Atlanta Motor Speedway will crown its season points champions this week at O'Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags & Show-N-Shine as the wildly popular drag racing series holds its final points event of the season.
Competition for division titles has been thrust wide open with series officials making this week's event a double points night for all drag racing divisions. Because of this, more drivers will have an opportunity to stage a comeback in the final points event of the season. With more at stake than usual, every drag racing round during eliminations will carry more weight than usual.
Racers will be competing not only for a championship trophy, but also the right to be recognized on the pre-race stage prior to the Aug. 31 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500.
On double points night, the most amount of points that a driver can earn is eight with drivers making a run during the eliminations being awarded two points. If two drivers race head-to-head in the final round, the race winner would gain an advantage of two points.
A season championship has only been clinched in just four divisions at O'Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags with two drivers having repeated as division winners. McDonough's David Harbin wrapped up the title in the Pro Division in a 1969 Chevrolet Nova to repeat as a champion at the pit lane drag strip. Bonnie Queen from Jonesboro has secured the title driving a 1994 Dodge Dakota in the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Division. Also repeating as a division champion is Will Coots of Stockbridge in the Truck Advanced division driving a 1985 Chevrolet C-10. Jackson's Jerry Barnett has clinched the championship in Sport Compact in a 2008 Nissan 350z.
In all other drag racing divisions, however, the pursuit of a division title is up for grabs. In the Jailhouse Brewing Company Super Pro Division, Locust Grove's Arnie Cobb in a 1974 Chevrolet Nova leads Stockbridge driver Tony Byrd, who drives a 1986 Ford Thunderbird. Hampton's Jason Kinard, driver of a 1997 Chevrolet S-10, leads the Domestic Advanced standings three points ahead of Stephen DeFayette of Sharpsburg, who pilots a 1988 Mazda RX7.
The 1974 Chevrolet Nova, driven by Gary Thomas of McDonough, will carry a six-point advantage into championship night in the Street Outlaw division. In second place is Stockbridge's Andrew Pride in a 1985 Chevrolet S-10. If Pride were to win the championship, it would cap a comeback rally as Pride blew the engine in his truck last month.
In Street Modified, Kane Shavers of Griffin is clinging to four-point lead in a 1970 Chevrolet Monte Carlo in front of the 1985 Ford Mustang driven by Michael Gregory from Riverdale.
Zachary Stripling of Stockbridge in a 2014 Ford Mustang leads Factory Street by one point in front of Kenneth Graves of Covington in a 2005 Ford Mustang GT.
The chase for a championship in the Harding Plumbing Heating & Cooling Domestic Division features Kelly Morgan of Jonesboro in a 1968 Ford Mustang four points in front of McDonough's Andrew Morgan in a 1983 Ford Mustang. In Diesel Truck, Ramae Bethune of Covington leads by a point in a 2012 Dodge Ram, one point ahead of her husband, Dwayne, in a 2006 Dodge Ram, who is the defending division champion. Union City's James Ragsdale, behind the wheel of a 1979 Ford F-100, leads Hampton's Shelton Maynard, who drives a 1972 Chevrolet C-10, by four points in the Truck Division.
Hampton's Patrick Stansell enters this week with his 1989 Toyota Supra leading the Tuner Division. Jason Zaletanski of McDonough in a 2006 Volkswagen GTI Turbo is in second place, five points out of first.
In the Super Bike Division, Stockbridge's Toney Freeman, looking to repeat as champion, and his 2006 Suzuki Hayabusa lead McDonough's Michael Gamble, on a 2005 Suzuki Hayabusa, by a point. Fairburn's Jeremy St. Julien is the leader of the Sport Bike Division on a 2013 Kawasaki 2x14 by three points in front of Josh Gruhler of Stockbridge on a Suzuki GSXR 1000.
The 2002 Harley Davidson driven by Robert Thomas of Griffin leads Jason Lowery of Williamson, on a 2004 Honda CB900F by two points in the Motorcycle division. In Cruiser/Dirt Bike, Mike Webb from Stockbridge has a six-point lead on a 1988 Harley Davidson Softtail. Jacob Turner of Griffin on a 1987 Honda CR500 is in second place. There's a tie for the lead in the ATV division between Bradley Smith and Omar Ruiz. Smith, of Griffin, drives a 1987 Yamaha Banshee. Ruiz, from Cumming competes on a 2001 Banshee.
Path2College 529 Savings Plan Power Wheels Races This Friday
The kids will take center stage on Friday as the Path2College 529 College Savings Plan presents the Power Wheel Races. The Power Wheel races will 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.
Racing Resumes Sept. 12 and Sept. 19 With Two Fall Stampede Events
O'Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags & Show-N-Shine will conclude its 2014 season with two non-points Fall Stampede events on Sept. 12 and Sept. 19. Both events will be the same format of every Drags event with each division winner being awarded a trophy. The final Path2College 529 College Savings Plan Power Wheel race of the year is scheduled for Sept. 19.
Practice runs at O'Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags 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.