Rose goes from wrestling ring to race track

By Anthony Rhoads

For most of his 14-year career as a professional wrestler, Randy Rose was a ?bad guy.'

He was an original member of The Midnight Express, one of the most successful tag teams in the history of professional wrestling.

Now instead of mixing it up in the wrestling ring, he's competing in Atlanta Motor Speedway's Thursday Thunder summer racing series. He races in the Masters Division, which is for drivers who are over 40.

"It's a lot of fun being out here and racing against those guys," Rose said. "This is a fun sport, a lot of fun to get involved and be around."

Rose first got into racing through a friend, Semi-Pro Division competitor Sean Davis.

Throughout his wrestling career, Rose worked in several territories of the old National Wrestling Alliance, the American Wrestling Association based out of Minnesota, and the Atlanta-based World Championship Wrestling.

Along the way, he was a co-holder of the AWA World Tag Team Title, the Florida Tag Team Title and the Southeastern Tag Team Title, among other titles.

As a member of the Midnight Express with Dennis Condrey, he worked with one of the industry's most colorful personalities, manager Jim Cornette.

"He was an entertainer and he did his job well," Rose said.

One of the things he enjoyed about wrestling was the travel. In addition to touring throughout the United States, he made several international trips including Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Korea.

"I traveled all over the world on their money," he said.

Even though Rose spent much of his wrestling career as a bad guy, he is much different in real life.

Rose, a Forest Park resident who owns R&R Lifts, has long been involved in many charities including Jerry Lewis' annual telethon for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and Atlanta deejay Rhubarb Jones' March Across Georgia.

"I was a bad guy back then, but I don't like to talk about it too much now because of the work I do with the Jerry Lewis telethon," he said. "You have to be a good guy to do that kind of stuff."

Mid-season points report: The Thursday Thunder 2003 season is at the mid-way point with five races to go and several points races are beginning to take shape.

Going into tonight, the closest points championship race is in the Pro Division as Doug Ludwig holds a two-point lead over Chris Dilbeck.

Doug Stevens is six points back and Andy James ranks fourth and is 12 points out of the lead.

In the Masters Division, Skip Nichols holds a six-point lead over Mark Wallace and in the Semi-Pro Division, Bubba Harry leads Jeremy Kalina by six points.

In the Bandits Division, Casey Roderick claimed the points lead last week after denying Hunter Robbins of his fifth-straight win. Roderick leads Robbins by six points.

In the Roadsters Division, Kyle Beattie leads Jim Gresham by six points and in the Chargers Division, Vince Ponder leads Nathan Perkins by six points.

Ponder's brother-in-law Darrell Banks is the points leader in the Outlaws Division. Last year, Ponder was the Outlaws points champion.

In the Young Guns Division, Trey Maughan stands on top of the season points standings.