Points chases heat up with two weeks left

By Anthony Rhoads and Jeffery Armstrong

With just two weeks remaining in the 2004 Thursday Thunder season, several drivers are in some tight races for points championships.

The closest race is in the Young Guns Division with Jason Magagna holding a two-point lead over Daniel Moore. Chase Moody is in third place and is 14 points behind Magagna.

In the Masters Division, Skip Nichols might be in position to win his third points championship but Randy Thornton and Brian Weimer both have a chance to take the crown. Thornton is only four points out of first place and Weimer is five points behind Nichols.

In the Outlaws Division, Trey Maughan leads Tina Johnson by five points and Vince Ponder by 11 points.

In the Roadsters Division, Jim Egloff leads Jim Gresham by 12 points. Twelve points also separate Semi-Pro points leader Chris Cable and Sean ?Flip' Davis.

In the other points races, Chris Dilbeck leads Beau Slocumb by 44 points in the Pro Division, Casey Roderick leads Kyle Fowler by 21 points in the Bandits Division and Todd ?Catfish' Gulledge leads Chris Keir by 25 points in the Chargers Division.

New to Thursday Thunder but very familiar with racing: Chargers Division competitor Justin Rickett, a 2003 graduate of Stockbridge High School and current Clayton State student, is in his first season of Thursday Thunder but has pretty much been around racing his entire life as his uncle Ronnie Sanders is a long-time competitor at short tracks such as Senoia.

"It's tough and there's a lot of competition here," Rickett said about competing at Thursday Thunder. "It's tough but we're trying to learn and trying to do the best we can."

Rickett is definitely out on the track to have fun but if he has a chance to move up, he'll take it.

"It's a hobby but I'd like to get as far as I can," he said. "I just love racing. If I'm racing on Saturday nights on the short tracks, that would be fin with me."

The wall of fame: Hampton native Chris Dilbeck and his sponsor Allan Vigil (of Allan Vigil Ford) are pretty close and they often talk about racing.

"Allan loves racing," said Dilbeck. "He's a big fan."

Vigil has a wall in his dealership that has photos of several racers, from NASCAR competitors to local drivers. Dilbeck recently found his photo on the Vigil Ford wall and was pretty thrilled.

"It's real cool to be on the same wall with great drivers like Bill Elliott and Reed Sorenson," Dilbeck said.

Car of champions: Dilbeck drove former Thursday Thunder champ David Moore's Roadsters car last Thursday and proved he's good enough to win any race. Then again, Moore said that particular car Dilbeck borrowed has been involved in championships in several cities across the Southeast. Moore won the 2001 and 2002 Thursday Thunder points titles in that car as well.