HAMPTON, Ga. — The 14th season launched with eight classes of feature racing, first time winners and one competitor continuing to set Thursday Thunder history.
Bill Plemons, Jr. started out front for the Masters feature. On the first lap in the third turn, Skip Nichols hooked the rear of Plemons turning him around and giving Nichols the lead. Nichols led every circuit to post his 30th career Thursday Thunder win and continue to stretch his lead of having the most Thursday Thunder wins in the series history.
Zach Leonhardi paced the field to the green for the Papa John’s Bandits feature. On lap three in the third turn, Joshua Hicks got a nose to the inside of Leonhardi to nab the top spot. Two laps later, Hicks made contact with Connor Younginer, giving the lead to Ashton Winger. Hicks worked his way up and on lap 13, used lapped traffic to pass Winger. Seven laps later, Hicks captured his first career Thursday Thunder trophy.
The Semi-Pro feature got underway with Jordan Coker as the leader. William Plemons III shot to the front on lap one and led every lap to seize the win.
Josh Ballard kicked off the Buzz Cars feature as the point man. Alan Nolan in homage to the No. 10 Nesquik paint scheme got up to the front quickly. Debris on lap six brought out the caution flag, bunching up the field. Michael Karp muscled his way to the lead on lap eight. Dave Sherman and Karp swapped the lead back and forth for the remaining laps and on the last lap, Sherman drove it in deep for the lead, but ended up making contact with Buddy Brewer and allowing Michael Karp to snag the win.
The Young Lions feature opened with Justin Thomas in the lead. By the time the first circuit was turned, Josh Morris was the point man. Morris was penalized two positions for scrubbing his tires under caution, so Benjamin Rhodes inherited the lead. On the last lap, Morris nudged Rhodes to make the pass and stole the win. It was Morris’ first Thursday Thunder win in his first start in the series.
James Meredith started out front in the Roadsters feature, but on the first lap, Taylor Hull became the race leader as Meredith had trouble with his car. On lap 11, Nichols used his bumper to get by Hull and collect the win. Nichols used two bump and runs during week one to pad his records in the Thursday Thunder history books, picking up his 31st career Thursday Thunder trophy.
The Outlaws feature began with Madeline Crane on the pole. Early on, Parker Barnes stole the top spot from Crane. Tyler Mosley and Taylor Jorgensen spun in turn two on lap 13, bringing out the caution. On the restart, Barnes remained in control and went on to score his second career Thursday Thunder victory.
Darrell Wallace took the green flag to initiate the Pro feature. Around lap nine, the top five cars were swapping positions and battling hard for position. Wallace continued to hold the field off, grabbing his first Legends win at Thursday Thunder after a five-year hiatus from competition.