Legends and Bandolero cars turned laps Saturday afternoon in an offseason INEX race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It was the second straight night of quarter-mile racing on the Thunder Ring as drivers prepare for the Winter Flurry series beginning later this fall.
Leading off the afternoon, a three-car Rookie Bandolero Division field provided late-race drama as Shelby Ruark of Suwanee beat out Flowery Branch's Brody Graham in the closing laps. After winning the pole and cruising in the lead through the first 18 laps of the 20-lap feature, Graham looked to make it a clean sweep for the win. But a late surge by Ruark allowed her to pass Graham exiting Turn 2 on the 19th lap, and she would stay ahead for the final two circuits and the win. Graham held on for second, and Cameron Potter of Covington rounded out the field.
In the Young Lions Division, Rafe Slate of Eatonton led the field to green from the pole position and never trailed, leading all 20 laps for the offseason victory. Runner up Cale Hall of Griffin threatened Slate a number of times, tapping his bumper in the corners, but he couldn't quite find enough speed to overtake Slate and settled for second. Hunter Johnson of Hampton, Audrie Ruark of Suwanee and Andrew Dollar of Atlanta rounded out the top-5.
Fresh off a Semi-Pro Division championship in the 2016 Thursday Thunder series, Jensen Jorgensen of Stockbridge found himself in a familiar spot ahead of the field and polished off another victory, leading all 20 laps in a caution-free combined Semi-Pro/Pro Division feature.
Pole winner Blaise Maddox of Locust Grove led each of the first 10 laps of the Outlaws Division feature and had the momentum at the halfway point, but a persistent Joshua Hicks of Senoia saw an opening to the inside as the pair rounded Turn 2 on the 11th lap, and took the lead, which he would never relinquish. Hicks powered through the final half of the race, opening up a lengthy gap ahead of the field to take the checkered flag and make a trip to Victory Lane. Maddox crossed the line in second, and Blaze Crawford of Fayetteville rounded out the top-3.
Mark Swan of Atlanta led all 20 laps in the Masters Division feature for the offseason victory. Behind him, Tony Armbruster of Covington, Bill Whatley of Acworth, Dennis Hecht of Hoschton and Randy Shubert of Conyers notched top-5 finishes in order.
Finishing off the afternoon of racing, Canton's Michael Gannon led every lap of the Bandits Division feature to secure the late-summer victory. Clay Thompson of Bowersville, coming off a nine-win Thursday Thunder championship season, started in the rear of the field and used the entire race to get to within one position of the lead. Before he could threaten Gannon for the top spot, Thompson ran out of laps and had to settle for second place despite the impressive rally. Rounding out the top-5 were Wil Griffis of Homerville, Kenneth Henderson of Alto and Ryan Younginer of Stockbridge.
Friday night offseason racing winners included Griffis in the Rookie Bandolero Division, Thompson in the Bandits Division, Trey Tadrzak of Stockbridge in the Outlaws Division, Jorgensen in the combined Semi-Pro/Young Lions Division and Wes Potter in the Masters Division, his first-ever victory on the Thunder Ring.
Legends and Bandolero racing return to the Thunder Ring in two weeks as Atlanta Motor Speedway hosts the 2016 Bandolero Nationals on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 23-24.
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. 10 offseason races:
Rookie Bandolero Division:
1. Shelby Ruark (Suwanee, GA)
2. Brody Graham (Flowery Branch, GA)
3. Cameron Potter (Covington, GA)
Young Lions Division:
1. Rafe Slate (Eatonton, GA)
2. Cale Hall (Griffin, GA)
3. Hunter Johnson (Hampton, GA)
4. Audrie Ruark (Suwanee, GA)
5. Andrew Dollar (Atlanta, GA)
6. Ricky Springer (McDonough, GA)
7. Annabelle Mohwish (Cumming, GA)
8. Connor Younginer (Stockbridge, GA)
1. Jensen Jorgensen (Stockbridge, GA)
2. Christopher Clanton (Brooks, GA)
3. Brandon Brock (Hampton, GA)
4. David Lawrence (Senoia, GA)
5. Colt Logan (Athens, GA)
1. Dawson Fletcher (Canton, GA)
2. Taylor Jorgensen (Stockbridge, GA)
3. Car No. 13
4. Corey Heim (Marieta, GA)
1. Joshua Hicks (Senoia, GA)
2. Blaise Maddox (Locust Grove, GA)
3. Blaze Crawford (Fayetteville, GA)
4. Trey Tadrzak (Stockbridge, GA)
5. Andrew Dollar (Atlanta, GA)
6. Jensen Jorgensen (Stockbridge, GA)
1. Mark Swan (Atlanta, GA)
2. Tony Armbruster (Covington, GA)
3. Bill Whatley (Acworth, GA)
4. Dennis Hecht (Hoschton, GA)
5. Randy Shubert (Conyers, GA)
6. Wes Potter (Covington, GA)
7. Jim Foster (Macon, GA)
8. Barry Bowen (Jackson Lake, GA)
9. Dicky Wilson (Barnsville, GA)
10. Robert Cheney (Stockbridge, GA)
1. Michael Gannon (Canton, GA)
2. Clay Thompson (Bowersville, GA)
3. Nathan Jackson (McDonough, GA)
4. Kenneth Henderson (Alto, GA)
5. Ryan Younginer (Stockbridge, GA)
6. Keaton Hendrix (Homerville, GA)
7. Logan Nalley (Canton, GA)
8. Ashton Whitener (Monticello, GA)
9. Nathan Jackson (McDonough, GA)
10. Wil Griffis (Homerville, GA)