For more information on Thursday Thunder or Atlanta Motor Speedway, visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.
To test drive your own Legends car, or for more information about Legends racing, call Legends of Georgia director Peter Horne III at (770) 707-2977 or visit www.legendsofga.com.
Week Nine Thursday Thunder Results:
1. Jeff Haynie (Zebulon), 2. Ed Clark (Peachtree City), 3. Skip Nichols (Albany), 4. Rick Geddes (Newnan), 5. Larry Friddle (Greenville, S.C.), 6. Brad Shelnutt (Locust Grove), 7. Phillip Young, 8. Jerry Mendenhall (Peachtree City), 9. Don Chandler (Macon).
1. Kenzie Ruston (El Reno, Okla.), 2. Jonathan Chandler (Fayetteville), 3. Jake Armstrong (Fayetteville), 4. Cody Haskins (Marietta), 5. Mike Weed (Franklin), 6. Zach Weaver (Phenix City, Ala.), 7. Chris Bowie (Douglasville), 8. Brett Coon (Elma, N.Y.), 9. Bill Stevenson (Locust Grove), 10. Mark Swan (Atlanta), 11. Mark Younginer (Stockbridge), 12. Melina Rolo (Cumming).
M&S Auto Bandits:
1. Clayton Weatherman (Wentzville, Mo.), 2. Kyle Weatherman (Wentzville, Mo.), 3. Alex Coffey (McDonough), 4. John Holleman (Winston Salem, N.C.), 5. Dalton Hill (Winston), 6. Anderson Bowen, (Suwannee), 7. Joshua Hicks (Senoia), 8. Madeline Crane (Meansville), 9. Jenson Jorgensen (Stockbridge),10. Rusty Sutton (Dawsonville).
1. Donald McIntosh (Dawsonville), 2. Chad Finchum (Knoxville, Tenn.), 3. Mason Massey (Winston), 4. Davey Matthews (Douglasville), 5. Brady Boswell (Watkinsville), 6. AJ Carlisi (Dalton), 7. Austin Garvey (McDonough), 8. Jake Knight (Georgetown, MS), 9. Grayson York (Rocky Face), 10. Cameron Hadley (Concord), 11. Justin Thomas (Woodstock), 12. Charlie Gresham (Milner), 13. Judson Kittle (Watkinsville), 14. Joey Herques (Hourma, La.).
1. Adam Gay (Dublin), 2. Brian Weimer (Cumming), 3. Jeremy Kalina (Williamson), 4. Skip Nichols (Albany), 5. Chris Cable (Griffin), 6. Ed Clark (Peachtree City).
1. Evan Bell (Buford), 2. Joey Padgett (Tallahassee, Fla.) 3. Taylor Jorgensen (Stockbridge).
J.J. Morley Outlaws:
1. Garrett Smithley (Peachtree City), 2. Trey Maughan (Johnson City, Tenn.), 3. Luke Benhke (Fayetteville).
1. Billy Fulson (Fayetteville), 2. Zach Kittle (Watkinsville), 3. Currie Pierce (Griffin), 4. Bayley Currey (Driftwood, Texas), 5. Austin Hill (Winston), 6. Jimmie Henderson (Conyers), 7. Ryan Gandee (McDonough), 8. Kyle Kitchens (Hampton), 9. Tina Johnson (Senoia)
Bandolero Promoter's Choice:
1. Joshua Hicks (Senoia), 2. Jenson Jorgensen (Stockbridge), 3. Rusty Sutton (Dawsonville).
Legends Promoter's Choice:
1. Phillip Young, 2. Don Chandler (Macon), 3. Cameron Hadley (Concord), Jerry Mendenhall (Peachtree City).