Hicks becomes first repeat Pro winner in parity-filled Thursday Thunder season
In five nights of Thursday Thunder presented by Papa John's, five different drivers had visited victory lane in the VP Racing Fuels Pro Division entering Thursday night's action.
Joshua Hicks, of Senoia, put an end to that trend in race six, becoming the first pro driver to secure multiple victories in the parity-filled season.
"This car is hooked up on restarts and launches off turn two, so I just made sure I hit my shifts and took off when I needed to," Hicks said after the win.
Quick starts were the deciding factor for Hicks, who snagged his first win last week. A fast launch on the first lap propelled him around polesitter Taylor Jorgensen and into the lead after starting 3rd. On a series of restarts throughout the feature, Hicks continued to get good jumps, building a safe cushion between him and those giving chase each time.
"It feels good to win again," Hicks said. "We're just trying to keep up our momentum and expand the points lead. We still have adjustments we can make so we'll keep tinkering with it and hopefully stay on top."
On the opposite end of the spectrum is the Wallace Electric Masters Division, where Locust Grove's Bill Plemons Jr. has made victory lane his second home, winning four of the first five races.
However contact with Wade Brewer on lap one of Thursday's feature sent Plemons spinning to the rear of the field and made his path to win number five much more difficult.
"I think Wade just go in there a little too hot and around I went," Plemons said. "So I just said, 'It is what it is, let's put on a show and let's go.'"
Restarting 11th, Plemons wasted no time marching back to the front, working his way past a field of experienced racers in an impressive display of skill on the Thunder Ring. On lap 12, Plemons completed his journey, taking the lead from Phillip Young, of Dallas. Plemons didn't look back and took his fifth checkered flag of the season.
In The Associates Group Young Lions feature, Suwanee's Lucas Ruark worked started 5th and steadily worked towards the front. After taking 2nd place, a caution bunched the field back together just before the halfway point.
"I knew that was my chance to go to the front," Ruark said of the caution. He capitalized on the opportunity, slipping by Austin MacDonald to grab his fourth win of the season.
Meanwhile in the CMS Group Environmental Services Semi-Pro Division, which features a tight battle for the championship between Nick Woodall and Max Brady, Woodall made a statement with his race six performance. The Canton native started on the pole and dominated the feature, leading every lap on the way to his third win of the 2019 season. The victory vaults Woodall to the top of the division championship standings with four races remaining.
The drivers of the Racing Radios Bandits division had a thrilling 20-lap feature, with intense, back-and-forth battles for the lead that including a breath-taking moment of four-wide action. The most persistent battle was between Carson Ruark and Garrett Gumm, who traded the lead four times in an eight lap stretch.
In the end it was Ruark taking the checkered flag with a narrow advantage over Gumm, joining his brother Lucas as a night six feature winner.
The Racing Radios Rookies looked like veterans in their feature, navigating the tricky and unforgiving ¼-mile Thunder Ring flawlessly in the caution-free feature. Mitchell Flater, of Conyers, led the way throughout and took the checkered flag.
In the Racing Radios Outlaws feature, Trevor Wester of Canton, N.C., survived three late restarts to take the win after starting on the pole.
