From staff reports
Young Guns driver Daniel Moore, 15, has a lot to be excited about these days.
Not only is he in the hunt for his first Thursday Thunder championship, he is also a new uncle.
Baby Dylan, born last Tuesday, is the son of Daniel's older brother Dwayne, who is the front tire carrier for Kevin Harvick's No. 21 Busch Series team.
"It's exciting," said Moore. "I can spoil him and buy him a car when he's old enough."
Moore is also nose-to-nose with competitor Jason Magagna, 15, in the chase for the division championship. After his third-place finish last week, Moore now trails Magagna by just two points.
"I don't want to lead the point standings until the end," said Moore. "I don't want to automatically start the race near the end anymore, I'll let him do that."
Moving on up: After finishing 15th in the Chargers point standings last season, Mary Wilson has made vast improvements. She is now fifth in the points and has finished as high as second in the weekly races.
She almost captured her first win two weeks ago but couldn't close the deal. Despite that, she is hopeful her elusive first win will come before the end of the season
"It takes a lot of fourths and fifths to finally get a win," said Wilson, 19. "Hopefully sooner than later I will get the win that I'm looking for."
One big family: When Young Guns driver Taylor Hull wrecked his new Bandolero car during practice last week, it felt like the beginning of a very long, very bad night.
Hull had just bought the car from another young driver and had turned virtually no laps in the machine before Thursday night's pre-race practice laps. Then, during that short practice session, Hull and another driver made contact, tearing up the new machine.
A visibly distressed Hull carried the tail (back fiberglass portion) back to the garage area after the incident, obviously not expecting to be able to race the rest of the night.
But when Hull returned to the garage, he was greeted by volunteers from six different race teams, who all pitched in to help repair the damaged car.
Representatives from Tina Johnson's team, Chase Moody's team, Ryan Gandee's team, Daniel Moore's team, Jacob and Jordan Grizzle's team and Jody Pilkenton's team all got the car back in working order in time for the heat races. Hull ended up finishing sixth for the night.
Wishing and hoping: With two races to go, Kyle Fowler, 12, hopes he can catch current division champion Casey Roderick, 11, and win the Bandits championship. But time is running out, and Fowler is 21 points back.
Even if he doesn't win the championship, Fowler should be comforted by the knowledge that he is the only driver to beat Roderick, the defending Bandits champion. Fowler has won two races; Roderick has won the remaining six.
Faster Pastor Part II: The second Faster Pastor race of the season will take place this week during intermission of the Thursday Thunder series at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Local pastors from Braelinn Baptist Church and First Baptist Church of Hampton will race beat-up demolition-derby type cars while trying to go for the win. Canned goods are once again being accepted and will be donated to a food pantry of each church's choice.
No stranger to speed: Rick Gandee doesn't need to race to know what it's like to drive fast.
Now a detective lieutenant with the Clayton County Police Department, Gandee spent 13 years on patrol. Some of his worst memories recall high-speed chases and wrecks, including one that he still bears the scars of.
Nine years ago, Rick Gandee was run over by his own police cruiser. Gandee, a part-time Outlaws driver and father/crew chief of Young Guns competitor Ryan Gandee, earned the unfortunate distinction almost a decade ago following a high-speed chase through south Atlanta.
Gandee was on patrol that night when he spotted a car driving erratically. Suspecting a driver under the influence of alcohol, Gandee flipped on his lights and prepared for the routine stop. But instead of pulling over, the suspect took off and led Gandee on a high-speed tour of the south side.
After 10 minutes of zigging and zagging through the city, realizing he would be unable to shake the police officer in a car, the suspect jumped out of the vehicle and tried to escape on foot.
Gandee slammed his own car into park via the gearshift on the column and hopped out of the car, running mightily toward the suspect. He tackled the suspect just down the road and was getting back up just as his own police cruiser rolled down the street and ran right over him.
"As I got up, I could see the headlights coming toward me, but I thought it was my partner," Gandee said. "I put my hand on the car, but it didn't stop coming. Then it just rolled right over me."
Gandee was lucky. He was left with just broken ribs, a badly cut arm and detached right ear. After two weeks in the hospital, Gandee was left with no lasting damage, other than a few scars and a spectacular story.