Rain washes out racing at AMS

By Anthony Rhoads

Rainstorms swept through the Southern Crescent Thursday evening but there was no Thunder Thursday Thunder, Atlanta Motor Speedway's summer racing series, was cancelled this week because of rain.

Next week will be the finale of the 10-week season and fans will get two weeks worth of racing action. The week 9 features will be made up and then will be followed by the week 10 races.

Going into the season finale, several points championships are up for grabs.

In the Semi-Pro Division, Bubba Harry and Jeremy Kalina are tied for the points lead.

Both are competing in their first year at the Semi-Pro level but they have had plenty of success in other divisions. In 2002, Harry won the Chargers Division championship while Kalina won last year's Young Lions championship.

"We're good friends," Harry said. "It doesn't matter of I win or he wins; as long as we're having fun, that's all that counts."

Harry has won three races this season and seven top-fives. Kalina has two wins and has not finished outside the top-five this year.

The Outlaws Division is also deadlocked in a tie. Darrell Banks and Jody Pilkenton both have 970 points going into the final week of the season.

There are some other tight races in other divisions as well. In the Pro Division, Doug Stevens leads Chris Dilbeck and Doug Ludwig by 19 points.

Stevens is a three-time Pro points champion but won't win the title this year. Stevens won't race in Thursday Thunder next week as he will be racing in an ARCA race in Nashville that weekend.

Dilbeck could win two points championships this year. He leads the points race at Lanier Speedway and is tied for second at AMS.

"It would be awesome to win," he said. "We really want to win one here. The last few years, the championship has slipped through our fingers. We're really going to try to win it this year."

In other close points races, Mark Wallace leads Skip Nichols by 13 points in the Masters Division and Casey Roderick leads Hunter Robbins by three points in Bandits.

Back to school: Henry County schools get back into session Monday and Dilbeck, a junior at Henry County High School, is looking forward to it.

"I'm on the yearbook staff and I think I'm looking forward to getting back," he said. "I'm going to learn more about journalism because journalism is definitely a big part of racing. It's actually exciting to get back to school this year."

Rooting for Joey Clanton: Former Thursday Thunder competitor Joey Clanton is racing his way to success this year on the NASCAR Busch Series and this past weekend, he earned his first top-five. One fan of Clanton's is Dilbeck.

"I love that he's doing well because Joey was the first person to help us out when we first start racing," Dilbeck said. "He set up my first Bandolero car. That's really exciting that someone can come from Legends racing and go on to NASCAR."

Baseball and racing: Austin Allison, 13, is serious about racing but that doesn't mean that is his only interest.

Allison loves baseball and has played since he was 5. Two weeks ago, the Thursday Thunder Young Guns competitor missed Thursday Thunder to play in a USSSA World Series held in Oklahoma.

"We're having fun and staying busy during the summer," said Allison's dad, Tommy Allison.

Austin has been racing at Thursday Thunder since 2000 and his younger brother Will made his racing debut this year.

The Allisons are cousins of legendary NASCAR driver Bobby Allison.

Tommy Allison was the business manager for his cousin, the late Davey Allison, who was killed in a tragic helicopter accident 10 years ago.