Short-track racing has reached a climax on Atlanta Motor Speedway's "Thunder Ring," as the 2009 Thursday Thunder season comes to a close on Championship Night this Thursday, Aug. 6.

Championships will be awarded in eight classes of Legends, Bandolero and Thunder Roadster racing, bringing a close to the 10-week 2009 Thursday Thunder season. In addition, week 10 will feature an autograph session with each Thursday Thunder class and the return of a popular, longtime Thursday Thunder competitor after a prolonged illness.

Close Points Races to Conclude on Championship Night

Entering the final week of the 2009 Thursday Thunder season, the leaders in half of the series' classes are separated by just single-digits in the points standings. With so many tight races remaining, Championship Night should feature heated races, as many championships will be determined by the year's final race.

Thursday Thunder's tightest race is between Thunder Roadster racers Adam Gay and Chris Cable, where Gay leads Cable by just one marker. Each competitor has claimed two wins in 2009, but Gay's week nine win coupled with Cable's fifth-place finish allowed Gay to jump into first in the standings entering Championship Night.

In addition to the tight racing among Thunder Roadsters, the Masters division and J.J. Morley Outlaws also feature remarkable close races. Jeff Haynie currently leads Skip Nichols by just four points in the Masters class, while Garrett Smithley leads Luke Behnke by three points in the J.J. Morley Outlaws division.

Thursday Thunder's remaining single-digit points race is in the Semi-Pro class, where Jonathan Chandler currently leads Cody Haskins with only a nine-point advantage.

Juliette's Beau Slocumb Returns Following Cancer Battle

Beau Slocumb will make a heart-warming return to the "Thunder Ring" for Championship Night after battling cancer throughout the first half of 2009.

Slocumb, a resident of Juliette, will return to Atlanta Motor Speedway to compete in the Thunder Roadsters feature on Championship Night. Slocumb will drive the Thunder Roadster normally driven by Ed Clark.

Slocumb completed chemotherapy treatment in late June for Synovial Sarcoma at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The five-time Thursday Thunder winner returned to Georgia in early July and will now return to Atlanta Motor Speedway only one month later.

"I can't wait and I'm very excited to be able to get back into a race car, period," said Slocumb. "For me to be confident enough with my stamina and energy, it's amazing. I've been working out every day to get my energy and stamina back.

"Everyone I've talked to - friends and family friends who have dealt with it - can't believe how fast I've come back. To come back this quick and be able to race this year is very exciting."

Autograph Session with Every Thursday Thunder Class

In addition to the on-track excitement for Championship Night of the 2009 season, race fans will be invited to participate in an always popular autograph session featuring all of the Thursday Thunder competitors. The autograph session will take place before feature races on the "Thunder Ring."

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.