Whether he's driving straight or turning left, Eddie Chapman knows plenty about what it takes to successfully maneuver around Atlanta Motor Speedway's weekly racing divisions.
Chapman was among the first competitors when the Speedway's Thursday Thunder Legends Racing series began on the quarter-mile "Thunder Ring" oval in 1998, competing in the Pro and Semi-Pro Divisions.
In recent years, the McDonough racer has carved out a name for himself on the drag racing front through the track's summer drag racing series, Friday Night Drags and MCR Safety Show-N-Shine. Chapman finished second in the Pro Division points standings in 2009 and fifth in 2010.
"With drag racing, the reason it's so much fun is that so many people come down and watch you," Chapman said.
He is coming off his second win of the season in last Friday's series points opener, picking up the victory in his 1969 Chevrolet Nova.
The Pro Division at Friday Night Drags is one of many classes of cars featuring numerous drivers with plenty of experience winning on the Speedway's pit lane drag strip, which fosters intense competition on the track. Both Chapman and Fayetteville's David Sisk have won twice already this season with Williamson-native Austin Ridgeway also collecting a win, setting the stage for what should be a fast and exciting summer within the Pro Division.
We've got some good competition. So far we've been fortunate, but there's a lot more cars out there to compete with," Chapman said. "They'll be coming after us."
Kids Bike, Trike and Power Wheel Race Friday Night
Some of the youngest fans of Friday Night Drags and MCR Safety Show-N-Shine will have the opportunity to race on the track during this week's Kids Bike, Trike and Power Wheel Race. Kids wishing to participate should bring the vehicle they would like to race to the drag racing starting line following the end of drag racing practice.
The race will be on pit road around 8:30 p.m. following the MCR Safety Show-N-Shine Speedway Cruise. All participants are advised to wear a helmet in order to race.
MCR Safety Show-N-Shine Special Class: Motorcycles
Each week, there is a featured class during MCR Safety Show-N-Shine, with special awards given to a select group of vehicles. The motorcycles are this week's special Show-N-Shine class with cruisers, dirt bikes and motorcycles eligible for special honors.
For two-wheel enthusiasts not wishing to enter the competition, motorcycles may park for free on the infield during Friday Night Drags and MCR Safety Show-N-Shine.
Parity Strong as Early Winning Streaks are Halted
The parity within racing divisions at Friday Night Drags continues to be shown by a varying list of winners each week. In last week's points opener, a pair of drivers saw recent hot streaks come to an end.
With his win in the ATV Modified Division, Locust Grove's Rodney Tolbert became the first driver other than David Armstrong of McDonough to claim a final round victory in the division.
In Sport Compact, Bobby Bramblett's Volkswagen Rail Car Dune Buggy was denied a third victory of the season when Nhan Ho of Stockbridge ousted him in a Nissan 350z.
The 2011 Friday Night Drags season will run on Friday nights through Aug. 19. Practice drag runs begin at 6:15 p.m. and grandstand gates open at 6:30 p.m. MCR Safety Show-N-Shine car show judging begins at 6:30 p.m. with the drag eliminations starting at 9:19 p.m.
All racers ages 16 and 17 must have a fully-executed minor's release form on file at the speedway prior to competition and forms are available at the Speedway or at www.atlantamotorspeedway.com. Competitors must wear a DOT-approved helmet and have operational seat belts in their vehicle and pass a pre-race safety inspection.
Entry to drag race or for the MCR Safety Show-N-Shine is $20 or competitors can enter both for $30. Spectator admission is only $8 and exterior parking is free, while infield parking is $20.