Full results from June 27 Thursday Thunder presented by Papa John's racing:
The Associates Group Young Lions
- Lucas Ruark (Suwanee, GA)
- Austin MacDonald (Pictou, NS)
- Timothy Watson (Panama City, FL)
- Ashton Whitener (Monticello, GA)
- Michael Gannon (Canton, GA)
- Tony Yawn III (Roanoke, AL)
- Keaton Hendrix (Homerville, GA)
- Cole Cash (Bethlahem, GA)
- Wilder Etheredge (Atlanta, GA)
- Justin Campbell (Griffin, GA)
- Hunter Burns (Thomaston, GA)
- Samuel Butler (Delphi, IN)
- Nathan Jackson (McDonough, GA)
- Kenneth Henderson (Alto, GA)
CMS Group Environmental Services Semi-Pro
- Nick Woodall (Canton, GA)
- Lawson Ingold (Social Circle, GA)
- Audrie Ruark (Suwanee, GA)
- DJ Canipe (Fallston, NC)
- Braden Rogers (Bakersfield, CA)
- Ian Hampton (Stockbridge, GA)
- Kenny Brady (Marietta, GA)
- Pierce Brewer (Locust Grove, GA)
- Hayden Swank (Woodstock, GA)
- Trey Tadrzak (Stockbridge, GA)
- Ricky Springer (McDonough, GA)
- Trent Barfield (Hamilton, GA)
- Parker Brewer (Locust Grove, GA)
- Jonathan Taylor (Atlanta, GA)
- Blaze Crawford (Fayetteville, GA)
- Camden Prouty (Spanish Fort, AL)
- Max Brady (Marietta, GA)
- Jonathan Cook (Sunny Side, GA)
- Brandon Brock (Hampton, GA)
- Zac Bacon (Buchanan, GA)
VP Racing Fuels Pro
- Joshua Hicks (Senoia, GA)
- Taylor Jorgensen (Stockbridge, GA)
- Cody Hall (Griffin, GA)
- Jensen Jorgensen (Stockbridge, GA)
- Cale Hall (Griffin, GA)
- Harrison Halder (Cumming, GA)
- Gauntt Hudgins (Savannah, GA)
- Gage Roberts (Milledgeville, GA)
- Dawson Fletcher (Canton, GA)
- William Plemons III (Acworth, GA)
- Tony Yawn (Roanoke, AL)
- Christopher Tullis (Dacula, GA)
Wallace Electric Masters
- Bill Plemons Jr (Locust Grove, GA)
- Phillip Young (Dallas, GA)
- Mark Swan (Athens, GA)
- Tony Armbruster (Covington, GA)
- Aaron Croslyn (Woodstock, GA)
- Wade Brewer (Locust Grove, GA)
- Randy Shubert (Stone Mountain, GA)
- Bill Whatley (Acworth, GA)
- Dennis Hecht (Hoschton, GA)
- James Meredith (Locust Grove, GA)
- Kevin Vaughn (Grovetown, GA)
- Robert Anderson (Covington, GA)
Racing Radios Bandits
- Carson Ruark (Suwanee, GA)
- Lucas Vera (Charlotte, NC)
- Garrett Gumm (Brooks, GA)
- Kyle Bacon (Buchanan, GA)
- Bryson Matthews (Dallas, GA)
- Gianni Esposito (Dacula, GA)
- Lee Brown (Acworth, GA)
Racing Radios Rookie Bandoleros
- Mitchell Flater (Conyers, GA)
- Bailey Buchanan (Senoia, GA)
- Briana Freeman (Bremen, GA)
- Baylor O'Neil (Grantville, GA)
- Gavin Reece (Conyers, GA)
- Neal Dulin (Harrisburg, NC)
- Kerbi Mueller (Locust Grove, GA)
- Lane Mueller (Locust Grove, GA)
Racing Radios Outlaws
- Trevor Wester (Canton, NC)
- Carson Ramsey (Charlotte, NC)
- Parker Eatmon (Wilson, NC)
- Mason Maggio (Palm Beach Gardens, FL)
- Kelley Puckett (McDonough, GA)
- Nathan Jackson (McDonough, GA)
- Shelby Ruark (Suwanee, GA)
- Ryan Younginer (Locust Grove, GA)
- Sarah Sullivan (Gulf Shores, AL)
- Clay Hocutt (Mobile, AL)
- Bailey North (Hampton, GA)
- Tyler Newcomer (Woolsey, GA)
The Thursday Thunder Legends Series presented by Papa John's Pizza continues with its seventh night of racing on a special night Wednesday, July 3. For more information, contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at 770-946-4211, 877-9-AMS-TIX or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.