HAMPTON, Ga. — The season finale for Thursday Thunder presented By Papa John’s is primed to have a showdown for the premier division championship after Thursday night’s round nine action.
For the second night in a row, Jensen Jorgensen found victory lane in the VP Racing Fuels Pro Division feature, outrunning division leader Joshua Hicks from the pole position to take his third victory of the season. Jorgensen’s victories this week have allowed him to narrow the gap between himself and Hicks to just three points with one race remaining.
“That’s as much as you can ask for, especially with some of the races that didn’t shake out the way I wanted them to this year,” Jorgensen said in victory lane. “We’re here at the end just three points back and I know what I need to do next week and that’s what I’m gonna do.”
While Jorgensen took the victory, Hicks was running just a fraction of a second behind after the 25-lap run to the finish. After Thursday’s runner-up effort, the Senoia driver predicted he and Jorgensen would run close together again on championship night.
“We’re running almost identical right now; he seems to get a jump on the initial start and then we balance out after that,” Hicks said. “I’m very thankful to have the opportunity – I’m just trying to make the most of it and see if we can pull it off.”
“It’s going to be intense,” Jorgensen added regarding the July 18 finale. “We made huge gains going into this week and the car is finally handling the way I want it, so I’m going into next week with confidence.”
The championship picture in the CMS Group Environmental Services Semi-Pro division also narrowed Thursday night as Nick Woodall took his fourth victory of the season. With points leader D.J. Canipe finishing fourth, the win brings Woodall to within 10 points of Canipe for the title next week.
“I just gotta try my hardest get another win next week and make up 10 more points,” Woodall said. “I have a good crew chief and a good car so hopefully we can get it done.”
In the Racing Radios Bandits division feature Lucas Vera drove away from some scrappy racing behind him to grab his fourth victory of the season. Division point leader Carson Ruark finished 3rd while his closest challenger for the title Garrett Gumm finished fifth. Carson’s brother Lucas Ruark won The Associates Group Young Lions feature, extending his healthy championship advantage over Ashton Whitener, who finished 3rd.
In the Wallace Electric Masters division feature Doug Stevens started second but powered his way around Bill Plemons Jr. with seven laps to go to grab his first victory of the 2019 Thursday Thunder season. Plemons, who has seven victories this season, is in control of the championship heading into the finale.
One day after battling for a victory only to get caught up in a last-lap incident, Parker Eatmon rebounded Thursday night to take the checkered flag in the Racing Radios Outlaws division feature.
“I just had to hit my marks, not overdrive the corner or mirror drive and focus on getting it done,” Eatmon said after the victory. He sits second in the division standings, but leader Carson Ramsay carries a comfortable 30-point advantage into the final race.
The Racing Radios Rookie Bandolero feature produced a first-time Thursday Thunder winner as 9-year-old Baylor O’Neil piloted his No. 99 to victory from the 5thstarting position. The Chargers feature also ended with a new winner; Graham Campbell took his first checkered flag in just his third start in a Legend Car.