Racers took to Atlanta Motor Speedway's quarter-mile "Thunder Ring" for the last off-season INEX-sanctioned race on May 11 to prepare for the 14th season of Thursday Thunder, launching on June 2.
The race also served as a qualifier for the Labor Day Invitational race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sept. 2, 2011. Every feature winner from the May 11 race will earn an entry into Legends of Georgia's version of an All-Star race.
For the first time in Atlanta Motor Speedway short-track racing history, one competitor competed in three different divisions in one night. Taylor Hull, a seasoned veteran of AMS' Thunder Ring who has raced in every division (Bandoleros, Legends and Thunder Roadsters), tested his skill in the new Buzz car division while also competing in the Pro and Roadster features. Hull finished first in the Buzz car and finished second in both the Pro and Roadster features.
Justin Thomas started the Young Lions feature out front. Thomas had a considerable lead, however a mid-race caution tightened the field. With two laps to go, Mason Massey got a nose on the inside of Thomas to make the pass for the lead. Thomas battled back on the last turn, but Massey took the checkered flag with only a few feet ahead of Thomas to claim the win.
The Bandits feature began with Chandler Smith on the pole. On lap three, Joshua Hicks took over the top spot. Despite several restarts after cautions, Hicks led every remaining lap to seize the victory.
Ed Clark paced the field to the green to launch the Masters feature. Coming to the second lap, Terry Mathis edged his way to the front in the fourth turn. Mathis was untouchable, leading the remaining laps to post the win.
The Pro feature got underway with Taylor Hull as the leader. One lap after hitting the wall on lap 17, Sean Rayhall made a pass for the top spot. Rayhall held off Hull to capture the victory.
Riley Thornton took the green flag to open the Outlaws feature. Parker Barnes moved his way to the front on the first lap and never looked back. Barnes took his No. 53 to victory lane to collect his trophy.
The Semi-Pro feature kicked off with Jake Armstrong in the lead. At the completion of lap one, William Plemons was the point man. On lap 16, second-place Luke Behnke turned Plemons, putting both cars to the back for the restart with Jake Armstrong inheriting the lead and grabbing the eventual win.
James Meredith was the pole sitter for the Roadsters feature, but by the completion of lap one, Ed Clark shot to the front. Clark led every lap and celebrated in victory lane.
The newest short track racing division, Buzz Cars, had its feature start with Taylor Hull on the point. Hull scored the win in his first start in the Buzz car division at AMS.
Short-track racing returns to Atlanta Motor Speedway on Thursday, June 2 for the first date of the 2011 Thursday Thunder summer short-track racing series. 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.
1. Mason Massey (Douglasville), 2. Justin Thomas (Woodstock), 3. Anderson Bowen (Suwanee), 4. Joey Padgett (Tallahassee, Fla.), 5. Will Fagan (Cumming), 6. Alex Coffey (McDonough), 7. Austin Garvey (McDonough), 8. Evan Bell (Buford).
1. Joshua Hicks (Senoia), 2. Devon Barnes (Roswell), 3. Chandler Smith (Talking Rock), 4. Ashton Winger (Fayetteville), 5. Chase Evans (Auburn), 6. Austin Geer (Johns Creek), 7. Abigail Marin (Peachtree City), 8. Zach Leonhardi (Smyrna), 9. Connor Younginer (Stockbridge).
1. Terry Mathis (Cumming), 2. Bill Plemons, Jr. (Locust Grove), 3. Ed Clark (Peachtree City), 4. Tina Johnson (Senoia), 5. Mark Wallace (Griffin), 6. Mike Kennedy (Alpharetta).
1. Sean Rayhall (Winston), 2. Taylor Hull (Winston), 3. Donald McIntosh (Dawsonville), 4. Billy Fulson (Winston), 5. Cody Haskins (Marietta).
1. Parker Barnes (Alpharetta), 2. Madeline Crane (Meansville), 3. Riley Thornton (Peachtree City), 4. Taylor Jorgensen (Stockbridge), 5. John Curtiss (Columbus), 6. Christopher Clanton (Brooks), 7. Christian Thom (Peachtree City), 8. Jenson Jorgensen (Stockbridge), 9. Tyler Mosley (McDonough), 10. Alton Clark (Newnan).
1. Jake Armstrong (Senoia), 2. Luke Behnke (Fayetteville), 3. Mark Younginer (Stockbridge), 4. C.J. Pucko (McDonough), 5. William Plemons III (Forsyth), 6. Hub Talbot (Smyrna).
1. Ed Clark (Peachtree City), 2. Taylor Hull (Winston), 3. James Meredith (Locust Grove).