Drivers took to the pit lane drag strip on Friday night for the final opportunity to tune-up their car and skills in preparation for the O’Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags season points opener in two weeks. Under clearing skies and warm temperatures, the action heated up in the final non-points race of the 2018 season.
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 saw action on the pit lane drag strip.
Heather Utt of Fayetteville found victory lane for the second time in her career with a final round victory behind the wheel of her 2014 Ford Mustang in the Sport Compact Division.
“I really had to concentrate on driving my car with the set up that it has,” said an excited Utt following the victory. “I really had to watch my RPMs off the line and make sure I didn’t beat myself at the light. And then it was just about letting my car take care of business because it’s capable.”
Utt stormed off the line in the final to defeat the 1991 Honda CRX of Griffin’s Tyler Hatchett as both drivers put in work to prepare for the upcoming points opener.
“I still have some things to work out with such a heavy car compared to lighter cars in my class,” explained Utt. “But at least now I know the track that I’m working on to improve my skill and to match what my car can do better to hopefully repeat this performance.”
Ed Blanford continues to fine tune his machine for the 2018 points season as he earned his second win of the year in the Starfire Automatic Gates Truck Division. Blanford, who earned the victory last week on opening night, downed James Ragsdale of Hampton for the second straight week.
DeAndre McMullen of Rex has his competition covered in the Factory Street Division with his second consecutive win of the year. McMullen’s 2008 Pontiac G8 easily outraced the 2018 Camaro SS of Taquarious Lewis of Atlanta in the final.
Other notable Week Two winners include Scott Charette of Locust Grove in a 1995 Pontiac Firebird as he earning the final round win in the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman along with David Smith of Jackson behind the wheel of a 1990 Isuzu in the Harding Plumbing, Heating and Cooling Domestic division.
Below is a list of the May 18 race winners:
Super Pro: Nicolas Feliciano (Griffin), 1985 Mazda RX7
Pro: Eric Hyder (Griffin), 1968 Chevrolet Camaro
Harbin’s Mechanical Services Street Outlaw: Mike Moore (Peachtree City), 2017 Copo Camaro
Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman: Scott Charette (Locust Grove), 1995 Pontiac Firebird
New Edge: Steve Schaffer (Newnan), 2018 Chevrolet Camaro
Street Performer: Brandon Sampler (Griffin), 1995 Chevrolet S10
Harding Plumbing, Heating and Cooling Domestic: David Smith (Jackson), 1990 Isuzu
Street Modified: Kelly Morgan (Jonesboro); 1968 Ford Mustang
Factory Street: DeAndre McMullen (Rex), 2008 Pontiac G8
Diesel Truck: Cole Shiflett (Newnan), 2002 GMC Sierra
Starfire Automatic Gates Truck: Ed Blanford (McDonough), 1968 Ford F100
Tuner: Remond Desir (Lithonia), 2007 BMW 3351
Sport Compact: Heather Utt (Fayetteville), 2014 Ford Mustang
Super Bike: Graham Mayo (Griffin), 2007 Hayabusa
Sport Bike: Bryan Berube (Stockbridge), 2013 Suzuki Hayabusa
US Marine Corps Motorcycle: Dylan Nisoff (McDonough), 2017 Suzuki 750
Cruiser/Dirt Motorcycle: Bobby Cole (Jonesboro), 2014 Harley FXDL
ATV: Gracie Haralson (Hampton), 2005 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.
Modern Custom (1973 through 1999)
First Place: Ryan Wilson (McDonough) 1998 Mustang
Showroom Classic (Through 1972)
First Place: Plaxton Rainford (Locust Grove) 72 Cutlass
Showroom Modern (1973 through 1999)
First Place: Chris Gallagher (Fayetteville) 1998 Trans AM
Second Place: Sil Benotto (Pocono, PA) ‘84 Z28
Current (2000 through current)
First Place: Jay+ Jennifer Woodson (Covington) 2016 Camaro SS
Second Place: Josh Miller (McDonough) 2017 Mustang GT
Third Place: Benjamin Rutland (Tyrone) Dodge Charger
First Place: Bryson Spencer (Griffin) 2001 Chevy Silverado 1500
Second Place: Josie Lopez (Griffin) Chevy Truck 04
Third Place: Jeffrey Mayo (McDonough) ‘07 Ram 1500
First Place: Mark Cline (Jonesboro) Ninja 650R
Second Place: Avery Sellers (Newnan) 1993 Mazda Miata
Atlanta Motor Speedway’s O’Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags & Show-N-Shine returns to action with the season points opener on Friday, June 1. 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.