Close racing, tight title fights anticipated when 22nd season of Thursday Thunder begins
Drivers in Atlanta Motor Speedway's Legends program will bring the noise once again when Thursday Thunder presented by Papa John’s kicks off its 22nd season Thursday, May 30.
For more than two decades the "Thunder Ring" has been a melting pot for drivers of all ages and skill levels, producing some of the most competitive and thrilling racing in the Southeast.
2019 will be no exception, with intense weekly and season-long battles anticipated in each of Thursday Thunder’s racing divisions. With champions being crowned after 10 events this summer, each competitor is hoping to get a fast start on opening night.
“The first night is kind of sizing everybody up and seeing who’s going to be the one to beat,” said 2018 Wallace Electric Masters division champion Robbie Woodall. “Some guys have stepped up their game from last year and they’ll be wild cards going into this season.”
One wild card in the VP Racing Fuels Pro division in 2018 was Cody Hall of Griffin. The pro division is the premier racing class, featuring Thursday Thunder’s top talent, and Hall was a new addition in 2018.
"I moved up to the pro division just one week before the season started,” Hall recalled. He wasted no time getting up to speed, with a top-5 in his first race followed by a pair of runner-up finishes.
“At first I was just out there to learn, but with the passing points I accumulated over the year I made up a lot ground,” Hall said. After starting strong with three top-5s, Hall had his best drive of the season in the fourth event, winning his first pro feature race after starting 7th.
Hall remained strong throughout the rest of the 2018 campaign, often choosing to start towards the rear of the field and earning passing points as he charged towards the front each night. At season’s end, Hall’s consistency and hard-charging performances won him the division championship. In 2019, he hopes to pick up where he left off.
"I'm going try to win them all and pass as many cars as I can while I'm at it,” Hall said.
Woodall has similar hopes of repeating his championship in the Wallace Electric Masters division, which features competitors who are all at least 40 years old. In 2018 he won the championship after an intense season-long battle that came down to the final race with fellow Masters racer Bill Plemons, Jr., and Woodall believes he’ll have to face a similar challenge this year to defend his title.
“Of course, being greedy, I would prefer that by the end of the season I’ve got it all wrapped up,” Woodall, of McDonough, said with a chuckle. He continued, “Plemons is going to be the one to beat. Whether or not I’m the one that does it I don’t know, but he’s the one to beat.”
The 2019 season of Thursday Thunder presented by Papa John’s begins this Thursday, May 30, kicking off another series of family-friendly, affordable summer fun at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Grandstand admission is just $5 per person, with kids 5 and under admitted free.
For more information about Thursday Thunder, contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at 770-946-4211, 877-9-AMS-TIX or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.