From The 'Thunder Ring' To The Road Course: AMS Legends Racing Visits AMP Oct. 21
The difference between a typical AMS Legends race on the speedway's quarter-mile "Thunder Ring" and one on the winding road course at Atlanta Motorsports Park is nearly an entire mile, six turns and a rare opportunity to turn the steering wheel in a clockwise direction.
And therein lies the hook that has drawn dozens of drivers from all across the Southeast - and from states as far as the Midwest - with piqued interests for the rare challenge of hoisting some highly sought-after hardware.
In what began two years ago as an opportunity for Atlanta Motor Speedway to inject some track diversity and a change of scenery into Georgia's Legends and Bandolero racing scene, the Racing Radios Legends Championship and Young Lions World Finals has become a marquee annual event that drivers near and far circle on their calendars as one race not to miss.
And as if AMS's Thunder Ring, one of the most difficult flat-tracks to master in a Legends car, wasn't a challenge enough, the 1.14-mile road course that drivers will tackle next weekend at AMP presents a fast, technical layout that will push drivers to the limits of their abilities and provide for a quick - if not demanding - learning opportunity in unfamiliar territory.
One driver willing to go the distance to take on the winding road course is Sam Mayer, a Young Lions Division competitor who will make the trip all the way from his hometown of Franklin, Wisconsin, just outside Milwaukee, near the banks of Lake Michigan. Not unaccustomed to packing up the trailer and hitting the road for races halfway across the country, Mayer has covered the map in pursuit of his career aspirations to drive race cars for a living.
"I'm from Wisconsin, so it's a quick trip out to Charlotte, usually," he said. "We're going out to Vegas right now (for the U.S. Legends Asphalt Nationals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway). Florida, Texas; we go all over the place, so yeah, we do travel a lot."
Winner of the 2017 Young Lions Summer Shootout at Charlotte Motor Speedway and an already-experienced driver at just 13 years old, Mayer has raced on the Thunder Ring a handful of times in the past, but the opportunity to get back to his roots was what drew Mayer to North Georgia next Saturday.
"I have a really big road-course background," he said. "I've raced go-karts on road courses ever since I was 4 years old. I like turning right and left, so I just want to come down there and experience it."
He's well-prepared to take on the challenge, too. Not one to go into a race blind, Mayer has harkened back on his experience and used the resources at his disposal to prepare for the facility where he has yet to put actual rubber to pavement. And he's already looking forward to it.
"I've been watching some videos, and it looks really fast," he said. "The turns look pretty tricky, so it's probably what I'm most excited for. Hopefully we can get the win."
The 2017 Racing Radios Legends Championship and Young Lions World Finals returns to Atlanta Motorsports Park on Saturday, Oct. 21 to take on the 1.14-mile 10-turn course located in Dawsonville, Georgia.
On-track action will kick off with practice sessions beginning at 9 a.m. before heat races starting at 10:35 a.m. Feature races will follow with the Rookie Bandoleros class, a combined Bandits/Outlaws class, the combined Young Lions/Semi-Pro class, the combined Pro/Masters class and finally the Thunder Roadster class.
Pre-registration is available through Oct. 18 at 5 p.m. with a cost of $100 for driver armbands and no charge for pit/crew passes or spectator armbands. Competitors can sign up at the AMS Legends office or by contacting AMS Legends director Ken Ragan. Registration after Oct. 18 will increase to $125 and drivers will start in the rear of the field. Entry forms can be downloaded by clicking here.
For more information, a race-day schedule and answers to frequently asked questions, click here. For all other information, contact AMS Legends director Ken Ragan at 704-575-8542 or race director Floyd Lee at 770-946-3953.