HAMPTON, GA – Season 16 of Thursday Thunder ended with a bang Thursday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway, as a new group of champions were crowned under the canopy of brilliant fireworks on the track's quarter-mile Thunder Ring.
Longtime racer Skip Nichols earned his fifth win of the season en route to the Masters championship, his seventh Thursday Thunder championship and 48th career feature win.
"I still enjoy getting in and out of this car, although it takes me a little longer now than it used to," said Nichols, a resident of Albany. "This Atlanta Motor Speedway is awesome, and you fans up there watching us old men race in this heat, thank you, and go tell all your friends. There is no better racing out here than this Thursday Thunder at Atlanta Motor Speedway."
In the Pro race, William Plemmons III earned the championship but gave the race win away to his father, Bill Plemmons Jr., after getting black-flagged for tangling with Hunter Lewis one too many times in the 20-lap main event.
The elder Plemmons used his post-race interview as a teachable moment. "That just shows you, never give up," Bill Plemmons Jr. said. "You never know what might happen."
Outlaws driver Christopher Clanton, son of former NASCAR driver Joey Clanton, earned his first career Thursday Thunder win by holding off Joshua Hicks in a caution-filled event. One of those cautions claimed Ashton Winger, the Outlaws division points leader entering the night. But just after Winger slammed his gloves and helmet into the cockpit of the car, he learned that because of race attrition, he would still walk away with his first Thursday Thunder championship.
Bandits division points leader Chandler Smith started on the outside of the front row and cruised to his seventh win of the season, earning him the Thursday Thunder title.
In the Allred Family Dentistry Semi-Pro division, Riley Thornton started on the pole and led every lap en route to his second straight Thursday Thunder title. Thornton was the Young Lions division champ last season.
Fun Junction Young Lions driver Payton Ryan picked up his fourth win of the season, but it wasn't enough to overcome the points difference between he and leader William Byron, who finished fourth. Byron picked up his first Thursday Thunder title.
Eight-year-old dimpled driver Samuel Oliver won his first Beginner Bandits race, which showcases the skills of the newest Bandolero drivers at Thursday Thunder.
Clay Thompson earned his first win in the Bandolero Checkered Flag Challenge for drivers who have never won a Bandolero feature race at Thursday Thunder before.
In his first trip to Atlanta Motor Speedway, Hunter Lewis earned his first win in the Legends Checkered Flag Challenge for Legends drivers who have not yet won a feature at Thursday Thunder.
In the third Pro Challenge race, a visiting series to Thursday Thunder, Joseph Pilato claimed victory.
With this season of Thursday Thunder concluded, Legends and Bandolero racers are looking forward to their next AMS competition during the AdvoCare 500 weekend.
Outlaws Feature: 1. Christopher Clanton (Brooks), 2. Joshua Hicks (Senoia), 3. Miranda Meredith (Locust Grove), 4. Alton Clark (Newnan), 5. Jensen Jorgensen (Stockbridge), 6. Ashton Winger (Fayetteville), 7. Chase Purdy (Gallion, Ala.)
Bandits Feature : 1. Chandler Smith (Talking Rock), 2. Zach Leonhardi (Cartersville), 3. Connor Younginer (Stockbridge), 4. Zachary Dabbs (Mooresville, N.C.), 5. Lawson Ingold (Social Circle), 6. Clay Thompson (Powersville), 7. Connor Okrzesik (Mobile, Ala.), 8. Austin Geer (Johns Creek), 9. DJ Canipe (Fallston, N.C.), 10. Lee Hodges (Valdosta), 11. Will McConnell (Dallas), 12. Abigail Marin (Peachtree City), 13. Tristan Meredith (Locust Grove), 14. Nathan Jackson (McDonough)
Pro Feature: 1. Bill Plemmons Jr. (Forsyth), 2. Hunter Lewis (Moss Point, Miss.), 3. William Plemmons III (Smyrna)
Masters Feature: 1. Skip Nichols (Albany), 2. Ed Clark (Peachtree City), 3. Tina Johnson (Senoia), 4. Scott Moseley (McDonough), 5. Spencer Moseley (McDonough), 6. Mark Swan (Dunwoody), 7. Mike Kennedy (Alpharetta), 8. Michael Sauer (Atlanta), 9. Phillip Young (Dallas), 10. John Ponzio (Tyrone), 11. Don Maness (Duluth) , 12. Martin Snyder (Kennesaw)
Allred Family Dentistry Semi-Pro Feature: 1. Riley Thornton (Peachtree City), 2. Amber Fleeman (Dacula), 3. R.S. Senter, 4. Brett Hardin (Acworth), 5. Trevin Aswarnauth (Loganville), 6. Aaron Bailey (Burlington, N.C.), 7. Hub Talbot (Gainesville), 8. Taylor Jorgensen (Stockbridge)
Fun Junction Young Lions Feature: 1. Payton Ryan (Concord, N.C.), 2. Woodrow Mullis (Hoboken), 3. Alex Coffey (McDonough), 4. William Byron (Charlotte, N.C.), 5. Blake Gaither (Nashville), 6. Dylan Murry (Cumming)
Beginner Bandits Feature: 1. Tristan Meredith (Locust Grove). 2. Ryan Howell (McDonough). 3. Nathan Jackson (McDonough), 4. Samuel Oliver (The Rock).
Bandolero Checkered Flag Challenge: 1. Clay Thompson (Powersville), 2. Connor Okrzesik (Mobile, Ala.), 3. Lawson Ingold (Social Circle), 4. Lee Hodges (Valdosta), 5. Will McConnell (Dallas), 6. Abigail Marin (Peachtree City)
Legends Checkered Flag Challenge: 1. Hunter Lewis (Moss Point, Miss.), 2. Spencer Moseley (McDonough), 3. John Ponzio (Tyrone), 4. Blake Gaither(Nashville), 5. Martin Snyder (Kennesaw), 6. Trevin Aswarnauth (Loganville), 7. Dylan Murry (Cumming), 8. Aaron Bailey (Burlington, N.C.)
Bandolero Checkered Flag Challenge: 1. Lawson Ingold (Social Circle), 2. Clay Thompson (Powersville), 3. Lee Hodges (Valdosta). 4. Will McConnell (Dallas).
Pro Challenge: 1. Joseph Pilato, 2. Zachary Ayers, 3. Cole Dafron, 4. Dawson Gay, 5. Osmer Ronnie, 6. Jake Hendrix