Special to the Daily

Nichols Continues Run Through the History Books

Albany native Skip Nichols is no stranger to Thursday Thunder on the quarter-mile Thunder Ring at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Having competed at Thursday Thunder since 1998, Nichols races in both the Masters and Thunder Roadsters Divisions and is among one of the most successful racers in the history of Thursday Thunder.

Last week, Nichols piloted his Roadster to the front early in the feature race and captured his 32nd career Thursday Thunder victory, adding to his all-time wins leader status in the series history.

Nichols, who has won both Thunder Roadster races in weeks one and two, leads the points standings in the Roadster division by nine points over Ed Clark and Taylor Hull, who are tied for second. In the Masters division, Nichols remains in a three-way tie for the points lead with fellow drivers Ed Clark and Terry Mathis.

He has one win thus far in the 2011 campaign. For his Thursday Thunder career, Nichols has recorded 27 victories in the Masters division with five victories in the Roadster division. Nichols became the all-time Thursday Thunder wins leader last season.

He is a five-time champion in the Masters division.

Belly Flop Contest is This Week's Featured Intermission Entertainment:

Fans attending this week's Thursday Thunder will also be treated to some cooled off entertainment on the Atlanta Motor Speedway frontstretch.

A belly flop contest will highlight the intermission activities this week, with an inflatable pool being brought in for the festivities.

A few fans will be selected from the crowd in attendance and the most entertaining flop will be chosen by fan applause. In addition, if 3,000 fans attend this week, the male public address announcer will call one of Thursday night's races from the grandstands wearing a pink tutu. This week's activities are sure to excite the crowd. Next week's entertainment will feature the "Faster Pastor" race.

Local area pastors will race against each other with their congregations in the stands cheering them on. Participating churches include: Royal Baptist Church in Newnan, First Baptist Church in Barnesville, First United Methodist Church of Barnesville, Shiloh Baptist Church in McDonough, Union Baptist Church in Griffin and Turning Point Church in McDonough.

Buzz Cars Becoming Fan Favorite

While all eight divisions of action provide fantastic entertainment, the one of the most popular divisions among the fans appears to be the Buzz Cars. Possibly the best description of these passenger vehicles turned racing machines is that they are not race cars, but rather cars that you race.

With handling generally lacking on these cars, a premium is put on the ability of the driver to hustle their automobile around the quarter-mile. It is not uncommon for the Buzz Cars to enter the corners two-and-three wide, slide into each other and make contact while racing for position. While bumping and banging may be typical, often times the cars are able to drive on without incident. This ability to race hard without crashing is an intriguing angle of the Buzz Car racing, which thrills the crowd. And possibly the best part of the Buzz Car racing is that with a passenger car meeting specifications and a minimal financial investment, an enthusiast can go from spectator to participant. In week one, Michael Karp from Woodstock claimed victory in the feature. Week two saw Dave Sherman from Monroe win in his machine. Karp and Sherman are currently tied for the points lead.

Featuring a full slate of short-track racing, Thursday Thunder is an affordably priced activity that offers something for spectators of all ages. Tickets are just $6 for adults and $2 for children 6-11 (ages 5 and under are free) for each evening of family fun and grass roots racing. Gates open at 6 p.m., heat races start at 6:15 p.m. and feature races start at approximately 7:50 p.m. For more information about Thursday Thunder, contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211 or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com .