Grassroots racing is at the heart of O'Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Competitors in all divisions bring their own vehicle each week to compete with nothing on their mind but driving away with a coveted O'Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags trophy.
Wins are on the mind of Bubba Hohenberger each week at drags but you won't find him piloting a vehicle down the pit lane drag strip. He'll watch from the burnout box hoping for a victory by a bike he helped build.
"There are a few bikes out at drags that I helped build including Jeremy St. Julien's bike," said Hohenberger. "I worked on his bike and got it out here to compete."
Hohenberger has watched St. Julien race the 2013 Kawasaki 2X14 to the top of the leaderboard in the Sport Bike division. It's not the excitement of speeding down the pit lane drag strip that gets the adrenaline going for Hohenberger. It's seeing his hard work propel a rider, like St. Julien, to a win.
"I build bikes but I don't race them and people ask me 'Why do you build bikes but don't race?', said Hohenberger. "It's because my thrill is actually standing behind the bikes and watching them go down the track."
It was a thrill that Hohenberger is certain would have killed him if he had not found Friday Night Drags at AMS back in 2009. The disorganization of street drag racing with a gaggle of spectators standing around coupled with the fear of law enforcement weighed heavy on Hohenberger.
"The way we were going, I was either going to go to jail or I was going to die because it was really hectic out there," said Hohenberger. "I'm real thankful that drags got me off the streets."
Hohenberger can be found each week at drags in the burnout box organizing and coordinating the competition for all of the motorcycle classes.
Path2College 529 College Savings Plan Power Wheel Race Remains Fan Favorite
Inclement weather was no match for the Path2College 529 College Savings Plan Powers wheels race in the grass ball field last week following the Show and Shine competition. More than a dozen young and aspiring racers competed in the ever popular race last Friday.
Kids will have another chance to show off their skills in the driver's seat of a power wheels on Aug. 8 and Sept. 19. The activity allows allow children ages 12 & under to race in their battery-powered car, truck or motorcycle.
The Power Wheel races will take place in the grass ball field area near the drag race starting line at 8:30 p.m. Kids wishing to participate should be in this area with their Power Wheel and ready to race following the Speedway Cruise. All participants will receive an award.
Path2College 529 College Savings Plan will be awarding one lucky Path2College 529 College Savings Plan Power Wheels Race contestant with a $100 savings account for participating. Sign up at the Path2College tent on the infield before the race for your chance to win!
Points at a premium down the stretch
Opportunities to earn points have gotten more important following two cancelled events and only four weeks remaining in the battle for the season championships.
The duo of Terry & Bonnie Queen of Jonesboro and their 1994 Dodge Dakota hold a commanding lead In the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman class with 17 points. The 1987 Ford Mustang of Richard Riggi of Jonesboro ranks second with 8 points on the season.
The 1979 Ford F100 piloted by Union City's James Ragsdale holds a seven point advantage in the truck class on the second place machine of Palmetto's Danny Hill, a 2011 Chevrolet Silverado.
Despite the wide gap in those two classes, no division has yet to be locked up. Four points or less separates the top two competitors in ten different classes.
The 2014 Friday Night Drags season runs Friday nights through August 15, with the Fall Stampede taking place September 12 and September 19. Practice runs begin at 6:15 p.m. and grandstand gates open at 6:30 p.m. Show-N-Shine car show judging begins at 6:15 p.m. with a Speedway Parade at 8:05 p.m. Drag racing eliminations begin after 9 p.m.
Drag Racing is open to any licensed driver. Competitors must wear a DOT-approved helmet and have operational seat belts in their vehicle. All racers ages 16 and 17 must have a fully-executed minor's release form on file at the speedway prior to competition. Forms are available at the Speedway or at www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.
Entry to drag race or for the Show-N-Shine is $20 or competitors can enter both for $30. Spectator admission is only $8 with children five and under free. Exterior parking is free while infield parking is $20.
Fans are reminded that Atlanta Motor Speedway offers a non-smoking grandstand. Smoking is allowed in designated areas behind the grandstands or the infield, but not in the grandstands, concourse or seating areas.
For more information on O'Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags, contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway Ticket Office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS-TIX or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com/drags.