By Jeffery Armstrong
It's four wins in four weeks of Thursday Thunder racing for Hampton native Chris Dilbeck.
Dilbeck had to come from behind to claim first place in the Don Bell Signs Pro Division race at Atlanta Motor Speedway Thursday. Dilbeck, who started the race in seventh place, used excellent technique to pass the six drivers in front of him en route to his fourth consecutive Thursday Thunder victory.
In fact, it took a precise "bump and run" inside move on Griffin's Jeremy Kalina on turn four of the race's last lap for Dilbeck to earn the win.
"It's fun to win a race in the last second of the last lap," said Dilbeck. "It's also a heartbreaker if you lose a race like that. You have to lose one like that in order to win one like that. Jeremy will probably get a win like that in the future."
Dilbeck, a 2004 Henry County High graduate, seems to enjoy racing from behind. Minutes after the Pro race began, he was fighting with Locust Grove's Brian Meredith for third place. After passing Meredith, Dilbeck set his sights on L.J. Cover of Douglasville. He went under Cover to take second place and all that was standing in the way of the win was Kalina, who led from the start.
Dilbeck stayed behind Kalina until the next to last lap, holding fast to the inside corner. Once the two of them rounded turn three, Dilbeck made his move and passed Kalina on turn four to claim the victory.
A happy Dilbeck did doughnuts in the grandstand area after the win.
"As a racer, you pray for a situation like I had tonight, coming from behind to win at the end," Dilbeck said. "When you get a situation like that, you want to capitalize on it. That's what makes racing fun."
This Thursday Thunder season would be even more fun for Dilbeck if he claims the Pro points championship, his main goal this year. He'd also like to win all 10 Pro races.
"I'm going to try to win all 10, but it will be tough, especially since I'm starting in the back every week," he said. "I really want the championship, though. I've been second or third every year for five years and it would be nice to come out on top this year, even if I don't win every race."
Other Thursday Thunder winners included Kyle Fowler (Atlanta Dental Team Bandolero Bandits), Vince Ponder (Outlaws), Jim Egloff (Roadsters), Sean "Flip" Davis of McDonough (Estes Heating and Air Semi-Pro), Brian Weimer (Tanger Outlet Center Masters), Brad Shelnutt of Stockbridge (Chargers) and Jason Magagna (Bandolero Young Guns). Ponder and Egloff were repeat winners.