The season opener for the 2011-2012 edition of Atlanta Motor Speedway's Winter Flurry was a chance for racers to shake off the dust and get back into the groove as the Legends and Bandolero racers readied to race for the winter championship on the quarter-mile "Thunder Ring."
With a new rule change allowing drivers to drop one event from the 2011-2012 Winter Flurry points standings, this year's edition of the series looks to deliver exciting competition all the way to the end of the seven-week season in March.
Joshua Hicks began out front for the Papa John's Bandits feature. With four laps complete, Zach Leonhardi lost control and spun down the backstretch, bringing out the yellow flag. Following the restart, Chandler Smith brought out the caution with a spin in turn four. The ensuing restart saw Banks Johnson and Katelyn Weatherly get together in turn one for the third caution of the event. During the caution, Zachary Dabbs' car suffered a mechanical failure and retired from the event. Hicks restarted with the lead on lap six. Weatherly later spun exiting turn two to put the field under caution on lap nine. Hicks would again bring the field to the green, but on lap 12 the cars of Smith, Austin Geer and Reid Morris made contact in turn one to bring out the yellow flag. Following the restart, Hicks continued to lead until Weatherly spun for the third time on lap 14, ending her night. Due to a time limit, the race was shortened to 18 laps. Hicks led the rest of the way to claim the victory.
The Young Lions feature got underway with Andy Hogan in the lead. Hogan led wire-to-wire to capture the checkered flag.
Justin Thomas paced the field to start the Semi-Pro feature. Oil on the racing surface brought out the caution after nine laps. On the restart, Thomas slipped to allow a three-wide battle for the lead with Luke Behnke and Casey Willingham, but Thomas was able to slide back to the point. Thomas would pull away in winning the event.
The Masters feature kicked off with Tom Pistone out front. On the first lap, Mark Swan and Eddie Harwell got together on the backstretch to put the race under caution. Pistone would again restart with the lead, but Ed Clark powered past for the lead on lap three. On lap 17, Tina Johnson spun while running third and stalled her machine, putting the field under the second caution of the race. Clark and Pistone battled for the lead on the restart, but Clark held off the hard-charging Pistone to win.
Devon Barnes was the pole sitter for the for the Morley Company Outlaws feature. Barnes dominated the event, leading every lap en route to grabbing the checkered flag.
The Pro feature started with Austin Hill as the leader. On lap 12, Mason Massey wrestled the lead away from Hill while exiting turn four. Massey would hold off Hill for the victory.
Tim Brotzge took the green flag to set off the Buzz Cars feature. Timmy Bishop spun exiting turn two to bring out the caution on lap two. On the restart, Buddy Brewer eased past Brotzge to grab the lead. With four laps remaining, Josh Ballard spun in turn four to put the field under caution for the second time. Brewer would restart with the lead and ease away for the win.
Short-track racing returns to Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday, Dec. 10 for week number two of the seven-week Winter Flurry season. A limited number of infield passes will be available at the Security Command building near the speedway's main entrance. Infield access costs just $12 for adults, $5 for children ages six through 11 and admission is free for children ages five and younger. Cost to race is just $25. Minors and their guardians are required to complete a minor waiver before children ages 17 and younger can enter the infield. 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.
Papa John's Bandits:
1. Joshua Hicks (Senoia), 2. Jacob Heafner (Dallas, N.C.), 3. Ashton Winger (Fayetteville), 4. Zach Leonhardi (Smyrna), 5. Reid Morris (Carrollton), 6. Abigail Marin (Peachtree City), 7. Austin Geer (Johns Creek), 8. Dawson Cram (Mooresville, N.C.), 9. D.J. Canipe (Fallston, N.C.), 10. Chandler Smith (Talking Rock), 11. Connor Younginer (Stockbridge), 12. Katelyn Weatherly (McDonough), 13. Banks Johnson (Lake Wylie, S.C.), 14. Zachary Dabbs (Mooresville, N.C.)
1. Andy Hogan (Decatur, Texas), 2. Ryan Shattuck (Islamorada, Fla), 3. Will Fagan (Cumming), 4. Evan Bell (Buford), 5. Joey Padgett (Tallahassee, Fla.), 6. Alex Coffey (McDonough), 7. Riley Thornton (Peachtree City), 8. Parker Barnes (Alpharetta), 9. Trevin Aswarnauth (Loganville), 10. Payton Ryan (Jonesville, La.), 11. Walker Yates (Clemmons, N.C.), 12. Madeline Crane (Meansville), *Angus Hunt (Powder Springs)
*Attempted to Qualify
1. Justin Thomas (Woodstock), 2. Luke Behnke (Fayetteville), 3. Casey Willingham (Ball Ground), 4. Matthew Linker (Mt. Pleasant, N.C.), 5. Jami Weimer (Cumming), 6. C.J. Pucko (Covington), 7. Chandler Dobson (Winston-Salem, N.C.), 8. Taylor Griffith (Homer)
1. Ed Clark (Peachtree City), 2. Tom Pistone (Mooresville, N.C.), 3. Terry Mathis (Cumming), 4. Mike Kennedy (Alpharetta), 5. Carl Cormier (Davidson, N.C.), 6. Tina Johnson (Senoia), 7. Michael Sauer (Atlanta), 8. Chris Bowie (Hampton), 9. Eddie Harwell (Mooresville, N.C.), 10. Don Chandler (Macon), 11. James Meredith (Locust Grove), 12. Mark Swan (Atlanta)
Morley Company Outlaws:
1. Devon Barnes (Roswell), 2. Taylor Jorgensen (Stockbridge), 3. John Curtiss (Columbus), 4. Megan Younginer (Stockbridge), 5. Jenson Jorgensen (Stockbridge), 6. Alton Clark (Newnan)
1. Mason Massey (Douglasville), 2. Austin Hill (Winston), 3. Evan Swilling (Cohutta), 4. A.J. Carlisi (Dalton), 5. Bubba Harry (Griffin), *Jeff Haynie (Zebulon), *Taylor Hull (Winston)
*Attempted to Qualify
1. Buddy Brewer (Griffin), 2. Timmy Bishop (Jonesboro), 3. Josh Ballard (Hampton), 4. Gary Zajdek (Covington), 5. Tim Brotzge (Griffin)