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Yellow flags usher in Thursday races

By Doug Gorman

Perhaps it was early-season nerves, but the yellow flag made its appearance early and often during the Thursday's Thunder season debut last night.

In just the first two races, the Semi-Pro and Chargers Division, cars, stalled, hit at least six barrels and one car in the Chargers' Division even caught fire, causing smoke to bellow out from all the damage.

It made for a late night of racing as the series kicked off its six season.

Keep your day job: WSB sports anchors Bill Hartman and Chuck Dowdle have spent long careers in Atlanta reporting on every thing from college football to rodeo.

They have even brought Winston Cup action up close and personal to their viewers, Thursday night, the two sports anchors got to play Jeff Gordon as each climbed into Legends' car Thursday night to compete against each other in a celebrity race. Hartman edged his co-worker at the finish line to win the first celebrity race of the year.

The local television journalists then helicopter out of the AMS infield.

After all, somebody had to deliver the sports news on television Thursday night.

The media blitz will continue next week's as the celebrity race pits Kicks Country DJs Bandy and Bailey.

Did you know? Legend driver Michelle Theriault was the first female Thursday Thunder Champion when she captured the Young Lions' Division in 2001. She and fellow driver Cindy Anderson own the track record for wins by a female driver with four. Theriault is now concentrating on the Late-Model racing at Lanier.

Pizza anyone?: This year's race winners in the Thursday Thunder Series won't just be racing for prize money and trophies. They will also win a Papa John's Pizza.

Star-spangled performance: The Lightforce Choir, a youth group from Naples, Fla., entertained the crowd before the race with their rendition of the National Anthem.