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Racing was just as intense as ever at Atlanta Motor Speedway as drivers clashed plenty.

HAMPTON — The first half of the 2019 season 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, of Senoia, 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 ¼-mile, the polesitter avoided incidents by racing ahead of them. In this case it was Canton’s 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 Alto’s 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 Locust Grove’s 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, of Wilson, N.C., held off a hard charge from Trevor Westor on a late restart to bring home the victory. Carson Ruark, of Suwanee, broke through to take his first checkered flag of the season in the Racing Radios Bandits Division feature.

Bremen’s Briana Freeman won for the second time in three weeks in the Racing Radios Rookie Bandolero Division, and Jonathan Cook, of Sunny Side, went to victory lane after winning the Chargers feature.

Full results from June 20 Thursday Thunder presented by Papa John’s racing:

The Associates Group Young Lions

1. Kenneth Henderson (Alto, GA)

2. Ashton Whitener (Monticello, GA)

3. William Cox (Raleigh, NC)

4. Tony Yawn III (Roanoke, AL)

5. Timothy Watson (Panama City, FL)

6. Keaton Hendrix (Homerville, GA)

7. Paul Owens (Quakertown, PA)

8. Nathan Jackson (McDonough, GA)

9. Cole Cash (Bethlahem, GA)

10. Michael Gannon (Canton, GA)

11. Lucas Ruark (Suwanee, GA)

12. Landen Lewis (Ocean Isle Beach, NC)

13. Austin MacDonald (Pictou, NS)

14. Kade Brown (Fulsher, TX)

15. Justin Campbell (Griffin, GA)

CMS Group Environmental Services Semi-Pro

1. Nick Woodall (Canton, GA)

2. Brandon Brock (Hampton, GA)

3. Max Brady (Marietta, GA)

4. Audrie Ruark (Suwanee, GA)

5. Pierce Brewer (Locust Grove, GA)

6. Trey Tadrzak (Stockbridge, GA)

7. Hayden Swank (Woodstock, GA)

8. Kenny Brady (Marietta, GA)

9. Camden Prouty (Spanish Fort, AL)

10. Ricky Springer (McDonough, GA)

11. Ian Hampton (Stockbridge, GA)

12. Parker Brewer (Locust Grove, GA)

13. Jonathan Taylor (Atlanta, GA)

14. Trent Barfield (Hamilton, GA)

15. Lawson Ingold (Social Circle, GA)

16. Blaze Crawford (Fayetteville, GA)

VP Racing Fuels Pro

1. Joshua Hicks (Senoia, GA)

2. Dawson Fletcher (Canton, GA)

3. Taylor Jorgensen (Stockbridge, GA)

4. Cody Hall (Griffin, GA)

5. Cale Hall (Griffin, GA)

6. Tony Yawn (Roanoke, AL)

7. Gage Roberts (Milledgeville, GA)

8. Christopher Clanton (Brooks, GA)

9. Jensen Jorgensen (Stockbridge, GA)

10. Ryan Rackley (Valdosta, GA)

11. Davis Rochester (Lebanon, TN)

Wallace Electric Masters

1. Bill Plemons Jr (Locust Grove, GA)

2. Scott Moseley (McDonough, GA)

3. Tony Armbruster (Covington, GA)

4. Phillip Young (Dallas, GA)

5. Mark Swan (Athens, GA)

6. Wade Brewer (Locust Grove, GA)

7. Bill Whatley (Acworth, GA)

8. Randy Shubert (Stone Mountain, GA)

9. James Meredith (Locust Grove, GA)

10. Kevin Vaughn (Grovetown, GA)

11. Robert Anderson (Covington, GA)

12. Dennis Hecht (Hoschton, GA)

13. Robbie Woodall (McDonough, GA)

14. Aaron Croslyn (Woodstock, GA)

Racing Radios Bandits

1. Carson Ruark (Suwanee, GA)

2. Layton Harrison (Dinwiddie, VA)

3. Garrett Gumm (Brooks, GA)

4. Kyle Bacon (Buchanan, GA)

5. Lee Brown (Acworth, GA)

6. Gianni Esposito (Dacula, GA)

7. Bryson Matthews (Dallas, GA)

Racing Radios Rookie Bandoleros

1. Briana Freeman (Bremen, GA)

2. Bailey Buchanan (Senoia, GA)

3. Jackson Reynolds (Marietta, GA)

4. Sebastain Asztalos (Temple, GA)

5. Baylor O’Neil (Grantville, GA)

6. Mitchell Flater (Conyers, GA)

7. Mason Reece (Conyers, GA)

Racing Radios Outlaws

1. Parker Eatmon (Wilson, NC)

2. Trevor Wester (Canton, NC)

3. Carson Ramsey (Charlotte, NC)

4. Mason Maggio (Palm Beach Gardens, FL)

5. Kelley Puckett (McDonough, GA)

6. Bailey North (Hampton, GA)

7. Nathan Jackson (McDonough, GA)

8. Tyler Newcomer (Woolsey, GA)

9. Clay Hocutt (Mobile, AL)

10. Ryan Younginer (Locust Grove, GA)

11. Shelby Ruark (Suwanee, GA)

12. Cameron Murray (Fuquay Varina, NC)

Chargers

1. Jonathan Cook (Sunny Side, GA)

2. Amanda Woodall (Canton, GA)

DNS. Lisa Scott (Dallas, GA)

The Thursday Thunder Legends Series presented by Papa John’s Pizza continues with its sixth night of racing next week. Grandstand tickets for the affordable, family-friendly racing action on Thursday, June 27, cost just $5; children ages 5 and under are free.

For more information, contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at 770-946-4211, 877-9-AMS-TIX or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com

Sports Editor

Graduated from South Carolina State University in 2015. Been with the Henry Herald and Clayton News in two capacities as a sports journalist and interim sports editor.

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