Drivers from eight states converged on Atlanta Motor Speedway for the 21st annual Bandolero Nationals. Despite fourth place and second place finishes respectively, DJ Canipe captured the 2016 Outlaws division national points title while Clay Thompson earned the 2016 Bandits national points title with their efforts.
Joshua Hicks led for only a couple of feet in the Outlaws feature, but the few feet that the Senoia, Georgia native led were the final few feet of the race to earn the win. Hicks started on the inside of row two and was patient through a handful of cautions before he tracked down Jensen Jorgensen on the front stretch coming to the checkered flag. Jorgensen led 13 of the final 14 laps of the race after he chose his way to the outside of the front row on an early caution and got by pole sitter Canipe on the ensuing restart. Despite a fourth place finish, Canipe earned the 2016 Outlaws national points championship.
Nathan Jackson posted the win in the Bandits feature but a second place finish by Thompson in the race was enough for the Bowersville, Georgia native to capture the 2016 national points title. Thompson started on the outside pole but slipped mid-pack off the drop of the green flag. It was a battle between pole sitter Bryson Ruff and Joshua Kossek, who started in the fourth position, on lap three that brought out a caution and pushed the pair to the back of the pack. The caution allowed Jackson to move to the front of the field on the ensuing restart. Despite a trio of cautions over the final 14 laps, Jackson was able to hold off Thompson for the win.
In the first Bandolero Nationals feature of the afternoon, Michael Mohwish earned the win in the Beginner Bandolero race. Mohwish started on the pole and led all 20 laps for the win. Brody Graham finished second as he held off a hard charging Shelby Ruark over the final three laps as the pair came to the finish line side by side.
Legends cars also took to the track with a pair of races to complement the bandolero action. Tony Armbruster dominated the Masters' feature. From the pole, Armbruster opened up a three car-length lead early in the race. A spin in turn four brought out a caution on lap four and bunched up the field. Armbruster was not challenged on the restart and drove away for the win over the final 16 laps.
Jorgensen, also competing in a Legends car, captured the checkered flag from the outside pole in the combined Young Lions/Semi-Pro/Pro feature race. Off the drop of the green flag, Jorgensen muscled to the lead as he slipped in front of pole sitter Cale Hall as the pair entered turn one. Jorgensen held the lead when a caution on lap three allowed Dawson Fletcher to choose to the outside pole on the restart. Fletcher could not get past Jorgensen on the restart, but was glued to Jorgensen's back bumper as the pair set the pace for the remainder of the race.
Bandolero drivers also competed in a trio of "Trophy Dash" races on Friday night in preparation for the National Championship races. Friday's winners included DJ Canipe in the Outlaw dash, Bryson Ruff in the Bandits dash and Shelby Ruark in the Beginner Bandoleo dash.
Legends and Bandolero racing returns to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the first two races of the Road Course series on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 15 & 16.
For more information or to test drive your own Legends machine, contact Legends of Georgia director Ken Ragan at (770) 707-2977 or visit www.legendsofga.com.
Complete results from the Sept. 24 Bandolero Nationals:
1. Nathan Jackson (McDonough), 2. Clay Thompson (Bowersville), 3. Bryson Ruff (Indian Trail, NC), 4. Cameron Bolin (Sharon, SC), 5. Kenneth Henderson (Alto), 6. Michael Gannon (Canton), 7. Landon Rapp (Concord, NC), 8. Parker Eatmon (Wilson, NC), 9. Ryan Howell (McDonough), 10. Justin Campbell (Griffin), 11. Ryan Younginer (Stockbridge), 12. Ashton Whitener (Monticello), 13. Kade Brown (Fulsher, TX), 14. Wil Griffis (Homerville), 15. Joshua Kossek (Tabaccoville, NC), 16. Keaton Hendrix (Homerville), 17. Max Hennebaul (Monroe)
1. Joshua Hicks (Senoia), 2. Jensen Jorgensen (Stockbridge), 3. Tommy Good (Huntersville), 4. DJ Canipe (Fallston, NC), 5. Matthew Davey (Mooresville, NC), 6. Trey Tadrzak (Stockbridge), 7. Hayden Swank (Woodstock), 8. Blaise Maddox (Locust Grove), 9. Tristan Lesik (Ft. Mill, SC), 10. Kenny Brady (Marietta), 11. Connor Younginer (Stockbridge), 12. Annabelle Mowish (Cumming), 13. Blaze Crawford (Fayetteville), 14. Justin McCool (Sturgis, MS), 15. Gauntt Hudgins (Savannah)16. Gage Roberts (Milledgeville), 17. Andrew Dollar (Atlanta), 18. Lennon Watkins (Fairbault, MN)
1. Mikie Mowish (Cumming), 2. Brody Graham (Flowery Branch), 3. Shelby Ruark (Suwanee), 4. Sarah Sullivan (Gulf Shores, AL), 5. Ford Childers (Montrose), 6. Ethan Norfleet (Somerset, KY), 7. Gianni Esposito (Dacula), 8. Riley Griffin (Macon), 9. Cameron Potter (Covington) - DNQ
1. Tony Armbruster (Convington), 2. Wes Potter (Covington), 3. Randy Shubert (Conyers), 4. Bill Whately (Acworth), 5. Robert Cheney (Stockbridge), 6. Barry Bowen (Covington)
1. Jensen Jorgensen (Stockbridge), 2. Dawson Fletcher (Canton), 3. Hudson Hadler (Cumming), 4. Rafe Slate (Eatonton), 5. Cody Hall (Griffin), 6. Josh Hicks (Senoia), 7. Connor Younginer (Stockbridge), 8. Cale Hall (Griffin), 9. Hunter Johnson (Griffin), 10. Andrew Dollar (Atlanta), 11. Harrison Hadler (Cumming), 12. Audrie Ruark (Suwanee), 13. Robert Norfleet (Somerset, KY), 14. Annabelle Mowish (Cumming) - DNS