Atlanta Motor Speedway is offering local race fans the rare chance to enjoy short track racing and take part in extremely affordable family fun on Saturday with the opening of another season of Thursday Thunder.

Saturday will be the only Thursday Thunder weekend event of the summer at the quarter-mile "Thunder Ring." Gates open at Noon with feature races beginning at 2 p.m. Fans will also have the chance to meet and interact with their favorite Legends and Bandolero drivers during an autograph session on the track's front stretch moments before the first feature race is set to start.

Atlanta Motor Speedway will offer a special ticket price to all families for Saturday's event. At this week's event only, an entire family can purchase will be given grandstand admission for only $10.

Thursday Thunder has produced some of the top young drivers in NASCAR. Numerous drivers have advanced up to some of the highest levels in stock car racing after competing at Atlanta Motor Speedway. That list of drivers includes Reed Sorenson, David Ragan, Joey Logano and most recently, Ty Dillon, Bubba Wallace and Chase Elliott.

Each week at Thursday Thunder, fans will witness intense racing ranging from drivers as young as eight years old in Bandolero cars to more experienced drivers behind the wheel of Legends cars.

Smith Poised To Enter History Books with Championship

Talking Rock's Chandler Smith has been the standard-bearer for success within Bandolero racing the past few years at Thursday Thunder. The two-time defending champion of the Bandits division, he has claimed 13 victories in 20 Thursday Thunder feature events in the past two seasons.

Smith has the chance to leave an even bigger mark at Thursday Thunder this year. If Smith wins the division championship this summer, he'll become the first driver to win three Bandolero points championships in a row at Thursday Thunder.

Smith has momentum on his side heading into Saturday's season opener. He claimed the Bandits championship in Atlanta Motor Speedway's winter series, Winter Flurry as he won five-of-seven feature events.

Winter Flurry Results Point To Season Favorites

Race fans looking to pinpoint championship favorites for Thursday Thunder will see some strong signs from this past winter's results from Winter Flurry at the quarter-mile "Thunder Ring" at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Three of last year's Thursday Thunder division champions also won their division during the previous Winter Flurry season. Those drivers were Smith, Fayetteville's Ashton Winger and Riley Thornton of Peachtree City.

One advantage of Winter Flurry for drivers is that it gives them increased track time in advance of the next Thursday Thunder season. Winter Flurry champions entering the 2014 Thursday Thunder campaign in search of a title are Smith in the Bandits Division, Winger in the 15th Street Pizza Outlaws Division, Hoboken's Woodrow Mullis in Young Lions, Stockbridge's Taylor Jorgensen in Semi-Pro and Macon's Don Chandler in the Estes Services Masters Division.

Addition of Qualifying Adds Incentive For Drivers

Legends and Bandolero racers will have an extra avenue to showcase their driving ability and gain points in their respective division's standings this week during two-lap qualifying sessions for each driver.

The results from each division' qualifying session will determine the starting order for all of this week's heat races at Thursday Thunder. Qualifying results are expected to be pivotal for drivers, as a strong starting spot in a heat race can be a major step toward a good starting position in each feature race.

There is a points incentive for drivers during qualifying as well. The top three qualifiers in each division will be awarded, three, two and one points, respectively that will count in the championships standings.

Each week, Thursday Thunder will present an interactive experience for families, with concourse activities such as face painting and more. Also, every event will feature an autograph session with competitors. Plus there will be contests and games for spectators to participate in while in the grandstands, like a Root Beer Chugging contest, trivia, dance contests and more.

Tickets for the affordable, family-friendly racing series costs just $6 for adults, $2 for children 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.

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.