Week eight of Atlanta Motor Speedway's Thursday Thunder saw several hot streaks continued by some drivers, while some new faces found their way to victory lane, with one winner qualifying for the Labor Day Legends Invitational. With the summer racing series nearing the end of its season, several points races tightened up and others saw positions change.
The Morley Company Outlaws feature started with Taylor Jorgensen as the leader. Points leader Parker Barnes charged from his eighth starting position, and slid past Jorgensen on lap nine to take the lead. Barnes led the rest of the way and logged his seventh victory in eight starts.
Chris Holcomb began the Thunder Roadsters feature out front. In the first turn, Ed Clark completed a three-wide pass on the bottom and shot out to the lead. On lap two, Skip Nichols nosed his way under Clark and grabbed the top spot. Nichols led the rest of the way to claim his seventh win in eight starts in the division.
The Papa John's Bandits feature began with Ashton Winger on the pole. On lap three, Zach Leonhardi used Austin Geer as a pick to take the lead. On the same lap, Chambers McGilberry and Reid Morris got together in turn two, and McGilberry spun, bringing out the caution. Going back to the most recent green flag lap, Winger was placed in the lead for the restart. On lap five, Abigail Marin spun alone in turn two, bringing out the second caution of the night. Winger brought the field down for the restart. On lap six, Geer spun, bringing out the third caution. Again, Winger restarted with the lead, but on lap nine Chandler Smith, Joshua Hicks and Zach Leonhardi spun in turn four, resulting in a caution. On the restart, Winger received heavy pressure from Devon Barnes, and on lap 10 Barnes grabbed the lead in turn three. On lap 11, Reid Morris spun on the backstretch, bringing out another caution. Barnes restarted on the point, and held off a hard-charging Joshua Hicks for the win, his second win of the season.
Buddy Brewer was the pole sitter for the Buzz Cars feature. On lap one, Scott Kasparek slid past in turn one to take the lead. On lap two, Josh Ballard and Gary Zajdek spun to bring out the caution, and Kasparek restarted with the lead. Following a caution on lap eight for debris, Kasparek took the lead on the restart and never looked back, capturing his third win of 2011.
The Semi-Pro feature got underway with Mark Younginer in the lead. Jordan Coker shot to the top spot in the first corner. The caution waved on lap two for debris in turn two. Coker restarted as the leader, until Tyler Armstrong slid by on lap four. William Plemons III took second on the pass, and began to pressure Armstrong. Plemons made his move for the lead on lap six, but he and Armstrong made contact racing for the lead on lap seven, spinning Plemons and giving Armstrong damage. With the spin, Behnke inherited the top spot and restarted as the leader. Behnke pulled away claiming his third win of the season, and his second in a row.
Grant Crane took the green flag to set off the Young Lions feature. Justin Thomas raced by Crane for the lead on lap two. Kason Plott then put a nose inside Thomas on lap six and wrestled the lead away. Mason Massey had a mechanical issue on lap 10, falling off the pace and bringing out a caution. Plott restarted with the lead on lap 10, but Evan Bell seized the point and went out front. Plott began to pressure Bell, and on lap 16 used the bump and run to regain the lead. Plott led the rest of the way and collected his first Thursday Thunder win of 2011. The win also earned him a spot in the Labor Day Legends Invitational.
The Pro feature kicked off with Kyle Plott out front. Donald McIntosh slid inside on lap 16 and stole the lead. McIntosh led the rest of the way, posting his first win of 2011.
Don Chandler paced the field to start the Masters feature. On lap two, Ed Clark took the lead exiting turn four. Clark held the lead until lap five, when Bill Plemons, Jr. dove into turn one and became the leader. Skip Nichols then performed the same move on Plemons for the lead on lap nine. Plemons shadowed Nichols for the remainder of the race, but to no avail as Nichols scored his third win of the season in the division, and his 39th career Thursday Thunder victory. Nichols remains the all-time Thursday Thunder wins leader. The win also returned Nichols to the top of a very tight points race.
Short-track racing returns to Atlanta Motor Speedway on Thursday, July 28 for week number nine of the ten-week Thursday Thunder summer short-track racing series. Next week features the return of the fan-favorite box car races for kids. 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.
Morley Company Outlaws:
1. Parker Barnes (Roswell), 2. Taylor Jorgensen (Stockbridge), 3. Riley Thornton (Peachtree City), 4. Jenson Jorgensen (Stockbridge), 5. Madeline Crane (Meansville), 6. John Curtiss (Columbus), 7. Tyler Mosley (McDonough), 8. Amber Fleeman (Dacula), 9. Mark Younginer (Stockbridge), 10. Christopher Clanton (Brooks)
1. Skip Nichols (Albany), 2. Ed Clark (Peachtree City), 3. James Meredith (Locust Grove), 4. Chris Holcomb (Alpharetta)
Papa John's Bandits:
1. Devon Barnes (Roswell), 2. Joshua Hicks (Senoia), 3. Ashton Winger (Fayetteville), 4. Zach Leonhardi (Smyrna), 5. Chandler Smith (Talking Rock), 6. Austin Geer (Johns Creek), 7. Abigail Marin (Peachtree City), 8. Reid Morris (Carrollton), 9. Connor Younginer (Stockbridge), 10. Chambers McGilberry (Slema, Ala.)
1. Scott Kasparek (Sharpsburg), 2. Michael Karp (Woodstock), 3. Gary Zajdek (Covington), 4. Buddy Brewer (Griffin), 5. Tim Brotzge (Griffin), 6. Josh Ballard (Hampton), 7. Timmy Bishop (Jonesboro)
1. Luke Behnke (Fayetteville), 2. William Plemons III (Locust Grove), 3. Tyler Armstrong (Senoia), 4. Jordan Coker (Powder Springs), 5. Casey Willingham (Ball Ground), 6. Mark Younginer (Stockbridge), 7. C.J. Pucko (Covington)
1. Kason Plott (Marietta), 2. Evan Bell (Buford), 3. Grant Crane (Zebulon), 4. Justin Thomas (Woodstock), 5. Joey Padgett (Tallahassee, Fla.), 6. Will Fagan (Cumming), 7. Anderson Bowen (Suwanee), 8. Alex Coffey (McDonough), 9. Woodrow Mullis (Hoboken), 10. Trevin Aswarnauth (Loganville), 11. John Tullis (Dacula), 12. Mason Massey (Douglasville), 13. Austin Garvey (McDonough)
1. Donald McIntosh (Dawsonville), 2. Kyle Plott (Marietta), 3. Sean Rayhall (Winston), 4. Jeff Haynie (Zebulon), 5. Taylor Hull (Winston), 6. Will Prance (Canton), 7. Jason Magagna (Dawsonville)
1. Skip Nichols (Albany), 2. Bill Plemons, Jr. (Forsyth), 3. Ed Clark (Peachtree City), 4. Terry Mathis (Cumming), 5. Tina Johnson (Senoia), 6. Mark Swan (Atlanta), 7. Don Chandler (Macon), 8. Mike Kennedy (Alpharetta), 9. Chris Holcomb (Alpharetta), 10. Phillip Young (Dallas)