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James talented on track and behind the scene

By Anthony Rhoads

As a mechanic specializing in Legends cars at Advanced Technology Motorsports, Morrow's Andy James has a unique perspective about racing.

James works on many of the cars that are run at Atlanta Motor Speedway's Thursday Thunder summer racing series.

"Half the cars I run against are cars that I set up," James said. "I'm going to set them up just like I set up my car. I don't want an unfair advantage. I feel I should win by running a better race."

James is an accomplished driver himself. He's a former points champion at Senoia Speedway and could be in line for another title there. James is No. 1 in points at Senoia and he is one of the top-ranked drivers in Georgia and in the nation.

James is currently ranked No. 6 in national points in the Pro Division.

"I like having good competition and we're having a pretty good time," he said.

James isn't the only Thursday Thunder regular to be ranked nationally.

Other drivers in the national standings are Hampton's Chris Dilbeck (10th in Pro), Stockbridge's Dwight Pilgram (ninth in Masters), Stone Mountain's Trent Mayo (11th in Young Lions) and Hampton's Kyle Mitchell (third in Bandits).

March Across Georgia: Eagle 106.7 FM's Rhubarb Jones' March Across Georgia will make a stop at Atlanta Motor Speedway tonight to raise money in the fight against leukemia and lymphoma.

The speedway will donate $1 for every paid adult admission and there will be other fund-raising activities as well.

One of the activities will be a ?Throwdown Showdown' celebrity race featuring Jones, Jones' morning co-host Dallas McCade, AMS president Ed Clark and Dawsonville's Dan Elliott.

Last year's stop at AMS raised $4,959 for the March Across Georgia.

Family rivalry: Dilbeck is in the middle of a unique rivalry.

Dilbeck drives two cars, one owned by his mom and one owned by his dad and has been successful in both cars.

In his dad's car, he has won two races and never finished outside the top five at Lanier National Speedway this year. With his mom's car, he won three races at last year and one race this year at AMS.

"It's mostly just a joke but I think sometimes they really want their car to win, so they push me to run better when I'm in their car," he said. "I just go out and run as good as I can and don't really car whose car I'm in."

Thursday Thunder alumni update: Reed Sorenson, a three-time Thursday Thunder points champion, is currently ranked fifth in the American Speed Association national points standings. Sorenson is the leading candidate for this year's ASA rookie of the year award.

He finished seventh Saturday in the ASA Missouri 250 in Odessa, Mo. Sorenson, a Woodward Academy student, lives in Peachtree City but his ASA race team is based out of Forest Park.

Sorenson is in line to move up to the NASCAR Busch Series as he has signed a developmental contract with Ganassi Racing.

Doug Stevens, a three-time Pro Division champ at Thursday Thunder, finished 16th in a USAR Hooters Pro Cup event Saturday in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Stevens still races occasionally at Thursday Thunder and part-time in the ARCA and ASA series.

Joey Clanton, who raced in Thursday Thunder in 1998-99, finished 16th in the Meijer 300 NASCAR Busch Series race Saturday at Kentucky Speedway. Clanton is in his rookie season in the Busch Series and races the No. 27 TrimSpa Pontiac.