Thursday Thunder

Johnson, Hicks in hunt for points titles at AMS

by Doug Gorman

Fourth of July has already come and gone, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be more fireworks in the final three weeks of Atlanta Motor Speedway’s Thursday Thunder racing series.

Two local drivers, Tina Johnson and Josh Hicks, both from Senoia, are right in the thick of things heading into Week 8 tonight.

Johnson is involved in one of the tightest points races among the six Bandolero and Legends divisions.

Although she is in fourth place with 658 points, only 20 separate her from points leader Skip Nichols.

Scott Mosley is in second place and just 13 points out the lead with 665 points. Bill Plemons, Jr. is in third place just one point in front of Johnson and 19 behind Nichols.

A week ago, Johnson finished third in the Legends’ Masters Division race, while Hicks took fourth in his Bandolero Outlaw race.

Last week, Johnson had a fast start in the 20-lap feature, exchanging the lead early with Robbie Woodall, but a caution flag on just the second lap forced a restart to the race and gave other drivers a chance to turn the seventh Masters race of the 10-week season into a competitive battle.

After the green flag came out to restart the race, five drivers including Johnson battled each other for the lead. In the end, however, Nichols crossed the finish line ahead of the pack while edging one-time NASCAR Truck Series competitor Joey Clanton — subbing for Mosley — for second.

Don Maness was fourth and Woodall was fifth.

The Outlaw Division turned into a two-way race between winner Chase Purdy and second-place finisher Jensen Jorgensen, who batted each other from the start of the race and through two caution flags.

Johnson has stayed in contention for a points title with consistent racing this season.

The veteran Thursday Thunder driver has turned in a top-five finish in all seven of this year’s races.

Hicks has raced in six of the season’s seven races and heads into the last three events in fourth place with 557 points, 136 behind Jensen Jorgensen has won four of the seven events and has 693 points.

Hicks stayed in the top five throughout the night and earned his fourth-place finish just behind Kamera McDonald, who came all the way from Keller, Texas to race in the holiday edition of Thursday Thunder.

However, Hicks might have some work to do in the final races of the season as so far Jorgensen and Purdy have dominated the Outlaw Division.

Purdy is trying to chase down Jorgensen and is just 19 points out of first with 674 points.

Jorgensen has gone to Victory Lane four times and Purdy two, Ashton Winger has also won once in the Outlaw Division. Winger is third place and 118 points behind Jorgensen.

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