HAMPTON, Ga. — Sunny, cold and windy conditions met racers on the quarter-mile “Thunder Ring” for the fifth event of the seven-week Winter Flurry racing season at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Legends and bandolero drivers in attendance worked to improve their positioning in the points standings as the winter racing season moved another week closer to its end on March 23.
The afternoon’s action started with the Young Lions feature, and it began with Woodrow Mullis on the pole. A wreck in the first turn between Dylan Murry, Megan Younginer and Tripp Gerrald would lead to a full-field restart, as the first lap had not yet been completed.
Like the previous attempt, Mullis would shoot out ahead of the pack to lead them around the quarter-mile. But Mullis wouldn’t run away from the pack, as Alex Coffey and Madeline Crane applied heavy pressure for the point. With nine laps compete, Coffey was finally able to ease underneath Mullis and get the lead, with Crane following closely behind for second. The top-three had pulled away from the rest of the field at the halfway point, making it a three-car race for the podium positions.
It was then Coffey’s turn to feel pressure from behind, and with 13 laps in the books, Crane took advantage of Coffey sliding wide exiting turn four to get out front. Mullis would move back to second and try to challenge for the lead. With four laps left, Mullis made an attempt to get underneath Crane in turn two, but had to let off the accelerator to avoid contact.
In the process, Coffey made contact with Mullis from behind, spinning both drivers and putting the field under the yellow flag. Mullis would continue the race from the rear of the field, but Coffey would head to the garage with damage. The race would restart with Crane leading Gerrald, who had recovered from the first-lap incident he was involved in. He would have nothing for Crane, as she would score her fourth win in five attempts, and extend her lead in the points standings in the process.
Chandler Smith would pace the Bandits to the green flag for the start of their feature. Smith would lead the first lap, but would give way to Connor Younginer for the second circuit. It wouldn’t take long for Smith to find his way back out front, as he would move back past Younginer to lead lap three. With 13 laps complete, Nathan Jackson went for a solo spin in turn two, placing the field under caution. The field would bunch up for the restart, but Smith would flex his muscle again and pull away, easily cruising to the win. Smith has now won all five of the Winter Flurry events to this point, and leads in the points standings.
The combined Masters and Pro feature had Ed Clark pacing the field to the green flag, with Evan Bell starting as the top Pro driver in the third row. Clark got away from the field early on, but Bell moved through the field and slowly began to reel Clark in by the race’s halfway point, with Clark feeling heavy pressure at the crossed-flags. Two laps after halfway, Bell moved inside Clark and went to the lead. Clark then fell into the clutches of Shaun Buffington, who battled him for second and moved past for the position a few laps later. Bell would roll on to capture the win, his third-straight, with Clark finishing as the top Masters driver. Both drivers lead their respective division’s points standings.
Amber Fleeman began the Semi-Pro feature out front. Trevin Aswarnauth used his outside-pole starting position to jump outside of Fleeman and get out front on the first lap. Fleeman would battle Riley Thornton for a few laps, but Thornton would clear her for second and close in on Aswarnauth. The following lap, Thornton would go past Aswarnauth and become the leader. No one would have anything for Thornton, who would claim his fifth-straight win, extending his lead in the points standings with the victory.
To finish the day’s action, the Outlaws feature opened with Ashton Winger on the point. Winger pulled away from the field early, but by halfway Joshua Hicks and Jenson Jorgensen had closed in for a top-three breakaway. Jorgensen moved past Hicks for second with four laps remaining and would begin to heavily pressure Winger for the lead. Coming to get the white flag, Jorgensen moved inside Winger and ran side-by-side through the final lap. In the final corner, Winger got a big run on the high line exiting turn four and held off Jorgensen to grab the win by a nose, his third win in as many races. The closest points battle in this year’s Winter Flurry remains in the Outlaws division, as Winger entered the day tied with Hicks for second in the standings, both trailing Jorgensen by three points for the top spot. The victory will move Winger and Jorgensen into a tie atop the division’s points standings as they race for an overall points championship, with Hicks lurking just six points out of the lead.