Area racing fans will be offered a double-dose of grassroots racing on one of the toughest short tracks around this week with two consecutive nights of Thursday Thunder at the quarter-mile “Thunder Ring” at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

In addition to Thursday Thunder on its regularly scheduled night this week, the Speedway is also hosting a full program of Legends, Bandolero and Buzz Car racing on Wednesday, July 4th, capped off by the largest fireworks celebration on Atlanta’s south side with the Papa John’s Pizza Fireworks Extravaganza.

The fireworks will begin following the night’s final feature race. Wednesday’s schedule of events will be the same of each week’s at Thursday Thunder, with grandstand gates opening at 5:45 p.m. and feature races beginning at 7:30 p.m.

A hunger for victory fueled by incentives offered to drivers is likely to heat up the action on the track. Drivers participating in Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Big Money 100 on Tuesday Night and both nights of Thursday Thunder will be competing for some big prizes that will be awarded to the top-three cumulative points earners from all three nights of racing at the two tracks.

The first place driver will win an engine rebuild, second place will win a new set of tires and third place will earn a firesuit and helmet.

Fans cans also win on Wednesday and Thursday night as $20 gift cards to Papa John’s Pizza and O’Reilly Auto Parts will be given away as part of the grandstand activities. Plus, each division winner on Wednesday and Thursday will one of each gift card presented to them in Victory Lane.

July 5 Features Thirsty Thursday, Kids’ Candy & Coin Scramble and Thunder Roadsters

Atlanta Motor Speedway is offering the perfect way to beat the heat on Thursday night, July 5 with the return of Thirsty Thursday. On that night, concession stands will sell 12-ounce cans of Coca-Cola products, assorted candy, bags of chips and hot dogs for only $1. Beer will also be available for purchase for just $2.

With the addition of Thirsty Thursday, it’s even easier for area families to cool off and have an enjoyable time for a very affordable price. A family of four with two children under the age of five can attend Thursday Thunder, with each family member enjoying a hot dog and Coca-Cola for just $20!

Thursday night will also include the Kid’s Candy Scramble as the intermission activity. Young fans will be invited to the grass area on the quarter-mile track’s infield, where candy will be spread out and participants will try to grab as much candy as they can during the allotted time.

Also featured this Thursday is the return of the Thunder Roadster Division for the first of two times during the 2012 Thursday Thunder season, with the other scheduled date being July 19. Thunder Roadster cars are open-cockpit cars with a long wheel base offering fans a flashback to the look of open-wheel cars raced during the 1950s and 1960s.

The Thunder Roadsters will compete for National Championships during the INEX Asphalt Nationals Oct. 25-27 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Championship Hunt Heating Up

Racing on the track is expected to be intense as the season moves toward the crowning of division champions at season’s end. Following this week’s doubleheader of Thursday Thunder, just three nights remain on the schedule, raising the sense of urgency for drivers in various divisions to make a step toward a championship or injecting themselves into the mix as a contender.

Three divisions at Thursday Thunder have the leader with an advantage of six points or fewer. The Masters Division has been the most competitive to date this summer, with Skip Nichols holding a slim three-point lead over Ed Clark, who is the only Masters driver with more than one victory this summer.

In the Racing Radios Bandits Division, Chandler Smith and Ashton Winger are grappling for the lead. Both have led the way this summer with each collecting a pair of feature wins and Winger clinging to a six-point lead.

William Plemons III leads the Semi-Pro Division by a scant two points ahead of Myatt Snider, with Garrett Smithley in third, 17 points back.

Upcoming at Thursday Thunder

No matter which sports team is your favorite, July 19 is the time to show your pride. Atlanta Motor Speedway will host Sports Night during Thursday Thunder on that date with fans being highly encouraged to wear apparel supporting their favorite sports team.

On July 26, Championship night at Thursday Thunder will also include the Back To School Bash, with races featuring principals from schools throughout Henry County.

A family can take in an evening of racing action at Atlanta Motor Speedway for less than what it would cost to see a matinée movie. Tickets for the affordable, family-friendly racing series costs just $6 for adults, $2 for children ages six through 11 and is free for children ages five and younger. All grandstand seating is smoke-free in 2012. Gates open each night at 6:00 p.m. and feature races begin at 7:30 p.m. For more information, contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway Ticket Office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS-TIX or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com/thunder.