THURSDAY THUNDER: Championships to be decided Saturday in season finale

Six new Thursday Thunder champions will be crowned at the end of Championship Night on Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. (Special Photo)

HAMPTON — Drivers will descend on the “Thunder Ring” for a special edition of Championship Night on Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Six different divisions will crown champions for the 2018 season of Thursday Thunder presented by Papa John’s Pizza.

The tightest race is in the Master’s Division between Robbie Woodall of McDonough and Bill Plemons Jr. of Locust Grove as the pair is separated by three points at the top of the standings.

Woodall took the points lead with a victory in Week 9, but a win by Plemons on Championship Night will give him the title.

“The way the points work, it’s all going to come down to the next race either way,” Woodall stated in a press release. “The last week is the week.”

A victory by Plemons and a second-place finish by Woodall on championship night would leave the pair deadlocked at the top of the points standings with an equal number of first- and second-place finishes — but in this scenario, the tie breaker and the title would go to the week 10 winner in Plemons.

“It’s been a great battle all year [with Robbie],” Plemons said. “We haven’t had any troubles and haven’t wrecked each other. We’ve been side by side and giving each other room. He’s a great competitor.”

As long as Woodall can keep Plemons in his rear-view mirror when the checkered flag waives as he crosses the start-finish line, he’ll earn his first ever Thursday Thunder Championship.

The Associates Group Young Lions Division didn’t see any changes at the top of the leaderboard in Week 9 as Ryan Rackley of Valdosta found victory lane for the third time this season.

“Getting the championship in the Thursday Thunder series is more important than getting the national championship points lead by far,” Rackley said following his week nine victory.

Rackely leads Social Circle’s Lawson Ingold by four points and knows he needs to be consistent on Championship Night to claim the title.

Ingold battled Audrie Ruark of Suwanee in third for much of the night, but was able to keep pace with Rackley in the point standings as he finished second. Ingold used a late race caution to scoot by Austin Macdonald to move up a spot and finish behind Rackley.

The VP Racing Fuels Pro Division remains wide open heading into the championship finale. A 16-point swing saw Dawson Fletcher of Canton move ahead of Griffin’s Cody Hall for the division lead. Hall held a commanding 11-point lead entering last week’s action, but a sixth-place finish and just one passing point didn’t help his cause. Fletcher elected to start at the back of the field on the inside of row six and made up nine positions to finish second and earn second place points and nine passing points to inch ahead of Hall by five points for the lead.

Passing points could play a huge role in determining the VP Racing Fuels Pro champion on Saturday night.

Semi-Pro Drivers are chasing Davis Rochester of Lebanon, Tenn. for the title. Rochester won his third feature race of the season last week and holds a 21-point advantage on DJ Canipe of Fallson, N.C.

Kelly Puckett of McDonough has used wins in the first two weeks of the season to build a substantial margin in the Bandits Division. He leads Ryan Younginer of Locust Grove by 27 points heading into championship night.

Blaize Maddox of Locust Grove continues to dominate the GRT Racing Driver Development Outlaws Division as he has found victory lane six times and hasn’t finished lower than third all year. Despite his dominance on the podium this year, he only holds an 18-point advantage on Kenny Brady of Marietta for the division title.

Grandstand admission for the affordable, family-friendly Thursday Thunder Legends Series Presented by Papa John’s Pizza cost just $5 per person, with kids 5 and under admitted free. For more information about both Friday Night Drags and Thursday Thunder, contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS-TIX or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.

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