O'Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags Season Underway Following Opening Night Action
High-octane drag racing returned to the pit lane drag strip at Atlanta Motor Speedway Friday as the 11th season of O'Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags got under way with Week 1.
Eighteen racing divisions went head-to-head in one of the largest organized street-style drag racing series in the nation, with single-elimination competition determining each winner. Vehicles ranging from souped-up muscle cars all the way down to factory cars and daily drivers participated in the first of four non-points night leading up to the June 2 regular points opener.
Highlighting the evening was the blazing side-by-side competition in the Pro Division, featuring eight of the fastest straight-line vehicles in the region. After three elimination rounds, only Milner's Kevin Mayo - in a 1969 Chevrolet Nova - and Dale Rodgers of Oxford - driving a 1981 Pontiac Firebird - remained.
Both veterans of the drag strip, it was anyone's race to win with season-opening bragging rights and a trophy on the line, but all Mayo was concerned about was getting his Nova across the finish line in one piece.
"I was just trying to make it go from A to B," he said of his mindset prior to the last and deciding race of the night.
At the flash of the green starting lights, Mayo's Nova erupted off the line, affording him an early lead that he wouldn't relinquish over the 1/8-mile sprint to the line. By a car-length he finished ahead of Rodgers and took the Pro Division's first trip to victory lane of the season.
"Man, it feels good," he said. "The track is a little slick, but it feels good to take the win tonight. We pushed it hard (to get ready) all year."
In the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Division, Jimmy Hawk of Rex took the win in his 1966 Ford Mustang; Jackson's Dave Smith won in the Harding Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Domestic Division behind the wheel of a 1968 Ford Mustang; and Sobve Garcia of Morrow took home the trophy in the Harbin's Mechanical Sport Compact Division, driving a 1996 Honda Civic.
Other notable winners include David Waksman of Sharpsburg in the Street Modified Division and Steve Shaffer of Newnan and Darren Lewis of Covington in the New Edge and Street Performer Divisions respectively - both new racing classes in 2017.
Below is a complete list of the April 28 race winners:
Kevin Mayo (Milner); 1969 Chevrolet Nova
Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman
Jimmy Hawk (Rex); 1966 Ford Mustang
Harding Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Domestic
Dave Smith (Jackson); 1968 Ford Mustang
David Waksman (Sharpsburg); 1994 Chevrolet Camaro
Brad Buongiorne (Newnan); 2013 Ford Mustang GT
Brandon Scott (Atlanta); 2010 Audi S5
Cliff McBurnett (McDonough); 1988 Ford Mustang
Steve Shaffer (Newnan); 2017 Chevrolet Corvette
Darren Lewis (Covington); 1969 Chevrolet Camaro
Taylor Wilder (Locust Grove); 1994 Dodge Ram 1500
Shelton Maynard (Hampton); 1972 Chevrolet C-10
Harbin's Mechanical Sport Compact
Sobve Garcia (Morrow); 1996 Honda Civic
Toney Freeman (Stockbridge); 2012 Suzuki Hayabusa
Bryan Berube (Forest Park); 2013 Suzuki Hayabusa
Robin Malcolm (Lithonia); 2006 Suzuki
Robert Thomas (Griffin); 2009 Harley-Davidson
Andres Sanchez (Fayetteville)
The Show-N-Shine competition featured everything from new imports to classic muscle cars and automobiles ranging as far back as the 1930s. Those vehicles then took part in the Speedway Cruise following judging.
Below is a complete list of the April 28 winners:
Classic Custom (Through 1972)
First Place: Bruce Russell (Brooks), 1954 Chevrolet
Second Place: Gene Fuller (Hiram), 1955 Chevrolet
Third Place: John and Karen Vise (Forrest Park), 1957 Chevrolet
Modern Custom (1973 through 1999)
First Place: Jan O'Hara (Peachtree City), 1988 Monte Carlo SS
Second Place: Walter Passmore (Jonesboro), 1976 Oldsmobile
Third Place: Terry Ison (Zebulon), Chevrolet Camaro
Current Custom (2000 through current)
First Place: Earl Reed (McDonough); 2014 Chevrolet Corvette
Second Place: Ken Thaxton (Fayetteville); 2004 Chevrolet Corvette
Third Place: Steve Kochik (Stockbridge); 2008 Ford Mustang
Showroom Classic (Through 1972)
First Place: Fred Briggs (McDonough); 1971 Duster
Showroom Modern (1973 through 1999)
First Place: Chris Gallagher (Fayetteville), 1998 Pontiac Trans Am
Second Place: Justin Osterland (Griffin), 1990 Ford Mustang
Third Place: Darin Goodman (Fayetteville); 1973 Chevrolet Nova SS
Showroom Current (2000 through current)
First Place: Steven McKeague (Dacula), 2015 Ford Mustang
Second Place: Wayne Hooper (Forrest Park); 2016 Scat Pak
Third Place: Nic Serrentino (McDonough); 2013 Ford Mustang
First Place: Jerrick Perkins (San Antonio, TX), 2000 Acura Integra
Second Place: Jose Lopez (Griffin), Toyota MR 2
Third Place: Ronnie Wages (Ellenwood), 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt
First Place: Chris Hutchins (Hampton), 2007 GMC Sierra
Second Place: Angela Carroll (Covington), 2015 Dodge Ram
Third Place: Hunter Greer (Hampton), Dodge Ram
First Place: Earl Reed (McDonough), 1934 Ford Cabriolet
Atlanta Motor Speedway's O'Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags & Show-N-Shine continues with Week 2 on May 5. Grandstand gates open at 6:30 p.m., and nightly drag race eliminations start after 9:00 p.m.
Entry to drag race or for the Show-N-Shine is just $20 or competitors can purchase a combo ticket for $30. Spectator tickets are just $10, and children 5 and under are free. More information can be found at www.atlantamotorspeedway.com/drags or by calling the Atlanta Motor Speedway Ticket Office at (770) 946-4211.