Thursday Thunder Reaches Halfway Point

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HAMPTON, Ga. — The first half of the eason of Thursday Thunder presented by Papa John’s was put into the books with an exclamation mark after a night of fierce racing on Atlanta Motor Speedway’s Thunder Ring.

The most aggressive racing of the night was undoubtedly in the VP Racing Fuels Pro Division race. Several 2019 race winners had rollercoaster nights, as furious racing would dropkick drivers – like Jensen Jorgensen, Taylor Jorgensen, and Ryan Rackley to name a few – to the rear of the field and force them to charge back through the pack.

In some cases, those recoveries were met with yet another merciless break, forcing them to start from the tail of the field again.

That was the story of the night for everyone second on back. Meanwhile, after earning the inaugural McCallister Precision Marketing Pole Award and starting at the front of the field, Joshua Hicks steered clear of those obstacles by outrunning them. Several restarts stacked the competition back on his bumper, but Hicks was up to the task each time and ultimately took his first checkered flag in Thursday Thunder’s premier division.

“I just couldn’t be more thankful to have my family here. My mom, my dad, and my grandparents all came here to watch me race,” Hicks said after the victory.

Things didn’t settle down when the CMS Group Environmental Services Semi-Pro field took to the Thunder Ring. Once again, while others found trouble on the tricky quarter-mile, the polesitter avoided incidents by racing ahead of them. In this case it was Nick Woodall, who grabbed his second consecutive win at AMS.

“The competition is really good, but my crew chief sets up a really good car every week. So I have to thank him and my parents for helping me get here,” Woodall said.

Just when it appeared the fireworks were over, 18 laps into The Associates Group Young Lions feature a caution stacked the field back up and set up a wild finish. Going into the final set of corners three-time series winner Lucas Ruark – who had dominated the race – spun after contact with Landen Lewis. Their trouble cleared the way for Kenneth Henderson, who weaved around the spinning cars to snag his first win in the Young Lions division.

“It’s really cool to get out here and do this,” Henderson said. “When they went around I just held on and pressed the brakes and it worked out.”

The Wallace Electric Masters Division race was a much more polite affair, with only one caution slowing the action. When the checkered flag flew, it was Bill Plemons Jr. returning to victory lane for the fourth time this season, widening his lead over Robbie Woodall in the championship fight.

“I want to thank the guys I race with – they showed a lot of professionalism tonight,” Plemons said. “I also appreciate all the fans for coming out here. I had a lot of kids sign my car tonight during the autograph session and I think that gave me the speed I needed to win.”

In the Racing Radios Outlaws Division race Parker Eatmon held off a hard charge from Trevor Westor on a late restart to bring home the victory. Carson Ruark broke through to take his first checkered flag of the season in the Racing Radios Bandits Division feature.

Briana Freeman won for the second time in three weeks in the Racing Radios Rookie Bandolero Division and Jonathan Cook went to victory lane after winning the Chargers feature.