By Rory Sharrock
Over the 11-year history of Thursday Night Thunder at Atlanta Motor Speedway, there have been a host of child drivers that have made a name for themselves on the track, showing off driving skills well beyond their age.
Some have even gone on to the green pastures of the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series, including David Ragan, Reed Sorenson and Joey Lagano.
Every Thursday night, young racers from all over the southeast come to Henry County to strut their stuff, however, some of the loudest cheers in the stands are for the local youngsters seeking to make their own mark driving their fine-tuned cars on the track.
Although they're a miles away from getting paid to cruise behind the wheel, there are a crop of bright-eyed drivers who are full of ambition and competitive fire when the light turns green and the flag drops at AMS.
Among this group of talented drivers are Alex Coffey, 9, Tyler Moseley, 10, Rawlin West, 15, Ryan Gandee, 16 Taylor Jorgensen, 12, and Mattson Houghton, 12.
Coffey, Moseley and Gandee all hail from McDonough. Jorgenson and Houghton, who were born one day apart, are life-long friends from Stockbridge. West calls Locust Grove home.
All four of the previously mentioned drivers compete in the Bandolero Bandits series, except for West, who drives in the Legends Semi-Pro series and Gandee, who straps up in the Legends Pro series. Bandolero Ba
During last week's action, Gandee had the best finish of all local youngsters, placing fourth in the Charter Communications Pro division.
As they return to the track tonight, the cheers from their neighbors will surly be heard at a high volume as these future stars look to improve their position in the standings.