Photo by Heather Middleton
Week six launched the second half of the 2011 Thursday Thunder season at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The on-track action featured two drivers qualifying for the Legends Invitational and one driver logging a perfect season to date. The intermission activity gave young drivers their shot at competing on the "Thunder Ring" with the annual Bike, Trike and Power Wheel races.
The Semi-Pro feature kicked off with Jordan Coker out front. Points leader William Plemons III shot past Coker on lap three after starting from the eight position. Plemons led the remaining laps to post his fourth win in six starts this summer.
Grant Crane paced the field to the start for the Young Lions feature. Alex Coffey got a fender to the inside of Crane, causing Crane to slip to the outside in turns one and two, which allowed Coffey and Anderson Bowen to sneak by. However, Bowen was the leader by the time they completed the second lap. Mason Massey, the points leader, started the feature from the eighth position, but had moved up to second by lap eight. Massey and Anderson were racing side-by-side with Massey on top by lap 15. Massey crossed the finish line first, collecting his fourth feature win in six Thursday Thunder events in 2011.
The Roadsters feature got underway with James Meredith in the lead. Taylor Hull was running up front early, however 2007 Roadsters Champion Dwight Pilgram, substitute driving for points leader Skip Nichols, was glued to his bumper. On lap nine, Pilgram made the pass for the top spot and took Nichols' car to Victory Lane.
John Curtiss was the pole sitter for the Morley Company Outlaws feature. A caution for debris bunched up the field and points leader Parker Barnes made his way to the front to take the lead. Barnes continues to be the class of the field, remaining undefeated with six wins during the Thursday Thunder season.
The combined Pro and Masters feature opened with Jeff Haynie pacing the field to the green flag. Contact in the early laps between Taylor Hull and points leader Sean Rayhall sent both cars to the rear of the field. By lap 13, Rayhall had climbed through the field to the third position, but was unable to advance any further. Jeff Haynie secured the win for the Pro division and Ed Clark was the highest finishing Masters to capture the trophy. With his win, Haynie qualified to compete in the Legends Invitational held on Sept. 2 during the AdvoCare 500 race weekend.
The Papa John's Bandits feature began with Chambers McGilberry on the pole. On the first lap, points leader Joshua Hicks made his charge to the front; all the way from the eighth starting spot. On lap 12, there was a multi-car crash in turns three and four involving leader Barnes, Devon Barnes and Reid Morris. Due to weather nearby, the race was shortened and the win was scored to Ashton Winger, who missed the wreck to cross the finish line first. Winger's victory procured him a starting spot in the Legends Invitational.
The Buzz Cars feature started with Scott Kasparek as the starter. Despite hard racing behind him, Kasparek remained out of reach, leading every lap to claim the win, his second of the season.
Short-track racing returns to Atlanta Motor Speedway on Thursday, July 14 for number seven of the ten-week Thursday Thunder summer short-track racing series. Next week features Dukes of Hazzard Night. Tickets for the affordable, family-friendly racing series costs just $6 for adults, $2 for children ages six through 11 and is free for children ages five and younger. For more information, contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway Ticket Office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS-TIX or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com. For more information on Buzz Cars racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway, contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway Events Department at (770) 946-3954.
To test drive your own Legends machine, or for more information about Legends racing, call Legends of Georgia director Dwight Pilgram at (770) 707-2977 or visit www.legendsofga.com.
1. William Plemons III (Locust Grove), 2. Tyler Armstrong (Senoia), 3. Luke Behnke (Fayetteville), 4. Mike Weed (Franklin), 5. Jordan Coker (Powder Springs), 6. Casey Willingham (Ball Ground), 7. Mark Younginer (Stockbridge), 8. C.J. Pucko (Covington), 9. Hub Talbot (Smyrna).
1. Mason Massey (Douglasville), 2. Anderson Bowen (Suwanee), 3. Grant Crane (Zebulon), 4. Austin Garvey (McDonough), 5. Joey Padgett (Tallahassee, Fla.), 6. Alex Coffey (McDonough), 7. Will Fagan (Cumming), 8. John Tullis (Dacula), 9. Woodrow Mullis (Hoboken), 10. Trevin Aswarnauth (Loganville), 11. Justin Thomas (Woodstock), 12. Evan Bell (Buford).
1. Dwight Pilgram (Stockbridge) substitute driving for Skip Nichols (Albany), 2. Taylor Hull (Winston), 3. Ed Clark (Peachtree City), 4. James Meredith (Locust Grove).
Morley Company Outlaws:
1. Parker Barnes (Roswell), 2. John Holleman (Winston-Salem, N.C.), 3. Taylor Jorgensen (Stockbridge), 4. John Curtiss (Columbus), 5. Riley Thornton (Peachtree City), 6. Tyler Mosley (McDonough), 7. Christopher Clanton (Brooks), 8. Madeline Crane (Meansville), 9. Christian Thom (Peachtree City), 10. Tyler Lester (Dallas), 11. Jenson Jorgensen (Stockbridge), 12. Alton Clark (Newnan).
1. Jeff Haynie (Zebulon), 2. Billy Fulson (Brooks), 3. Sean Rayhall (Winston), 4. Taylor Hull (Winston), 5. Cody Haskins (Marietta).
1. Ed Clark (Peachtree City), 2. Bill Plemons, Jr. (Forsyth), 3. Terry Mathis (Cumming), 4. Tina Johnson (Senoia), 5. Dwight Pilgram (Stockbridge) substitute driving for Skip Nichols (Albany), 6. Brad Shelnutt (Locust Grove), 7. Mark Swan (Athens), 8. Mike Kennedy (Alpharetta), 9. Larry Friddle (Greenville, S.C.).
Papa John's Bandits:
1. Ashton Winger (Fayetteville), 2. Zach Leonhardi (Smyrna), 3. Chandler Smith (Talking Rock), 4. Chase Evans (Auburn), 5. Austin Geer (Johns Creek), 6. Abigail Marin (Peachtree City), 7. Chambers McGilberry (Selma, Ala.), 8. Connor Younginer (Stockbridge), 9. Joshua Hicks (Senoia), 10. Devon Barnes (Roswell), 11. Reid Morris (Carrollton).
1. Scott Kasparek (Sharpsburg), 2. Gary Zajdek (Covington), 3. Michael Karp (Woodstock), 4. Buddy Brewer (Griffin), 5. Josh Ballard (Hampton), 6. Tim Brotzge (Griffin).