Week three of the 2011-12 Winter Flurry season on the Atlanta Motor Speedway quarter-mile saw a mix of new and familiar faces find their way to victory lane as the series draws near the season's mid-point. With four events remaining in the Winter Flurry season, drivers were jockeying for positioning in the points standings as they chase a season championship on the AMS "Thunder Ring."
The Masters feature got underway with Terry Mathis in the lead. Mathis dominated the event, leading wire-to-wire to claim the win. It was his second Winter Flurry win in a row. Mathis entered the event in a three-way tie for the lead in the points standings with Ed Clark and Tom Pistone.
Justin Thomas was the pole sitter for the Semi-Pro feature. Luke Behnke went to the lead from his outside starting position on the opening lap. On lap 14, Emilee Riley and C.J. Pucko got together in turn one to bring out the first caution of the event. On the restart, Thomas took advantage of the tightened-up field and eased past Behnke for the top spot. But on lap 16 Behnke slid back inside Thomas and took point back. Behnke would lead the rest of the way to post his second victory in as many weeks. Behnke and Thomas entered the event tied atop the points standings, and the win will put a small amount of distance between the two drivers.
The Papa John's Pizza Bandits feature launched off with Joshua Hicks out front. In the first corner, a multi-car accident involving Austin Geer, Ashton Winger, Reid Morris, Chandler Smith and Chambers McGilberry took place. The accident saw the car of Morris take a wild flip through the infield grass, but was able to drive away. All drivers escaped without injury and only the cars of Morris and Geer were retired from the event. The race was stopped for cleanup and saw a full restart following the red flag. On the restart, Hicks took the lead back and pulled away from the field. On lap 17, Hicks slowed and Zach Leonhardi went to the point. Leonhardi led the rest of the way to log his first win of the season and inch closer to Hicks in the points standings.
Evan Bell began the Young Lions feature out front. Bell built up a sizeable lead but Joey Padgett and Will Fagan began to close in with five laps remaining. Bell, driving the end of the race with smoke billowing from a tire rub, held on to score his first victory of the season. Bell would lead all 20 laps of the event on his way to taking the win.
The Outlaws feature began with Taylor Jorgensen on the pole. On lap five, Eli Bailey spun coming down the frontstretch to bring out the first caution of the event. Jorgensen restarted the race with the lead and pulled away. On lap 10, Jorgensen was slowed in lapped traffic and Devon Barnes eased past to take the lead away. On lap 18, Bailey spun again while exiting turn four to put the field under the yellow flag. Barnes restarted with the lead and would go on to collect the checkered flag, his second of the season. The win would also allow him to make up ground on points leader Taylor Jorgensen.
Mason Massey paced the field to the start of the Pro feature. Massey went untouched in capturing the event, leading every lap and making him the only winner to this point in the Pro division during the Winter Flurry season.
The Buzz Cars feature started with Allen Nolan as the leader. Timmy Bishop slid past for the lead in the first corner, but Buddy Brewer went by both drivers in turn four to take the lead. Brewer would pace each lap en route to posting his third consecutive victory and extending his lead in the season points standings.
This year's Winter Flurry season features a rule change that will allow drivers to drop one event from the points standings. This new feature will allow drivers to drop a bad finish or missed event and still remain competitive for a Winter Flurry championship.
Short-track racing returns to Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday, Jan. 28 for week number four 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.
1. Terry Mathis (Cumming), 2. Tom Pistone (Mooresville, N.C.), 3. Tina Johnson (Senoia), 4. Ed Clark (Peachtree City), 5. Mike Kennedy (Alpharetta), 6. Chris Bowie (Douglasville), 7. Mark Swan (Atlanta), 8. Michael Sauer (Atlanta), 9. James Meredith (Locust Grove)
1. Luke Behnke (Fayetteville), 2. Justin Thomas (Woodstock), 3. Garrett Smithley (Peachtree City), 4. Casey Willingham (Ball Ground), 5. Hub Talbot (Smyrna), 6. Jami Weimer (Cumming), 7. C.J. Pucko (Covington), 8. Emilee Riley (Jasper), 9. Aaron Bailey (Winder)
Papa John's Pizza Bandits:
1. Zach Leonhardi (Smyrna), 2. Chandler Smith (Talking Rock), 3. Ashton Winger (Fayetteville), 4. Joshua Hicks (Senoia), 5. Connor Younginer (Stockbridge), 6. Chambers McGilberry (Selma, Ala.), 7. Abigail Marin (Peachtree City), 8. Austin Geer (Johns Creek), 9. Reid Morris (Carrollton)
1. Evan Bell (Buford), 2. Will Fagan (Cumming), 3. Joey Padgett (Tallahassee, Fla.), 4. Madeline Crane (Meansville), 5. Reid Wilson (Huntersville, N.C.), 6. Alex Coffey (McDonough), 7. Megan Younginer (Stockbridge), 8. Riley Thornton (Peachtree City), *Trevin Aswarnauth (Loganville)
*Attempted to Qualify
1. Devon Barnes (Roswell), 2. Taylor Jorgensen (Stockbridge), 3. Jenson Jorgensen (Stockbridge), 4. John Curtiss (Columbus), 5. Alton Clark (Newnan), 6. Eli Bailey (Johns Creek), 7. Katelyn Weatherly (McDonough), 8. Christopher Clanton (Brooks)
1. Mason Massey (Douglasville), 2. Taylor Hull (Winston), 3. Evan Swilling (Cohutta), 4. A.J. Carlisi (Dalton), 5. Bubba Harry (Griffin)
1. Buddy Brewer (Griffin), 2. Timmy Bishop (Jonesboro), 3. Allen Nolan (Sharpsburg), 4. Taylor Hull (Winston) substitute driving for Tim Brotzge (Griffin), 5. Brian Sutton (Covington)