Razor-Thin Competition In Multiple Divisions Entering Week Four of Thursday Thunder
The only thing hotter than the North Georgia weather lately has been the ultra-competitive racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway's Thursday Thunder summer racing series.
Currently, three Thursday Thunder division championship points races are separated by three points or less, and as the midpoint of the season approaches, there have only been three repeat winners among the five racing divisions.
Ashton Higgins is one of the few who have visited Victory Lane more than once in 2015. He put together back-to-back wins in Weeks 2 and 3 and will look to make it three straight Thursday night as the season reaches its midpoint.
And while he seems like an old pro - he leads the Xtreme Fun on Wheels Outlaws Division by a comfortable 22-point margin - the quarter-mile "Thunder Ring" at Atlanta Motor Speedway is anything but familiar for the 12-year-old from Weaverville, North Carolina.
Higgins made his AMS debut in Week 1, posting a runner-up finish and learned fast, claiming his first win of the season just one week later.
"It was great," he said of his Week 2 victory. "(It was) only my second race here, second time I'd seen the track and first time I'd won at the track."
Higgins is a regular on the quarter-mile oval at Charlotte Motor Speedway but sees Atlanta Motor Speedway as a proving ground in his assiduous pursuit of racing prestige.
"It's a huge advantage, because this track's so much harder than Charlotte," said Higgins. "And then you get to Charlotte and it seems like such an easy track."
Looking to pile on the points, the significance of a Thursday Thunder victory is not lost on the youngster who has his eyes on the big prize.
"It helps us in the track points and in the national points," he said. "It's huge. We're trying to get as many wins for nationals as we can. We're going to try to win a national championship, … a Charlotte Motor Speedway track championship, and we're going to try to get one here, but it's going to be hard."
While Higgins' lead in the Xtreme Fun on Wheels Outlaws Division looks relatively safe, the season-long shootout continues in the higher divisions, and several drivers will look to shake up the standings in Week 4.
In the Allred Family Dentistry Semi-Pro/Young Lions Division, Week 1 winner William Martin holds a narrow 2-point lead over challenger Taylor Jorgensen and leads third place Brandon Brock by nine. Week 2 winner Chris Clanton will also look to return to Victory Lane and vault the leaderboard from his 6th place position entering Week 4.
Mark Swan and a winless Tina Johnson are tied atop the Masters/Pro Division with 282 points, while Week 1 and Week 3 winners Bill Plemons Jr. and Scott Moseley sit third and fourth with 5 and 12 points respectively in what promises to be a pivotal Week 4.
Thursday Thunder features five racing divisions with various skill levels and competition, including Bandolero cars in the Beginner Bandits, Bandits, and Xtreme Fun on Wheels Outlaws divisions and Legends cars in the Allred Family Dentistry Semi-Pro/Young Lions and Masters/Pro divisions. The summer racing series continues each Thursday night through July 23, as drivers of all ages and skill levels compete in the 18th season of quarter-mile racing at AMS.
The July 9 Thursday Thunder event will be an official INEX regional qualifier.
Grandstand tickets for the affordable, family-friendly racing series cost just $6 for adults, $2 for kids ages 6 through 11, and is free for children ages 5 and younger.
Infield admission is available for spectators, and passes may be purchased at the Security Command building near the speedway's main entrance. Infield passes are $12 for adults, $5 for kids ages 6 through 11, and children ages 5 and younger are admitted free.
For more information, contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS-TIX or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.