From staff reports
With three wins, nine top-10 and six top-five finishes in just three races, it is not a stretch to say that the newest talent to hit the Legends Semi-Pro division at Atlanta Motor Speedway's Thursday Thunder has been dominant.
For Casey Roderick, Kyle Fowler, Tina Johnson and Taylor Hull, moving up from the Bandolero Bandits and dominating the Semi-Pro Legends series has not come without proper preparation.
Modeled after the race cars driven by legendary NASCAR drivers Curtis Turner, Fireball Roberts and Banjo Matthews, a Legends car, because of high horsepower and low weight, can be quite a challenge to drive.
"Driving a Legends car is definitely a lot more difficult than driving a Bandolero," said Semi-Pro series rookie Tina Johnson. "The horsepower is so much greater and traction is a major issue in a Legends car."
To help drivers develop the necessary skills required to drive a Legends car, a Bandolero car was designed with less horsepower to help competitors learn how to drive a race car.
"A Bandolero is an excellent teaching tool for people wanting to learn how to drive a race car," said Peter Horne, director of Legends Cars of Georgia. "Seat time is another critical element and just getting to turn laps goes miles in the development of a driver."
A lot of the success that Roderick, Johnson, Hull and Fowler have enjoyed this year can be attributed directly to their experiences driving a Bandolero.
"Bandoleros don't have the horsepower that a Legends car has and it really teaches you to drive mistake free," Roderick said. "If you bog the engine down, it takes a while to recover and get back up to speed. Even though a Legends car has tons of power, to be competitive, you still have to drive it mistake free."
Roderick, Fowler, Hull and Johnson will all make a strong run for the points championship this year as they currently sit first, second, fifth and ninth in the points standings.