By Anthony Rhoads
Current NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Joey Clanton isn't the only Thursday Thunder alumnus to move up in the racing world.
Saturday, a few former Thursday Thunder drivers were on hand to watch for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck race and afterwards, they stayed around to see Legends, Bandolero and Roadster races on Atlanta Motor Speedway's quarter-mile track.
In 2001, Michelle Theriault became the first female to win a championship (Young Lions) at Atlanta Motor Speedway's Thursday Thunder summer racing series. She eventually moved up to late models and raced competitively at Lanier Speedway last year.
Now, she is driving on the Hooter Pro Cup Series.
In her debut race a month ago in Lakeland Fla., she finished 30th.
"I couldn't have asked for a better deal," she said. "They've been really supportive and they believe in me. They've been very supportive about having a woman driver. I was concerned at first because it's Hooters but they've been great."
Her next race is coming up March 20 in New Smyrna Beach, Fla.
David Ragan, a former Eagle's Landing High School student and former Thursday Thunder champion, finished 25th at an ARCA race last month at Daytona and plans to race April 9 at Nashville.
He's also working on a deal to race in the Craftsman Truck Series. That's not too bad for a kid who is a senior in high school.
"I've been approved for a Craftsman Truck license," he said. "I think we will be in a truck for the Martinsville race in April."
Even though he's moved to Charlotte to be closer to the race teams there, he still has a fondness for the Legends racing at AMS. Ragan won the Thursday Thunder Semi-Pro championship in 2000.
"We've come a long way from the quarter-mile track," Ragan said. "We had some good times here and got to know some good people here."
Ragan's father, Ken is a former Winston Cup driver and is currently working for 600 Racing. The elder Ragan also was the director of the Legends of Georgia before moving to Charlotte.
"He's been very important to me; he knows what to do and what not to do," the younger Ragan said. "He's helped me out a lot and he's knows a lot of people who can help me in racing."
Joey Logano, a two-time Thursday Thunder champion, is planning to run some late model races in the Southern All-Stars and the American Speed Association.
Doug Stevens, a four-time Thursday Thunder Pro Division champion, hopes to run some ASA and ARCA races this year but has a common problem among race car drivers.
"We don't have any money," Stevens said.
Stevens, a 1995 Forest Park High School graduate and former Georgia Tech student, has raced competitively in limited ASA and ARCA events, including one top-10 finish in an ARCA race at Atlanta.
Stevens also owns and operates Advanced Technology Motorsports in Lovejoy.
Reed Sorenson, who won three Thursday Thunder championships in three different divisions, is in his first year of a developmental contract with Chip Ganassi racing.
Sorenson, the 2003 ASA Rookie of the Year, plans on running a full ASA schedule this season. He also plans to pull double duty at AMS this fall as he plans to race in the ASA event and in the Busch Series race.