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Thursday Thunder roars back into AMS

By Anthony Rhoads

June is here and that means one thing.

Yes, it's time for Thursday Thunder.

This Thursday, Atlanta Motor Speedway will begin its summer racing series and it will continue for 10 weeks until Aug. 7.

Yes, there will be some good racing this summer at Thursday Thunder but you also can't beat the extra entertainment.

For instance, on June 26, there will be a Krystal burger eating contest. You have to admit, it takes a lot of talent and fortitude to wolf down several Krystal burgers during one sitting.

I don't know who will be competing in that event but some ideal candidates could be the 2002 Mt. Zion High School football team's offensive line. Those guys were massive and looked more like college football players rather than high schoolers. One of them also gave one of my all-time favorite quotes. In last December's edition of Mt. Zion's school paper, one of those linemen said that he wanted $50 worth of McDonald's gift certificates for Christmas.

On July 10, there will be a ?Faster Pastor Grudge Match.' I assume in this event, two local ministers will be pitted against each other in a one-on-one Legends race.

Hopefully, it will be a good, cleanly-run race and there will be no Tony Stewart-type antics after the event.

July 24 will feature lawnmower races. One thing is for sure, these racers don't let the grass grow under them; they can really move around the track.

The third-annual mascot race will be July 31. For three years, I have been bugging my sports editor about doing a feature on Monkey Wrench, Atlanta Motor Speedway's mascot.

Every time I bring up the idea, he keeps shooting it down. But now I will finally at least give the multi-talented Monkey Wrench in my column. Monkey Wrench has driving skills (he can drive the Legends pace car), he's acrobatic (he regularly climbs the frontstretch fence at AMS) and he's popular with the kids. What more could you ask for?

Anyway, I finally have gotten Monkey Wrench a mention in my column. So take that, Doug!

Atlanta Motor Speedway president and general manager Ed Clark will be taking off his coat and tie and donning a racing suit.

He will be racing in special events on June 19 and Aug. 7.

On June 19, he takes on Dallas McCade of Eagle 106.7 radio station. On Aug. 7, Clark will race Fox Sports South general manager Hunter Nickell and Fox 5 general manager Gene McHugh.

Yes, it will definitely be an entertaining Thursday Thunder season.

In addition to the extra entertainment, there will be some good racing featuring good drivers and that's what it's all about.

It's not quite the Winston Cup circuit but these guys and gals take it seriously.

Some have aspirations of going to Winston Cup while others are just out there for the sheer enjoyment of it, but they all are competitive and they all love racing.

That is what it is all about.

Anthony Rhoads is a sports writer for The Herald. He can be reached at arhoads@henryherald.com.