The pit lane drag strip roared to life Friday night as drivers converged on Atlanta Motor Speedway to open the 12th season the ever-popular O’Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags and Show-N-Shine.
Eighteen racing divisions went head-to-head in one of the largest organized street-style drag racing series in the nation, with single-elimination competition determining each winner. Vehicles ranging from souped-up muscle cars all the way down to factory cars and daily drivers participated in the first of two non-points night leading up to the June 1 regular points opener.
“It is good clean fun,” exclaimed Ed Blanford of McDonough and that keeps him coming out to Friday Night Drags each year. “I’m from just down the road and have a lot of family and friends that come out each week.”
Blanford and his best buddy, James Ragsdale of Hampton, have competed regularly over the years in the Starfire Automotive Gates Truck division and were finally able to pit their Fords against one another in the final.
“We’ve been waiting for the Ford on Ford – It’s always been a Chevy in the finals,” said Blanford as his 1968 Ford F-100 exploded off the line and outpaced Ragsdale’s 1978 Ford F100 for the final round win.
“I just hooked up really good and left pretty clean,” replied Blanford when asked about the key to his final round win.
In the Harding Plumbing, Heating and Cooling Domestic Division, Donnie Henderson and his 1980 Chevrolet Malibu outpaced the 1989 Ford Mustang of Raymond Puryer to earn a trip to victory lane.
David Waksman of Sharpsburg took home the hardware in the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman division with a final round victory over Senoia’s Chase Ponder. The first race of the year in the Harbin’s Mechanical Services Street Outlaw division went to Ross Cole of Sharpsburg behind the wheel of a 1972 Chevrolet Camaro.
Below is a list of the May 11 race winners:
Pro: Kevin Mayo (McDonough), 1969 Chevrolet II Nova
Harbin’s Mechanical Services Street Outlaw: Cole Ross (Sharpsburg), 1972 Chevrolet Camaro
Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman: David Waksman (Sharpsburg), 1994 Chevrolet Camaro
New Edge: Steve Shaffer (Newnan), 2018 Chevrolet Corvette
Street Performer: Brandon Sampler (Griffin), 1995 Chevrolet S10
Harding Plumbing, Heating and Cooling Domestic: Donnie Henderson (Hampton), 1980 Chevrolet Malibu
Street Modified: Kelly Morgan (Jonesboro), 1968 Ford Mustang
Factory Street: DeAndre McMullen (Rex), 2008 Pontiac G8
Diesel Truck: Taylor Wilder (Locust Grove); 1994 Dodge Ram 1500
Starfire Automatic Gates Truck: Ed Blanford (McDonough), 1968 Ford F100
Tuner: Steven Mallet (Marietta), 2004 Subaru WRX
Sport Compact: Courtney Perry (Covington), 1995 Honda Del Sol
Super Bike: Robin Malcolm (Lithonia), 2003 Busa
Sport Bike: Josh Jones (Atlanta), 2012 Kawasaki
US Marine Corps Motorcycle: Dylan Nisoff (McDonough), 2017 Suzuki 750
Cruiser/Dirt Motorcycle: Tyler Ford (Fayetteville), 2016 Kawasaki
ATV: Gracie Haralson (Hampton), Junior Dragster
The Show-N-Shine competition featured everything from new imports to classic muscle cars and automobiles ranging as far back as the 1930s. Those vehicles then took part in the Speedway Cruise following judging.
Below is a complete list of the May 11 winners:
Classic Custom (Through 1972)
First Place: Chad Smallwood (Newnan), 1968 Chevrolet Camaro RS/SS 396
Second Place: Rod Harris (Stockbridge), 1971 Baldwin Motions Chevrolet Camaro SS
Third Place: Brian Fisher (Senoia), 1964 Chevrolet Malibu
Modern Custom (1973 through 1999)
First Place: Chandler Hatchett (Griffin), 1999 Chevrolet Camaro SS
Showroom Classic (Through 1972)
First Place: Pepper Norris (Stockbridge), 1968 Chevrolet Chevelle
Showroom Modern (1973 through 1999)
First Place: Chris Gallagher (Fayetteville), 1998 Pontiac Trans AM
Second Place: David Garten (Fayetteville), 1995 Cobra Convertible Hardtop
Third Place: Brittany Moss (Jackson), 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Current (2000 through current)
First Place: D’Shon Peeples (Griffin), 2015 Chevrolet Camaro SS
Second Place: Fredrick Burton (Queens, NY), 2008 Ford Mustang
Third Place: Joseph Woodson (Covington), 2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS
First Place: Brandon Edington (McDonough), 2012 Jeep Wrangler
Second Place: Taylor Teal (Hampton), 1994 Chevrolet Blazer
Third Place: Josh Ramey (Covington), 1995 Chevrolet Silverado Tuned 5.3
First Place: Torrin Scruggs (McDonough), 2013 Hyundai Genesis
Second Place: Ken Moore (Griffin), 1936 Plymouth Sedan Delivery
Third Place: Stephen Namby (Griffin), 2013 Harley Softtail Delux
Atlanta Motor Speedway’s O’Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags & Show-N-Shine continues with week 2 action on the pit lane drag next Friday, May 18. Grandstand gates open at 6:30 p.m., and nightly drag race eliminations start just after 9:00 p.m.
Entry to drag race or for the Show-N-Shine is just $20 or competitors can purchase a combo ticket for $30. Spectator tickets are just $10, and children 5 and under are free. More information can be found at www.atlantamotorspeedway.com/drags or by calling the Atlanta Motor Speedway Ticket Office at (770) 946-4211.