Season titles come down to final night of Friday Night Drags

A large crowd of competitors and spectators gathered at the Atlanta Motor Speedway for the final night of O’Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags in 2018.

The action on championship night didn’t disappoint, with fierce competition for the last victories of the season and title fights determined in the last runs of the season.

The closest championship fight was in the Harbin’s Mechanical Services Street Outlaw division, where Wayne Harris, of Griffin, and Mike Moore, of Peachtree City, entered the season finale tied at the top of the standings.

The championship was decided in the semifinal round; Harris’ 1968 Camaro stormed down the eighth-mile pit lane drag strip fast enough to advance to the final round, but Moore’s 2017 COPO Camaro was knocked out by Ross Cole, of Sharpsburg, and his 1972 Chevrolet Camaro.

The championship is the first for Harris since he started competing in Friday Night Drags.

“After 12 years it’s about time,” an elated Harris said. “We’re just a back yard crew. We don’t have any sponsors or anything, we do it all ourselves.”

Harris topped off his championship winning evening with the final race win for the division as well, propelled by a great launch off the line that allowed him to defeat Cole for the victory.

Another first-time champion was crowned this year in the Quiktrip Pro division. Kevin Mayo, of McDonough, had the championship wrapped up coming into the final night, but nonetheless the title didn’t come to him easily.

“We’ve had some issues this season with the car, but we’ve fought through them to battle for the points,” Mayo said. “We had a couple nights this year where I didn’t do so good, but we came back and just fought through.”

Mayo was forced to settle for a second place finish on championship night; David Clevenger, of Milner, powered his 1993 Firebird down the track ahead of Mayo’s 1969 Chevrolet Nova in the final round to take the final pro division victory of 2018.

In the Starfire Automatic Gates Truck division, season champion Ed Blanford capped off a stellar season with a victory, the 10th consecutive win his 1968 Ford F100 in 2018.

“I’ve only lost one time this year and it was by like a fender to the guy that used to be the top dog,” Blanford said, adding, “but there’s a new sheriff in town now!”

The 2018 season concluded with a thriller of a race in the Super Pro division, which pitted season champion Robert Cheney, of Jonesboro, and Arnie Cobb, of Locust Grove, against each other for the last race of the night and the year.

Off the line, Cobb’s 1991 Chevrolet S-10 had a hiccup while trying to get up to speed, but so did Cheney’s American Dragster; once both cars had everything straightened out, they were wheel-to-wheel.

The two cars flashed across the finish line nearly dead even, with Cheney’s dragster edging out Cobb’s S-10 to secure the victory.

Below is a list of the Aug. 24 race winners:

  • Super Pro: Robert Cheney (Jonesboro); 2014 American Dragster
  • QuikTrip Pro: David Clevenger (Milner); 1993 Pontiac Firebird
  • Harbin’s Mechanical Services Street Outlaw: Wayne Harris (Griffin); 1968 Chevrolet Camaro
  • Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman: Tim Hall (McDonough); 1988 Ford Mustang
  • New Edge: Steve Schaffer (Newnan); 2018 Chevrolet Camaro
  • Street Performer: Brandon Sampler (Griffin); 1995 Chevrolet S10
  • Harding Plumbing, Heating and Cooling Domestic:  Kelly Morgan (Jonesboro); 1968 Ford Mustang
  • Diamond Resorts Factory Street: Michael Hartley (McDonough); 2013 Ford Mustang
  • Street Modified: Anthony Kirkland (Jonesboro); 2017 Dodge Charger
  • Starfire Automatic Gates Truck: Ed Blanford (McDonough); 1968 Ford F100
  • Tuner: Shane Kirkland (Marietta); 1983 Datsun 280ZX
  • Sport Compact: Chris Mauldin (Yatesville); 2009 Infinity
  • Super Bike: Maurice Ayers (Stockbridge); 2008 Basa 1300
  • Sport Bike: Robin Malcolm (Lithonia); 2006 GSXR 1000
  • US Marines Motorcycle: Keith Stamps (Tyrone); 2002 Honda
  • Cruiser: Robert Thomas (Griffin); Harley Davidson
  • ATV: Wayne Cline (Griffin); Yamaha Banshee
  • Peach Pass Burnout Zone: Kevin Mayo (McDonough); 1969 Chevrolet Nova

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.

Classic Custom (Through 1972)
First Place: Ken Moore (Griffin) 1936 Plymouth sedan
Second Place: Andy Sarrett (Social Circle) 1962 Chevrolet Bel Air
Third Place: Donnie Henderson (Hampton) 1966 Ford Fairlane

Showroom Modern (1973 through 1999)
First Place: Laney Hatchett (Griffin) 1999 Camaro
Second Place: Mark Seal (Senoia) 1976 Chevrolet Corvette

Modern Custom (1973 through 1999)
First Place: Mason Morgan (Locust Grove) 1997 Ford Mustang
Second Place: Chris Maloney (Williamson) 1974 Dodge Charger
Third Place: Tanner Miller (Stockbridge) 1998 Firebird

Current (2000 through current)
First Place: Josh Miller (McDonough) 2017 Ford Mustang GT
Second Place: Ken Thaxton (Fayetteville) 2004 Corvette Z06
Third Place: Steve Kochik (Stockbridge) 2008 Ford Mustang

Trucks/SUV/Vans
First Place: Ryan Deal (Fayetteville) 2018 Chevrolet Silverado
Second Place: James Quarles (Gay) 1988 Bronco II
Third Place: Elijah Smith (Hampton) 2010 Nissan Frontier

Open
First Place: Terry Tanner (Griffin) 1932 Ford
Second Place:  Porscha Rodgers (Atlanta) 2017 Challenger Scatpack Shaker

Showroom Classic (Through 1972)
First Place: Tom Grimes (Peachtree City) 1968 Chevy Chevelle SS
Second Place: Jason Jones (Columbus) 1964 Nova Wagon

Atlanta Motor Speedway’s O’Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags & Show-N-Shine will return for a new season on May 10, 2019.

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