Atlanta Motor Speedway’s family-friendly Thursday Thunder racing series returns to the quarter-mile “Thunder Ring” for the 15th season, bringing affordable entertainment to local race fans.The 2012 campaign of Thursday Thunder will kick-off on June 7 and will run each Thursday through July 26. Included in this year’s nine-week schedule is a special Wednesday night program on July 4, which features the Papa John’s Pizza Fireworks Extravaganza.

Affordability

The summer racing series will once again combine intense short-track racing among the future stars of racing with the excitement of interactive games and promotions for fans. Seven different classes of Legends, Bandolero and Buzz Cars will tackle the infield short track at AMS.

New for 2012, AMS will host two Thirsty Thursday nights on June 14 and July 12 providing fans a dollar concession menu. 12 ounce cans of Coca-Cola products, assorted candy, bags of chips and hot dogs will all be available for customers for only $1. Cans of beer will also be available for purchase for just $2.

Competition

Fan perks are not the only changes to the Thursday Thunder program this year. Drivers will also feel the impact of a new double-file restart with a new rule change known as the “choose your lane” rule. Prior to the green flag on restarts, a “choose” cone will be placed on the frontstretch, and drivers will be required to either go high or low. While the inside line has historically been the fastest way around the “Thunder Ring,” this method of double file restarts will give guys further back in the pack the chance to gain track position and enhance the racing when the green flag drops.

Pro Stock Hobby Cars will also invade AMS for two weeks in 2012. Full-bodied V8 racing machines will tackle the quarter-mile on June 14 and July 12, the same nights as Thirsty Thursdays. Combining new and exciting competition with a fantastic concession discount gives fans even more reason to make it to Thursday Thunder.

Entertainment

The annual fan favorite Papa John’s Pizza Fireworks Extravaganza will return in 2012 with a special night of racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Thursday Thunder will run on Wednesday, July 4 where fireworks will be part of the show. The Thursday Thunder drivers will then be back to compete on the quarter-mile the following evening on Thursday, July 5.

Henry County school principals will vie for the title of “Fastest Principal in Henry County” on July 26 as Thursday Thunder hosts the “Back 2 School Bash” at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Principals from various Henry County schools will do battle in equally-prepared vehicles on the quarter-mile. Students from each school are encouraged to come out and cheer on their principal and show some school pride.

Included with the racing and entertainment are concourse activities and weekly driver autograph sessions. Weekly entertainment includes the kids’ candy and coin scramble, Pro Stock Hobby Car racing, School Principal Races and the annual Faster Pastor race between local church leaders.

A Proving Ground for Future Racers

Thursday Thunder racing on Atlanta Motor Speedway’s “Thunder Ring” has proven to be a training ground for future NASCAR stars, a fact that speaks to the series’ quality of racing. For racers, Thursday Thunder serves as the equivalent of high school athletics. For many drivers, Legends racing at AMS serves as the final step before moving to a professional level of racing in some capacity.

Former Thunder champions Joey Logano, David Ragan and Reed Sorenson are current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stars. Other current and former NASCAR drivers to race on Atlanta’s “Thunder Ring” include Bill Elliott, John Wes Townley, Ty and Austin Dillon, Chrissy and Steve Wallace, Max Gresham and Joey Clanton, among others.

2012 Thursday Thunder Schedule

Thursday, June 7 Opening Night
Thursday, June 14 Pro Stock Hobby Cars, Thirsty Thursday
Thursday, June 21 Double Features, Scout Night at the Races
Thursday, June 28 Faster Pastor Races
Wednesday, July 4 Papa John’s Pizza Fireworks Extravaganza
Thursday, July 5 Kids’ Candy and Coin Scramble, Georgia Racing Hall of Fame
Thursday, July 12 Pro Stock Hobby Cars, Thirsty Thursday
Thursday, July 19 Favorite Sports Team Uniform Night, Sports Night
Thursday, July 26 Championship Night, Back 2 School Bash, Principal Races, Henry County Schools Night

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. For more information, contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway Ticket Office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS-TIX or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.

For more information on Buzz Cars racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway, contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway Events Department at (770) 946-3954.

To test drive your own Legends machine, or for more information about Legends racing, call Legends of Georgia director Dwight Pilgram at (770) 707-2977 or visit www.legendsofga.com.