Atlanta Motor Speedway continues its summer drag racing series, O'Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags & Show-N-Shine this Friday fresh off of a record spectator attendance and near-all-time high in drag racing participants last week.
The pursuits of championships in 18 different drag racing divisions are expected to intensify this week at the halfway mark of the 2014 points season. Champions in all divisions will be crowned after the final points event of the season on August 15.
Multiple drivers picked up their first career final-round victory last Friday, which further stoked the embers of what will be another highly competitive week in the popular drag racing series.
Heading into action this week, first and second place are separated by just one point in four different divisions of competition. There is also a tie for first place in the Tuner Division.
In the Street Outlaw division, Stockbridge's Andrew Pride, who wheels a 1985 Chevrolet S10, leads Herbert Steverson of Newnan, driver of a 1976 Chevrolet Camaro by a point. The Covington husband and wife combo of Dwayne and Ramae Bethune lead the Diesel Truck standings. Dwayne Bethune's 2006 Dodge Ram holds a one-point edge ahead of Ramae's 2012 Dodge Ram.
Griffin's Kane Shavers and his 1970 Chevrolet Monte Carlo holds a one-point lead ahead of Riverdale's Michael Gregory and his 1985 Ford Mustang in Street Modified. Last week's final-round win by Jackson's Chris Morgan in a 1966 Ford Mustang gave him a one-point advantage ahead of his brother Kelly Morgan, a Jonesboro resident, and his 1968 Ford Mustang in the Harding Plumbing, Heating and Cooling Domestic Division.
Jason Zaletanski of McDonough, in a 2006 Volkswagen GTI Turbo, is locked in a tie for first in the Tuner Division with Hampton's Patrick Stansell and his 1989 Toyota Supra.
Tesla Moving Up A Division
A newcomer to O'Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags, Sharpsburg's Kirk Pennywitt has wasted little time finding success behind the wheel of his battery-powered 2013 Tesla Model S in the Factory Street Division. He has won three final-round elimination points races. As a result of the three-win rule at Drags, Pennywitt will move up to the Harding Plumbing, Heating and Cooling Domestic Division this week.
"It's just a car with nuts and bolts," Pennywitt said of his car. "It just comes down to the driver."
Pennywitt made a big impression in May's season-opener. He arrived at the track as a first-time competitor and won first place in Factory Street final that night. With the season nearing its midpoint, he remains hooked on Atlanta Motor Speedway's popular drag racing series.
"It's a growing sport, it's something that gives me a chance to spend time with loved ones and friends," Pennywitt said. "The people here have been great."
Path2College 529 College Savings Plan Power Wheel Race Next Week
Atlanta Motor Speedway will host the next installment of one of its most popular events for young fans next Friday, July 18 with the Path2College 529 College Savings Plan Kids Power Wheel Race at O'Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags. Additional events are scheduled for August 8 and Sept. 19.
The Power Wheel competitors allow children ages 12 & under to race in their battery-powered car, truck or motorcycle.
The Power Wheel races 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.
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.