Summer series set to kick off tonight

From staff reports

Thursday Thunder took on a literal meaning as rain and thunderstorms pounded Atlanta Motor Speedway on Thursday evening, postponing the opening round of the 2005 racing series.

What was previously slated as week two of competition, now becomes the first week for drivers to earn series points. Heat races for this week will start according to last week's lineup, and any additional competitors added this week will line up at the back of the field. Last week's opening night of racing sponsored by Papa John's Pizza now moves to the season finale event.

Atlanta Motor Speedway officials made the decision to postpone the night of racing due to wet weather conditions. Speedway officials were optimistic last Thursday as the weather looked like it might cooperate and allow for racing under the lights. Several practice rounds were completed before rain made the racing surface undriveable.

"We never want to cancel a practice or postpone an event," said Brandon Hutchison, director of events for Atlanta Motor Speedway. "But we have to keep the safety of the fans and competitors in mind, and the weather wasn't working with us Thursday night."

The 10-week Thursday Thunder season is now extended through Aug. 11.

Is your pastor fast enough for a good cause?: Tonight, Mid-State RV presents Faster Pastor, a race pitting pastors from local churches against each other for bragging rights.

Canned goods will be collected as fans enter the gates, and the congregation that collects the most cans wins their pastor the pole position for the intermission race. All canned goods collected will be donated to a local food pantry. To show their support, congregations will wear their church colors.

The competing pastors for this week's intermission race are: Ken Adams, Crossroads Church; Steve Stewart, Oakhill Baptist Church; and Steve Bechnull, First Baptist Church of Hampton.

Ticket info: Tickets for Thursday Thunder are available at Gate 13 (frontstretch Champions Grandstand) on event nights. Parking is free. Spectator gates open at 6 p.m. with preliminary action beginning immediately. Feature racing begins at 7 p.m.