The sixth full season of drag racing on the 1/8-mile pit lane drag strip at Atlanta Motor Speedway got underway with a stellar car count, large crowd and competitive racing as the speedway’s Friday Night Drags & Show-N-Shine began in earnest.Competitors had been chomping at the bit awaiting the return of one of the country’s most popular and successful weekly drag racing series, and the crowd was treated to close racing throughout the night between some of the regular faces and a host of new racers.
In the high-powered Super Pro division, defending champion Mark White suffered mechanical problems prior to making a pass in elimination rounds. This left his Ford Mustang, refurbished in the off-season with engine upgrades and a new paint job, on the sideline as Matt Carden piloted his Chevrolet Camaro to victory.
Off-season banter between drivers often revolved around the ages old debate of Chevrolet vs. Ford. After one week of competition, the bowtie brigade holds the upper hand, taking seven first-place trophies on opening night, while the blue oval camp went winless. The battle between the two nameplates promises to continue deep into the summer as both the temperatures and the racing action is expected to heat up.
With several new faces making their way out for opening night, a few of them were able to bring home victories. At the same time, some of the top competition from last season got cozy with victory lane once again. A couple of defending champions, David Harbin in the Pro division and Danny Mason in the Truck Advanced division with the crowd favorite “Nuclear Banana,” both started out 2012 with a bang by winning their respective divisions. These opening night statements could help set the tone for the season against their competition.
In the special Cadillac Only division in conjunction with the Cadillac Craze promotion with the Georgia Lottery, Clark Stoddard piloted his 2004 Cadillac CTSV to victory. Doing so earned him 25 “Cadillac Riches” instant game tickets for the win, which could earn him up to $250,000 cash or a new Cadillac vehicle. Fans are encouraged to come out in their Cadillacs for the next three weeks of Friday Night Drags and race, or enter the special Cadillac Only division for Show-N-Shine judging.
Fans will also be treated to a special pizza discount through Papa John’s Pizza courtesy of a couple of racers on Friday. Both Matt Carden in the Super Pro division and Wayne Breedlove in the Domestic Advanced division piloted their red vehicles to victory lane. Doing so earned customers 50% of their online order at Papa John’s with the promo code 50RED through Sunday.
Below is a complete list of the April 27 winners:
Cadillac Only: Clark Stoddard (Carrollton) in a 2004 Cadillac CTSV
Super Pro: Matt Carden (McDonough) in a 1968 Chevrolet Camaro
Pro: David Harbin (McDonough) in a 1969 Chevrolet Nova
Street Outlaw: Travis Burney (Dallas) in a 1984 Chevrolet S10
Sportsman: Jason Kinard (Zebulon) in a 1997 Chevrolet S10
Truck Advanced: Danny Mason (Locust Grove) in a 1968 Chevrolet
Diesel Truck: Shane Ransom (Chickamauga) in a 2006 Dodge 2500
Truck: Buddy Patrick (Stockbridge) in a 1948 Willis Panel Wagon
Domestic Advanced: Wayne Breedlove (Stockbridge) in a 1973 Chevrolet Nova
Papa John’s Pizza Domestic: Darren Lewis (Covington) in a 1970 Chevrolet Nova
Tuner: Bobby Bramblett (Loganville) in a Volkswagen Rail Buggy
Sport Compact: Ruben Quiambao (Roswell) in a 2008 Nissan 350Z
ATV: Daniel Rice (Jonesboro) on a 2007 Yamaha Raptor 700
Super Bike: Toney Freeman (Stockbridge) on a 2002 Suzuki Hayabusa
Sport Bike: James Roberts (Jackson) on a 2000 Suzuki Hayabusa
Street Motorcycle: Chris Lewis (Jonesboro) on a 2005 Yamaha R6
Cruiser/Dirt Bike: Jacob Turner (Griffin) on a 1987 Honda CR 500
The Show-N-Shine competition featured everything from new imports to classic muscle cars and cars ranging as far back as the 1950s. Below is a complete list of the April 27 winners:
Showroom Current (1973 through current):
First Place: Justin Osterland, 1996 Ford Mustang Cobra
Second Place: John Harris, Chevrolet
Third Place: Eddie Morales, Pontiac GTO
Showroom Classic (1950 to 1972):
First Place: Jordan Swaney, 1966 Ford Mustang
Second Place: James Shirley, 1972 Buick Boattail
Third Place: Ricky Miller, 1965 Ford Mustang GT
First Place: Tyler McCord, 1999 Honda Civic
Second Place: Dane Owens, Scion xB
Third Place: Michael Hiett, 1998 Ford ZX2
Classic Custom (1950 to 1972):
First Place: Mike Miller, 1955 Chevrolet Bel-Air
Second Place: Bill Dudley, 1964 Mercury Comet
Third Place: Wayne Hansard, 1970 Chevrolet Camaro
Current Custom (1973 through current):
First Place: Steve Kochik, 2008 Ford Mustang
Second Place: Michael Weisel, 2006 Ford Roush Mustang
Third Place: Lefty Lawson, Lincoln Navigator
First Place: Adam Wallace, 1985 Chevrolet Silverado
Second Place: Larry Townse, Chevrolet C10
Third Place: Michael Bostwick, 2012 Dodge Ram 2500
First Place: Tommy Robertson, 2005 Harley Davidson 1200C
Second Place: Buddy Mendias, 1956 Willys Rat Rod
Third Place: Larry Cohran, 2007 Harley Davidson Softail
Bobby Richards, 1955 Chevrolet
Chelsea Lorenz, 1957 Cadillac
Atlanta Motor Speedway’s Friday Night Drags & Show-N-Shine resumes May 4 with week two of drag racing action and the Sportsman Clash. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. and nightly drag race eliminations start at 9:09 p.m.
Entry to drag race or for the Show-N-Shine is just $20 or competitors can purchase a combo ticket for $30. Spectator tickets at Friday Night Drags are just $8 for adults and children five and under are free. More information can be found at www.atlantamotorspeedway.com/drags.