2013 Thursday Thunder Preview

Queens of the Track

Photo by Derrick Mahone
Tina Johnson of Senoia drives the No. 40 car in the Masters division at Thursday Thunder.

Photo by Derrick Mahone Tina Johnson of Senoia drives the No. 40 car in the Masters division at Thursday Thunder.

In the male dominated sport of auto racing, Thursday Thunder has seen its share of female drivers that have had unparalleled success in the Thunder Ring. As the weekly summer racing series begins on Thursday, there are several female drivers that will compete during the 10-week event. Recently Sports Editor Derrick Mahone spoke with some of the ladies of Thursday Thunder about a variety of topics related to racing. The following is a look at some of the top female racers at Thursday Thunder:


Hometown: Stockbridge

Age: 17

School: New Creation Christian

Racing division: Semi-Pro

Car number: No. 3

Years racing: Six

Biggest challenge in racing: “You have to be smooth and fast. You always want to make it through a race without tearing up your equipment.”

How she got started: “My dad and grandfather all raced. I’ve been around it just about my entire life. I started with go-carts. I’ve always wanted to race.”

Best part of racing: “The speed and the adrenaline you get in being behind the wheel. It feels great when you go out and race your best and win.”

Favorite NASCAR driver: “Jimmy Johnson because he is so amazing. You have to like him because of what he has done in the sport.”

Her take on Danica Patrick: “She is making it in a male dominant sport and that is amazing. Racing is hard to do, and she is doing it well.”

Reaction when people find out you race: “Boys don’t believe me when I tell them that I race. I have to pull out a photo or video to prove it.”

Hobbies: Playing basketball, video editing, website design and shopping.


Hometown: Senoia

Age: 42

Occupation: Custom service representative

Racing division: Masters

Car number: No. 40

Years racing: 12 years

Biggest challenge in racing: “My biggest challenge has come in racing in all the divisions. It is really tough in the Masters division because of all the good drivers.”

How she got started: “I’ve been around racing with my dad since I was 13 at the Senoia Speedway. I finally talked to my husband about getting into racing, and we bought two cars.”

Best part of racing: “Being at Atlanta Motor Speedway because it is such a family atmosphere. I love being around all the kids and watching them grow up and go off and do amazing things.”

Favorite NASCAR driver: “Danica Patrick because so many people are beginning to support her.”

Her take on Danica Patrick: “I don’t totally agree with all the things that she has done, but I believe she has opened some doors. She has the talent to compete.”

Reaction when people find out you race: “They think I’m taking about bike racing. They are like in disbelief that a female can do this, and do it well.”

Hobbies: Shopping, riding four-wheelers, swimming and boating.


Hometown: Peachtree City

Age: 12

School: Woodward Academy

Racing division: Bandits

Car number: No. 10

Years racing: Four

Biggest challenge in racing: “In racing for some people its not to wreck your car. I want it to be fun, and most important, win.”

How she got started: “When Garrett Smithley moved up to the Legends division, we bought his two Bandoleros. I had been thinking about racing for some time, and when this happened, I really got into it.”

Best part of racing: “For me, its having fun with friends on and off the track.”

Favorite NASCAR driver: “Danica Patrick because she is the only girl driver really making it. She has progressed a lot through her career.”

Her take on Danica Patrick: “She is very good at trying to promote the sport. With her success, it has made a big difference for a lot of female drivers.”

Reaction when people find out you race: “I really don’t tell them because they would make fun of it. My closet friends already know.”

Hobbies: Lacrosse, gymnastics, cheerleading, violin.


Hometown: Peachtree City

Age: 15

School: Pike County High

Racing division: Young Lions

Car number: No. 78

Years racing: six years

Biggest challenge in racing: “Keeping your composure when things are not going well. You just have to let things go when you are out on the track.”

How she got started: “My grandfather got me started racing four-wheelers when I was younger. We waited until I was 10 to start me out her.”

Best part of racing: “Getting out there and just racing. It is a good feeling when you do well, and especially when you win.”

Favorite NASCAR driver: “Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Joey Logano, Tony Stewart and Karl Busch. I have so many drivers that I follow.”

Her take on Danica Patrick: “I think she is doing an awesome job. She has the qualities to be a great role model in attracting females to the sport. She is bringing a lot more driving fans.”

Reaction when people find out you race: “They are like, ‘you can’t be a racer because you are a 15-year-old girl’. I really hate it when they think I’m talking about bike racing.”

Hobbies: Soccer, but mostly focusing on racing.


Hometown: McDonough

Age: 14

School: Union Grove

Racing division: Outlaws

Car number: No. 95

Years racing: One

Biggest challenge in racing: “The biggest challenge is to run a clean race against some good competition.”

How she got started: “My uncle and grandfather got me into racing.”

Best part of racing: “ Being in the car and getting the experience it will take to compete.”

Favorite NASCAR driver: “Kasey Kahne because there is just something about him. He has gotten to be one of the better drivers.”

Her take on Danica Patrick: “She has done things that make you want to look up to her. She has set the bar, and we have to hold it up.”

Reaction when people find out you race: “Most don’t believe me. Their reaction is, ‘It’s really, cool to see a girl racer’.”

Hobbies: Singing country music