The quarter-mile "Thunder Ring" roared to life as the 18th season of Thursday Thunder opened with a bang. Drivers jostled for position in the point standings as the eight week series concludes July 24.

Bill Plemons Jr. of Locust Grove dominated the Masters/Pro feature race as he earned the checkered flag from the pole.

"We came down here with a mission tonight," said Plemons.
"We've just been giving away races, messing up, and I just decided I've got to get after it now and try something. At my age I ain't got many races left."

Plemons held off Tina Johnson of Senoia, who finished second and Mark Swan of Dunwoody, who finished third, for the win. A caution early in the race slowed the pace as the field ambled behind the leader. Plemons capitalized on the pace as he captured the momentum and controlled the race.

In the Allred Family Dentistry Semi-Pro/Young Lions feature, Douglasville's William Martin led from flag to flag for the victory. Martin was the control car on the restart for a pair of green-white-checker attempts and held off the hard charing field as he drove to victory lane.

"It was crazy with all the cautions," said Martin, "I'd stretch out the lead a little bit and then all the cautions would come out and we'd get bunched up and I was getting all nervous and everything. I'm just glad that we won it. I hope this is the first of many this season."

Martin was in the middle as it went three wide exiting turn two with Taylor Jorgensen of Stockbridge and Jeff Holden of Gainesville on the final lap, but he was able to pull away for the win.

Joshua Hicks of Senoia and Weaverville, North Carolina's Ashton Higgins battled side by side and exchanged the lead over the first seven laps of the Xtreme Fun on Wheels Outlaws Division feature race before Higgins pulled away on lap nine. Higgins built a sizeable lead over the next nine laps before a caution on lap 18 bunched up the field and pulled Hicks back within striking distance on the ensuing restart.

A wiggle by Higgins as he came out of turn four on the final lap opened the door for Hicks, who slipped to the inside and beat Higgins to the line for the checkered flag. It was Hicks' 9th career Thursday Thunder victory and his first trip to victory lane since a Week 4 win in 2013.

A pair of first time winners in the first two feature races of the night saw DJ Canipe of Fallston, NC in the Bandits division and Noah Dominy in the beginnner bandolero division in victory lane.

Canipe dominated the Bandits feature race as he earned the win from the pole. Clay Thompson of Powersville finished second as he battled Will Rubusto of Fort Mill, SC over the final five laps for the runner-up spot.

A spirited battle in the beginner bandolero feature race saw a green-white-checker finish with Noah Dominy of Stathum holding off the field for the win over the final two laps. Dominy started on the outside pole and was able to get by Samuel Oliver of The Rock on lap two. Oliver scraped back even on lap four as the pair raced door-to-door into turn three. Dominy held strong as Oliver spun in turn four and fell out of the race.

Thursday Thunder continues June 11th, featuring five racing divisions with various skill levels and competition, including Bandolero cars in the Beginner Bandits, Bandits, and Outlaw divisions and Legends cars in the Semi-Pro/Young Lions and Masters/Pro divisions. The summer racing series continues through July 23, as drivers of all ages and skill levels compete in the 18th season of quarter-mile racing at AMS.

Grandstand tickets for the affordable, family-friendly racing series cost just $6 for adults, $2 for kids ages 6 through 11 and is free for children ages 5 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.


Week 1 Results:

Bandits

1. DJ Canipe (Fallston, NC), 2. Clay Thompson (Powersville), 3. Will Robusto (Fort Mill, SC), 4. Isabella Robusto (Fort Mill, SC), 5. Blaise Maddox (Locust Grove), 6. Ryan Howell (McDonough), 7. Nathan Jackson (McDonough)

Beginner Bandoleros

1. Noah Dominy (Stathum), 2. Wilder Etheredge (Albany), 3. River Allen (Hiram), 4. Cameron Potter (Covington), 5. Dawson O'Connor (Stockbridge), 6. Ryan Younginer (Jonesboro), 7. Samuel Oliver (The Rock)

Masters/Pro

1. Bill Plemons Jr. (Locust Grove), 2. Tina Johnson (Senoia), 3. Mark Swan (Dunwoody), 4. Tony Armbruster (Covington), 5. Scott Moseley (McDonough), 6. Willie Gray (Cartersville), 7. Phillip Young (Dallas), 8. Don Maness (Duluth), 9. Wes Potter (Covington), 10. Dennis Hecht (Hoschton), 11. Randy Schubert (Conyers), 12. Mike Kennedy (Alpharetta)

Xtreme Fun on Wheels Outlaws Division

1. Joshua Hicks (Senoia), 2. Ashton Higgins (Weaverville, NC), 3. Lexi Gay (Canton), 4. Hayden Swank (Woodstock), 5. Lawson Ingold (Social Circle), 6. Trey Tadrzak (Stockbridge), 7. Connor Youniger (Stockbridge), 8. Austin Geer (Johns Creek), 9. Ricky Springer (McDonough) - DQ

Allred Family Dentistry Semi-Pro/Young Lions

1. William Martin (Douglasville), 2. Taylor Jorgensen (Stockbridge), 3. Jeff Holden (Gainesville), 4. Dylan Murry (Cumming), 5. Brandon Brock (Hampton), 6. Jensen Jorgensen (Stockbridge), 7. Hannah Bell, Raleigh, NC), 8. Ryan Millington (Statesville, NC), 9. Miranda Meredith (Locust Grove), 10. Jordan Coker (Powder Springs), 11. Christopher Clanton (Brooks), 12. Amber Fleeman (Dacula), 13. Aaron Bailey (Burlington, NC), 14. Sebastian Arias (Flowery Branch)