NASCAR drivers and Thursday Thunder alumni visit AMS to promote 19th season of AMS Legends racing
The 2016 season of the Thursday Thunder Legends Racing Series Presented by Papa John's Pizza kicks off its first of 10 dates this summer on June 2, as one of the nation's most challenging short-track Legends and Bandolero racing programs cranks up for its 19th consecutive year.
Thursday Thunder alumni and current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Joey Logano, fresh off his $1 million Sprint All-Star victory on Saturday, David Ragan and Reed Sorenson visited the track Tuesday afternoon at the annual AMS Legends media day inside the Marcy Scott Media Center to talk about their developmental experience on the Thunder Ring and how the program helped propel them into stock car racing's top level.
Pairing up with each of the three NASCAR drivers, current Thursday Thunder competitors Nathan Jackson (11), Joshua Hicks (15) and Dylan Murry (15), joined Logano, Ragan and Sorenson on stage to ask the elder drivers their advice on how best to use their talents to pursue their own professional racing careers.
Below are a sample of notes and quotes from each of the drivers from Tuesday's media day.
Thursday Thunder Stats:
Raced Thursday Thunder over five seasons from 1999-2003
Compiled 20 wins and 26 top-5s in that time
Won the 2001 Thursday Thunder Bandits Division championship
Won the 2002 Thursday Thunder Semi-Pro Division championship
Won the 2002 Pro Legends National Championship and Young Lions Legends National Championship
Holds the AMS Thursday Thunder record for most consecutive wins with 14 (2000-2001)
Raced Thursday Thunder three seasons from 1998-2000
Compiled eight wins and 22 top-5s in that time
Won the 2000 Semi-Pro Division championship
Raced Thursday Thunder five seasons from 1998-2002
Compiled 22 wins and 39 top-5s
Won the 1998 Young Lions Division championship
Won the 1999 Semi-Pro Division championship
Won the 2001 Pro Division championship
2016 will be his fifth season driving in Thursday Thunder
4 top-5s in his first four Thursday Thunder seasons
2016 will be his eighth season driving in Thursday Thunder
Won 2011 Thursday Thunder Bandits Division championship
Won 2010-11 Winter Flurry Bandits Division championship
Won 2011-12 Winter Flurry Bandits Division championship
Finished second in 2013 Thursday Thunder Outlaws Division
Nine wins and 37 top-5s in seven Thursday Thunder seasons
2016 will be his fourth season driving in Thursday Thunder
18 top-5s in his first three Thursday Thunder seasons
Joey Logano on how the Thursday Thunder series helped his career development:
"Legends car racing and Bandoleros goes back to the deepest roots for me. That's what it's all about. It's very competitive, and that's a lot of fun in itself. But for me, as I get a little bit older, I just know we had a lot of fun, and it was fun for my family and me.
"We were from Connecticut. We didn't know what we were doing. We didn't know anything about racing. My parents didn't race, and we just kind of winged it and had fun with it. We'd show up and work hard and figure out all this stuff, and it was just a fun, family, growing experience."
David Ragan on how the Thursday Thunder series helped his career development:
"As a kid, it's neat to just be at a race track that the NASCAR stars are racing at on the weekends, and I had a similar experience showing up to a large facility with a lot of grandstands and the banking that the Dale Earnhardts and Jeff Gordons were racing on. When you're 8, 9, 10 years old, that's a really neat thing.
"When you're a young kid, you're not really thinking about 10 years down the road and trying to get into the NASCAR world or what you're going to do with your career, your job when you're finished with school. You're just worried about having fun. You make a lot of friends in the garage, and it's a family thing."
Reed Sorenson on how the Thursday Thunder series helped his career development:
"I thought Legends car racing was very competitive. You've got people on different levels, and I think you learn something new every week. These cars are not easy to drive. Anybody who has ever driven them knows that you need a lot of car control.
"What you can learn from these cars and what you can learn from the competition definitely helps you for that next level. These guys, at their age - and we thought this a long time ago - is the best choice to try to move up to that next level."
Joshua Hicks on his goals for the 2016 Thursday Thunder season:
"My goal this year is to be consistent and not have a DNF or any mistakes-try to be as consistent as I can. I remember my first Bandolero Winter Flurry championship, I didn't win a single race. I finished second and third every race and came out on top, so that's my goal this year."
Nathan Jackson on his goals for the 2016 Thursday Thunder season:
"Try and stay consistent in the top-5 but don't get caught in tech, don't cheat. Try and stay consistent and stay happy with your car and work with your team with what your car's doing."
Dylan Murry on his goals for the 2016 Thursday Thunder season:
"I'd really like to stay consistent and not have a couple of bad races every now and then-just say constantly at the top of the field throughout the entire season and not have any bad finishes, just try to win the championship."
Infield admission is available for spectators wishing to watch Thursday Thunder, and passes may be purchased at the Security Command building near the speedway's main entrance. Infield passes are $12 for adults, $5 for ages 6 through 11, and children ages 5 and younger are admitted free. Grandstand tickets for the affordable, family-friendly racing series cost just $5, while children ages 5 and younger are free.
For more information, contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS-TIX or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.