(Clay Thompson with his winner’s trophy / Photo Credit : Clay Thompson)
HAMPTON, GA (Oct. 31, 2015) – Legends and Bandolero drivers returned to the quarter-mile “Thunder Ring” at Atlanta Motor Speedway and got behind the wheel for an off-season INEX race. Without a series championship on the line, drivers and teams participated in the “Boo-Bash” on Halloween with costumes and an opportunity to have fun with fellow competitors prior to the race. On the track, the competition was fierce as drivers prepared for the Winter Flurry Series which begins November 21st.
A unique format for all divisions was utilized which allowed drivers more feature race laps while affording teams an opportunity to make adjustments mid-race with a break past the halfway point of each race.
With a strong contingent of Beginner Bandolero drivers, Cory Heim of Marietta turned the quickest lap to start on the pole of the feature race. From the point, Heim was able to hold off Carden Cochran of Ringgold for the lead at the end of the first segment of the race through 15 laps. On the subsequent restart of the final 10 lap segment, Heim continued to battle Cochran for the lead. Heim held off the challenge from Cochran over a trio of late race cautions and restarts due to spins in the back of of the field to capture the checkered flag.
Despite a fifth place finish, one of the biggest movers in the Beginner Bandolero feature was Drew Dollar of Atlanta.
“This is my first race on the oval course,” said Dollar prior to the race. “I play football, baseball, tennis and golf, but this is my favorite sport that I’ve ever done, it’s just such an adrenaline rush. With this being my first time on the oval, I’m just trying to go fast but keeping [the car] from spinning out.”
Dollar avoided the late race cautions and finished up three spots from an eighth place start in his first race behind the wheel of a bandolero on the Thunder Ring.
A half dozen Beginner Bandolero drivers competed in a second Beginner Bandolero feature race which included drivers with limited experience behind the wheel. River Allen of Hiram took the checkered flag with Annabelle Mowish of Cumming in second while Shelby Raurk of Swuanne finished third.
The race that saw the most lead changes was the combined Bandits and Outlaws feature. In a four car battle for the lead, Clay Thompson of Bowersville started from the point while Connor Younginer of Stockbridge was second, Nathan Jackson of McDonough was third and Lawson Ingold of Social Circle began fourth. On lap two, Thompson and Younginer were door-to-door down the front stretch. The four broke away from the rest of the field and continued to flip-flop positions until the caution came out on lap 20 to signal the end of the first segment.
When the Bandit and Outlaw drivers returned for the final 10 lap sprint to the finish, Younginer began at the front of the field. As the quartet pulled away again, Ingold got by Thompson on lap 27 for second place while Younginer held on to the lead as they took the checkered flag. Jackson finshed fourth.
The combined 50-lap legends race featured 19 Young Lions/Semi-Pro and Masters drivers. After a slow start to the feature, Will Martin of Douglasville pulled away from the field and took a 10 car length lead on Flowery Branch’s Jeff Holden in second and Dacula’s Amber Fleeman in third early in the race. Martin quickly encountered lap traffic midway through the first segment, but managed to weave his way through the pack and held the lead to the yellow flag at the break. Holden remained in second while Dylan Murry of Cumming was third at the break.
Martin began the final 20-lap segment on the point and was able to hold off the challenge from Holden as he drove to victory lane. Despite three cautions, Martin chose the inside lane each time and could not be overtaken for the lead. The final finishing order saw Murray finish second while Holden was third.
The return of the Winter Flurry Series on November 21st will be the next time drivers take to the quarter-mile Thunder Ring at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Infield admission is available for spectators wishing to watch Winter Flurry racing, and passes may be purchased at the Security Command Building near the Speedway’s main entrance. Infield passes are $12 for adults, $5 for ages six through 11, and children ages five and younger are admitted for free.
To test drive your own Legends machine, or for more information about Legends racing, call Legends of Georgia director Ken Ragan at (770) 707-2977 or visit www.legendsofga.com.
Race Results :
Beginner Bandolero Group #1
1. Cory Heim (Marietta), 2. Dawson Fletcher (Canton), 3. Carden Cochran (Ringgold), 4. Blaze Cerawford (Fayetteville), 5. Drew Dollar (Atlanta), 6. Kenneth Henderson (Alto), 7. Ryan Younginer (Stockbridge), 8. Keaton Hendrix (Homerville), 9. Audrie Ruark (Suwanee), 10. Michael Gannon (Canton), 11. Gage Roberts (Milledgeville), 12. Max Hennibaw (Monroe)
Beginner Bandolero Group #2
1. River Allen (Hiram), 2. Annabelle Mowish (Cumming), 3. Shelby Ruark (Suwanee), 4. Mike Mowish (Cumming), 5. Wil Griffis (Homerville), 6. Cameron Potter (Newborn)
1. Will Martin (Douglasville), 2. Dylan Murry (Cumming), 3. Bailey Woodall (McDonough), 4. Amber Fleeman (Dacula), 5. Nicholas Waters (Senoia), 6. David Lawrence (Senoia), 7. Canan Cochran (Ringgold)
1. Jeff Holden (Flowery Branch), 2. Mark Swan (Atlanta), 3. Brandon Brock (Hampton), 4. Tina Johnson (Senoia), 5. Tony Armbruster (Convington), 6. Randy Shubert (Conyers), 7. Robert Cheney (Stockbridge), 8. Dennis Aiken (Villa Rica), 9. Dennis Hecht (Hoschton), 10. Barry Bowen (Covington), 11. Wes Potter (Covington), 12. Robbie Woodall (McDonough)
1. Clayton Thompson (Bowesville), 2. Nathan Jackson (McDonough), 3. Noah Dominy (Statham)
1. Connor Younginer (Jonesboro), 2. Lawson Ingold (Social Circle), 3. Trey Tadrzak (Stockbridge), 4. Ricky Springer (McDonough)