Photo by Derrick Mahone
Skip Nichols of Albany, who leads the Pro division in points, checks his equipment inside of his car as grandson, Wilder Etheredge, looks on. Wtheredge, 7, serves as Nichols unofficial crew chief on race days.
Racing fans will be treated to two nights of grass-roots racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway this week on the quarter-mile Thunder Ring.
In addition to Thursday’s regularly scheduled racing night of Thursday Thunder, a special Independence Day race will take place tonight at the track. Following the full schedule of racing tonight, there will be a fireworks show at the track.
There will be plenty of incentives offered to drivers and fans at the track the next two days.
Drivers participating in Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Big Money 100 on Tuesday night and both nights of Thursday Thunder will be competing for some big prizes that will be awarded to the top-three cumulative points earners from all three nights of racing at the two tracks.
The first place driver will win an engine rebuild, second place will win a new set of tires and third place will earn a firesuit and helmet.
Fans cans also win on tonight and Thursday as $20 gift cards to Papa John’s Pizza and O’Reilly Auto Parts will be given away as part of the grandstand activities. Plus, each division winner on Wednesday and Thursday will one of each gift card presented to them in Victory Lane.
Also on Thursday is the return of “Thirsty Thursday” with several concession items being sold for a dollar.
Roadsters return to AMS
For the first time this season, the Roadster division will be raced at AMS. Thunder Roadster cars are open-cockpit cars with a long wheel base offering fans a flashback to the look of open-wheel cars raced during the 1950s and 1960s.
The other scheduled date for the Roadster racing will be on July 19.
Roadsters will compete for National Championships during the INEX Asphalt Nationals Oct. 25-27 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Championship races taking shape
Racing on the track is expected to be intense in the last four weeks as the season moves toward the crowning of division champions at season’s end.
Following this week’s doubleheader feature races, just three dates remain on the schedule, raising the sense of urgency for drivers in various divisions to make a step toward a championship or injecting themselves into the mix as a contender.
Three divisions at Thursday Thunder have the leader with an advantage of six points or fewer. The Masters division has been the most competitive to date this summer, with Skip Nichols holding a slim three-point lead over Ed Clark, who is the only Masters driver with more than one victory this summer.
In the Bandits division, Chandler Smith and Ashton Winger are grappling for the lead. Both have led the way this summer with each collecting a pair of feature wins and Winger clinging to a six-point lead.
William Plemons III leads the Semi-pro division by a slim two points ahead of Myatt Snider, with Garrett Smithley in third, 17 points back.