Jensen Jorgensen of Stockbridge won the Outlaws division featured race at Atlanta Motor Speedway’s Thursday Thunder for his first victory of the season. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)
HAMPTON — It didn’t take Skip Nichols long to get his 51st career win at Atlanta Motor Speedway’s Thursday Thunder.
The Albany native used two late caution flags to his advantage as he won the Masters division for the second time this season.
Nichols, the grassroots racing series’ all-time winningest driver, was in the eighth position but was able to move up to third before a caution came out midway through the race. Restarting from the outside, Nichols and Bill Plemons Jr. of Locust Grove made contact in turn one before Nichols slipped to the front and held the lead to the checkered flag as he added to his points lead.
“Bill has really stepped up, and he is definitely one of the ones to beat this season,” Nichols said.
Doug Stevens, who does the setup for Nichols’ car, said that the driver’s experience has played a big key in his two early wins in the 10-week racing series.
“We didn’t do a lot of work on the car,” Stevens said. “Doug is an experienced driver, and the new format is tailored to his style.”
“It was sort of hairy out there on the track,” Nichols said. “When the race started, I lost my radio communication. On the second restart, I took the outside and that is what helped me get the win. This division is really strong this season.”
It was the second straight week that Plemons was second after leading the field most of the race. In the first race of the season back on May 17, Plemons made a mistake passing a lap car that cost him the race.
“I’ve got that victory taste in my mouth, but I just can’t swallow it,” Plemons said after the race. “I tried to put a bumper on him to let him know I was right on him.”
Scott Mosley of McDonough was third and Tina Johnson was fourth.
“He has that lucky rabbit in his car,” Mosley joked. “Skip is always tough. When you have a good car, and experience, it definitely helps.”
In the Outlaws division, Jensen Jorgensen made a late push to win his first race of the season. The Stockbridge resident was challenged all race by runner-up Joshua Hicks, Chase Purdy, who finished third and fourth-place finisher Ashton Winger.
Jorgensen held a commanding lead through the midpoint of the race, but a caution on lap 11 bunched up the field. The foursome battled over the final eight laps of the race as they exchanged the lead from corner to corner around the track. Jorgensen slipped underneath Hicks in turn one on the white flag lap and drove to the checkered flag for the win.
Woodrow Mullis led from flag to flag in the Young Lions feature. With the win, Mullis added to his points lead in the division.
R.S. Senter of Hall County started in the sixth position, but needed just three laps to move to the front of the pack as he passed pole sitter Bailey Woodall of McDonough. It was his second win of the season.
“We have a good car,” said Senter, who won his seventh straight race at the track dating back to the Winter Flurry series.
“He has gotten more seat time, which has really helped,” Senter’s crew chief Paul Kelly said. “With each win, he is gaining a lot of confidence.”