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Winger looking for first division title

Photo by Derrick Mahone
Ashton Winger is the points leader in the Outlaws division at Thursday Thunder.

Photo by Derrick Mahone Ashton Winger is the points leader in the Outlaws division at Thursday Thunder.

HAMPTON — Ashton Winger knows the feeling of finishing second in the Thursday Thunder points standing.

For the last two seasons at Atlanta Motor Speedway’s grassroots racing series, he has taken the runner-up points.

If the Fayetteville native can hold his position during the final five races, he will be able to experience life on top in the points standing.

Winger has accumulated 485 points in five races with three wins.

“I’m real pleased at the job he has done,” said Winger’s father and crew chief, Gary Winger. “He is doing a good job.”

The younger Winger just needs to keep that pace in the next five races to bring home the points championship. He is being pressed in the Outlaws division by Joshua Hicks, who also has 485 points and Chase Purdy, who is 18 points out of first place. Jensen

Jorgenson is fourth in the points standings at 431 points and Alton Clark is in fifth with 442 points.

Ashton expects a tight race from his fellow competitors in the final weeks.

“It is pretty cool leading the points right now, but I know there is a lot of competition out there,” he said. “There are plenty of good races in our division. I think everyone out there is real good.”

But that doesn’t mean that Winger isn’t confident in himself and his No. 12 car to finish on top.

“I think I have a lot of confidence,” he said. “My dad is a big reason for it. He pushes me to be the best and never give up. I believe in what we are doing.”

And he is hoping that will translate into a division title.

Winger and the rest of the competitors will have to be on top of their game the next couple of weeks. Because of inclement weather on Thursday, track officials will have to run double feature races the next two weeks to get back on schedule.

Last season, Winger finished runner-up in the 10-week racing series, but grabbed two checkered flags. He was also runner-up in 2011 with only one win. Each of those runner-up finishes came in the Bandits division.

In 2010, his first year in racing Thursday Thunder, Winger was sixth in the Bandits division.

But he has been a champion at AMS, capturing the 2012-13 Winter Flurry Championship in the Outlaws division.

“He has been successful because of his hard work,” Gary Winger says of his son. “It has been a little surprising that he is leading the points because there are four or five cars out there that could win it. We knew it was going to be a lot of competition. We just have to massage some little things here and there to stay competitive.”