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THURSDAY THUNDER: Week two news and notes

Rachel Conaway, 16, of Griffin, was one of the first to take a few practice laps in her Pro Stock car Wednesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Rachel Conaway, 16, of Griffin, was one of the first to take a few practice laps in her Pro Stock car Wednesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Week one of the 2012 Thursday Thunder racing series at Atlanta Motor Speedway got off to a rousing start last week, with two first-time winners making their way to victory lane. Drivers from nine different states traveled to AMS to take part in the season opener for the 15th season of Thursday Thunder racing. This week, the racing intensity will turn up a few notches as in addition to the regular program, Pro Stock Hobby Cars will do battle on the quarter-mile “Thunder Ring.”

This year’s addition of double-file restarts via the “Choose Your Lane” rule enhanced the excitement of the racing last week, with each restart bringing close-quarters racing and the occasional bumping and banging. With one week of the nine-race season in the books, each driver in every division will be looking to improve upon last week’s racing fortunes as it is never too early to be concerned about points positioning and the chase for the ever-elusive season points championship.

Several drivers turned in very dominant performances last week, giving the other drivers in those respective divisions a clear idea of who could be the top dog in 2012. Quickly learning who the driver to beat also allows the other drivers to gear up and know who they need to be beating on a weekly basis. Skip Nichols, Joshua Hicks, William Plemons III, Riley Thornton, Taylor Jorgensen, Mason Massey and Buddy Brewer all took home checkered flags last week, and the field will surely be gunning for each driver in week two.

Thirsty Thursday

Thursday Thunder has another special treat for fans this week as Thirsty Thursday debuts for 2012. Customers will have the opportunity to enjoy a dollar concession menu featuring 12-ounce cans of Coca-Cola products, assorted candy, bags of chips and hot dogs for only $1. Beer will also be available for purchase for just $2.

Included with the low price of admission, Thirsty Thursday only adds to the unbelievable value of racing and family-friendly activities for all age groups. A family of four with two children under the age of five can attend Thursday Thunder, with each family member enjoying a hot dog and Coca-Cola for just $20!

Entertainment and prizes

Included with the racing and entertainment are concourse activities and weekly driver autograph sessions. Weekly entertainment includes the kids’ candy and coin scramble, favorite sports team uniform night, the Papa John’s Pizza Fireworks Extravaganza on July 4, Thirsty Thursdays, classic race car displays from the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame, Pro Stock Hobby Car racing, Thunder Roadster racing, School Principal Races, the annual Faster Pastor race between local church leaders and more.

Fans in attendance each week can enter to win weekly NASCAR ticket giveaways with a grand prize to be drawn on championship night, July 26. Each week through July 19, one fan will win two tickets to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Friday, Aug. 31. During the July 26 Thursday Thunder, one lucky fan will win a trip to all three days of racing under the lights at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Aug. 31-Sept. 2. The grand prize winner will receive two tickets to each night of racing at AMS, weekend parking, two weekend pit passes and two pre-race party passes to the Fast Cars & Guitars pre-race concert featuring Montgomery Gentry. Fans can register each night at the information booth on the concourse.

Fans of all ages have extra incentive to be at Thursday Thunder this year. Kids can join the free Monkey Wrench Club and by showing their membership card each week at Thursday Thunder, card holders can receive a stamp that can entitle them to a free ride in the pace car at the end of the Thursday Thunder season. Kids must attend at least eight of the Thursday Thunder races to receive the pace car ride.

Adults may also get in on the fun by receiving their own Thursday Thunder card and getting it stamped each week. Adults who receive at least seven stamps during the Thursday Thunder season will earn a free NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race ticket for Friday, Aug. 31.