The fifth week of O’Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags was packed with the high-speed, neck-and-neck racing fans and competitors have come to expect.
Take it from Ross Cole of Sharpsburg, who after a slow start came storming back to edge out Wayne Harris with his 1972 Chevrolet Camaro in the final round of the Harbin’s Mechanical Services Street Outlaw Division.
“The car did something funny right off the line, but when it finally took off it was like it was on rails,” Cole said. “I’ve been tuning on it so I felt like once it got going it would go like a rocket.”
On top of the thrill of the competition, there was something more gratifying for Cole. On a night of racing that began with enthusiastic children urging their Power Wheels to victory — all while their families cheered them on — and ended with him in Winner’s Lane, Cole found himself thinking about the warm and welcoming atmosphere that makes Friday nights at Atlanta Motor Speedway that much more enjoyable.
“You get to race in front of thousands of people, and most of them are people from your community,” Cole said. “That’s why I like coming here.”
Vincent Varela, whose 1979 Mazda RX-7 carried him to victory in the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Division, concurred, saying a win is sweeter when it’s shared.
“Family is what it’s all about,” Varela said. “Our whole family comes out because we love the sport.”
With a summer of racing ahead, Varela is hoping he and his family get to share many more wins and, ultimately, the division title.
“I want to win the whole thing,” Varela said with a smile. “I’m going for that championship!”
Notable winners in the fifth week of O’Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags included Kevin Mayo, of Griffin, who backed up his victory in the points opener with another win in the QuikTrip Pro Division final. In the AT&T Mobility Sport Compact Division, Amanda Brown, of Senoia, propelled her 2012 Ford Mustang to the end of the 1/8 mile pit lane dragstrip ahead of Fayetteville’s Heather Utt, earning her first points-paying victory of 2019.
Below is the complete list of June 14th race winners:
Harding Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Domestic Division: David Smith (Jackson); 1990 Isuzu
South River Agency New Edge Division: Jacob Turner (Griffin); 1993 Ford Mustang
QuikTrip Pro Division: Kevin Mayo (Griffin); 2007 Chevrolet Cavalier
Super Pro: Mike Chambers (Griffin); 1992 Pontiac Firebird
Harbin’s Mechanical Services Street Outlaw Division: Ross Cole (Sharpsburg); 1972 Chevrolet Camaro
Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Division: Vincent Varela (Jonesboro); 1979 Mazda RX-7
Truck Advance: Taylor Wilder (Locust Grove); 1994 Dodge 1500
Street Performer Division: Avery Stevens (Covington); 1998 Chevrolet S10
Super Bike Division: Graham Mayo (Griffin); 2007 Mayabusa
Sport Bike: Shayne Pitts (Fayetteville); 2013 Hayabusa
US Marine Corps Motorcycle Division: Keith Stamps (Tyrone); 2002 Honda CB900
Cruiser Division: Bobby Cole (Williamson); 2014 Harley Davidson Low Rider
Quad/Tri Division: Andre Martin (College); Banshee
Street Modified Division: Kelly Morgan (Jonesboro); 1968 Ford Mustang
Starfire Automatic Gates Truck Division: Ed Blanford (McDonough); 1968 F100
Diesel Truck Division: Will (Jackson); 2017 F350
Metro by T-Mobile Tuner Division: Luis Romaz (Jonesboro); 1985 Mazda Rx7
AT&T Mobility Sport Compact Division: Amanda Brown (Senoia); 2012 Ford Mustang V6
Diamond Resorts Factory Street Division: Keith Shockey (Peachtree City); 2015 SRT 392 Challenger
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 (1980 or older classic; restored; modified cars or trucks)
Winner: Jan O’Hara
Runner Up: David Jacobson
Generation X (1981 – 2008 cars)
Winner: Erin Tollison (Tucker), 1997 Trans Am
Runner Up: Arnold Rabin (Locust Grove), 2004 Mustang
Current (2009 – current cars)
Winner: Clifton Clark (East Point), 2018 Dodge Charger
Runner Up: Summer Marlyne (Milner), 2016 GT350
Winner: Roy Hill (Savannah), 2018 F-150
Runner Up: Hunter Dustin (McDonough), 2016 GMC Sierra 1500
Winner: Chino (McDonough), Lexus ES 300
Runner Up: Jaime Sweitzer (Fayetteville), 2002 Mitsubishi Eclipse
Atlanta Motor Speedway’s O’Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags & Show-N-Shine returns to the pit lane drag strip in on Friday, June 21 for another full night of street style drag racing. Next week’s is a special edition of Friday Night Drags: Nostalgia Night presented by Harbin’s Mechanical Services, which features a step back in time for thrilling racing put on by the Southeast Gassers.
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.