0

Drag racing hits its stride at AMS

From Staff Reports

Featuring ties in three divisions and nine classes with points races of four marks or less, points have become critical at Atlanta Motor Speedway's Friday Night Drags as competitors fight for a 2010 championship.

Week seven of Friday Night Drags will likely break ties in divisions and see additional points races tighten in Atlanta Motor Speedway's 15 classes of straight-line speed on the track's eighth-mile drag strip. In addition to the drag racing actions, week seven will feature a Burn-Out Contest and the Show-N-Shine car shows with six classes of show cars, plus President's Choice and Student Choice awards.

Three Points Races Tied Entering Week Seven.

With championship points at a premium on the drag strip, three Friday Night Drags classes enter week seven with tied for first place. The Domestic, Sportsman and Super Bike classes all feature ties with the top competitors holding six points and week seven's event will likely break the stalemate in each division.

An infusion of new talent has led to first-time leaders in Atlanta Motor Speedway's Domestic class, with Butch Lashley (McDonough) and Gene Daniel (Lawrenceville) holding first place with six points apiece. Daniel has one win during the 2010 season, but Lashley has claimed a second and third-place finish on the year.

While newcomers hold the lead among Domestics, familiar faces Scott Bates (Locust Grove) and Joey Stone (Forest Park) sit tied for first in the Sportsman division with six points each. A year after both drivers finished tied for 10th among Sportsman with eight points, each driver has fared much better in the 2010 season. Bates has one win in 2010, his first-ever Friday Night Drags victory, while Stone has used a second and third-place finish to secure his position.

Among Super Bikes, a pair of 2010 race winners sit tied for first with six points. Mason Mercure (Fairburn) recorded the first Super Bike points win of 2010, his best-ever Friday Night Drags finish after a pair of second-place showings in 2009, and has six points on the season. Meanwhile, Derrick Burr (Rex) is tied for first after winning the most-recent points event after appearing in just one 2009 Friday Night Drags event.

Including these division, nine Friday Night Drags classes feature points races of four points or less for first place.

Week Seven Entertainment: Burn-Out Contest, Master Sergeant Calhoun to Sing Anthem

Friday Night Drags seventh week will feature a Burn-Out Contest for intermission entertainment between drag elimination runs.

A select group of Friday Night Drags competitors and Show-N-Shine entrants will participate in the Burn-Out Contest. A trophy will be awarded to the winner of the contest as judged by fan applause. The first competitors to enter the Burn-Out Contest at the Friday Night Drags registration table will be eligible for the event, but entry is limited to a select number of competitors.

In addition to the Burn-Out Contest, Master Sergeant Christopher Calhoun will sing the National Anthem at Friday Night Drags. Calhoun is a 16-year veteran of the Air Force stationed at Eglin Air Force Base in Valparaiso, Fla. and has worked as a crew chief on the F-15 and now the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter. He has served the Air Force overseas in England and South Korea and has performed the Anthem at official military functions and ceremonies.

After week seven's entertainment, week eight of Friday Night Drags on July2 will feature a spectacular fireworks display to celebrate Independence Day. The extensive fireworks display will be the largest and best on Atlanta's south side and parking is free for the event.

Show-N-Shine Special Class: Hot Rod Heaven

Hot Rods will be featured during week seven's Show-N-Shine car show at Friday Night Drags, as Atlanta Motor Speedway's NASCAR Nationwide Garage is transformed into Hot Rod Heaven for the week's special Show-N-Shine class. Hot Rod enthusiasts are encouraged to bring their show vehicles for this event, which includes participation in the track cruise on Atlanta Motor Speedway's 1.54-mile quad oval.

In addition to the Hot Rod Heaven special class, trophies will also be awarded in the six weekly Show-N-Shine classes and awards will also be presented for the President's Choice and Student Choice categories.

Upcoming special Show-N-Shine classes include: Harley-Davidson Motorcycles on July 2; a Ford Owners Rally on July 9; and a Mopar Owners Rally on July 16.

The 2010 Friday Night Drags season will run on Friday nights through Sept. 10. Practice drag runs begin at 6:15 p.m. and grandstand gates open at 6:30 p.m. Show N' Shine car show judging begins at 6:30 p.m. with the drag eliminations starting at 9:19 p.m.

All racers ages 16 and 17 must have a fully-executed minor's release form on file at the speedway prior to competition (forms available at the Speedway or at www.atlantamotorspeedway.com). Competitors must wear a DOT-approved helmet and have operational seat belts in their vehicle and pass a pre-race safety inspection.

Entry to drag race or for the Show N' Shine is $20 or competitors can enter both for $30. Spectator admission is only $7 and exterior parking is free, while infield parking is $20.

For more information about drag racing at AMS, contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211 or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.