HAMPTON, Ga. — The final night of the 2012 summer short-track racing season on Atlanta Motor Speedway’s Thunder Ring showcased the crowning of all the division champions including three first- time Thursday Thunder champions. In addition to all the exciting points battles, fans were treated to the first ever Henry County High School Principal race.
The Pro feature began with Chris Dilbeck on the pole. Ryan Gandee managed to stay glued to Dilbeck’s bumper lap by lap, but he was never able to get by the pole sitter. Dilbeck posted his 17th career Thursday Thunder win. Douglasville’s Mason Massey collected his third Thursday Thunder title, but first time in the Pro division.
Joey Padgett took the green flag to set off the Shane’s Rib Shack Young Lions feature. On lap one, points leader Evan Bell shot to the lead. Two laps later, Padgett fought his way back to the front. Ryan Shattuck took over the top spot on lap four, with Bell hot on his heels. On lap ten, the two were inches apart at the start-finish line, with Bell just a nose ahead. Bell managed to stay out front to capture the win and his first Thursday Thunder Legends championship; he won a Bandolero title in 2009 in the Young Guns division.
The Racing Radios Bandits feature started with points leader Chandler Smith out front. Smith was the class of the field, leading every lap to grab the victory and his first Thursday Thunder championship in only his second year in the series. Since Smith’s red car went to Victory Lane, fans can receive fifty percent off online orders with the code 50RED at participating Papa John’s Pizza locations all weekend long
Justin Thomas kicked off the Semi-Pro feature. Points leader Myatt Snider stayed close to Thomas throughout the race. On the last turn of the last lap, Snider got a nose to the inside of Thomas, but was unable to get by. Thomas claimed his fourth win of the summer and Snider’s second-place finish garnered him his first ever Thursday Thunder championship.
The Henry County School Principal race started with Christy Anderson from Woodland Elementary as the leader. Mitch Stephens from Ola Elementary was the early point man, but Henry County High School’s Scott John in the black No. 3 shot to the front, only to spin on his own one lap later. This turned the lead over to Stephens. Union Grove High School’s Tom Smith made a challenge for the top spot, but ended up causing them both to spin out. Jay Fowler from Rocky Creek Elementary School inherited the lead with Stephens and Smith’s incident. Stephens battled back to challenge for the lead, but on the final turn on the final lap, Stephens and Fowler made contact allowing John to sneak by them both and snatch the win. Scott John from Henry County High School won the title of the fastest Henry County Principal.
The Outlaws feature got underway with points leader Taylor Jorgensen in the lead. There was a lot of bumping and banging on the first lap with positions jostling, but by the time the field sorted out, Seth Werner was the leader. Taylor fought her way back to the front by lap 11 to reclaim the lead. Taylor collected her ninth win in the 10-event summer series and captured her first ever Thursday Thunder championship.
Skip Nichols was the pole sitter for the Masters feature. Brian Weimer shot past Weimer on lap one, but on lap two, Nichols sped by him to take back the lead. Ed Clark raced his way past Weimer to take over the second-place position. Weimer stayed glued to Clark’s bumper putting on the pressure lap after lap. Weimer got a nose to Clark’s inside on lap 13 and managed to get by him for second. The caution flag was flown on lap 15 due to a cone lying in the middle of the racing groove. Nichols was the leader for the restart and he led the remainder of the race to post the win. With his second-place finish, Weimer scored his second Thursday Thunder championship, but the first time in a Legends car. His prior championship was the in Roadsters division in 2008.