Race fans will have the unique opportunity to show off their individual artistic talents on one of racing's most famous racing surfaces this week during the second week of Atlanta Motor Speedway's Thursday Thunder summer short track racing series as Chick-fil-A Lovejoy Station will present Paint the Track Night.

During the driver autograph session prior to the start of feature races, fans are invited to use sidewalk chalk to write messages or draw pictures Atlanta Motor Speedway's frontstrech racing surface.

Prizes will be given to the individual painting the best picture. Chick-fil-A Lovejoy Station will also give away a free Icedream ® coupon to any person entering the grandstand gates dressed as a cow.

Those wishing to participate in "Paint the Track Night" can access the Speedway's front stretch via the gate underneath the flagstand at the start of the Legends and Bandolero driver autograph session, scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

Nichols Balancing Roles of Driver and Crew Chief

Fresh off of winning an impressive 50th feature race at Thursday Thunder during the first event of the season on May 17, Albany's Skip Nichols will be handling dual roles this summer around the quarter-mile "Thunder Ring."

While Nichols is expected to once again be a leading contender to win the Estes Services Masters Division, he'll also be helping guide the career of his young grandson, Wilder Etheridge. The eight-year-old driver is competing in his first season of Thursday Thunder and currently races in the Beginner Bandits division. Etheridge finished fourth in the May 17 season opener.

"I'm going to run one year with him," Nichols said. "Then, I will give it up and become his crew chief."

Behind the wheel, Nichols hopes to harness momentum from a thrilling victory to open the season. He used a last-lap pass to win the first feature of the year to beat another seasoned Thursday Thunder veteran, Bill Plemons Jr. of Locust Grove to claim the milestone victory.

"I feel lucky, I feel proud. I feel proud because my family is involved," Nichols said. Everyone here I feel like is my family because we have been coming here for so long."

Defending Champions Starting Strong

Last season's Thursday Thunder champions at have wasted little time serving notice that they intend to defend last year's division titles earned at the "Thunder Ring"

Of last year's defending division champions who raced in last month's season opener, none of them finished worse than second in their respective feature race.

Locust Grove's William Plemons III barrels into the second race of Thursday Thunder having claimed a second place finish in the W.J. Plemons III Associates Group Insurance, Inc. Pro division feature. In the 15th Street Pizza Outlaw Division, Ashton Winger of Fayetteville carries a runner-up result into this week's action after a three-way race for the win on the final lap of the last race, setting the stage for an exciting season in what could be one of the most competitive divisions of the summer at Thursday Thunder.

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.