Amber Fleeman Gets First Thursday Thunder Win At AMS

Amber Fleeman drove to her first career Thursday Thunder Legends victory last week at Atlanta Motor Speedway with a win in the Semi-Pro Week 5 make-up race. Photo: Courtesy Atlanta Motor Speedway

In a night filled with double feature races to make up for a rained out event the previous week, Week 6 of Atlanta Motor Speedway’s Thursday Thunder Legends Series saw a first time winner last week

In the Semi-Pro Division feature make-up, Amber Fleeman, an eight-year Thursday Thunder veteran used her front-row starting position to her advantage and remained at – or near – the front of the pack for the entire 15-lap feature, setting herself up for a thrilling finish and her first-ever victory on the challenging quarter-mile Thunder Ring.

“Finally,” said the Dacula, Georgia racer. “That is the most amazing feeling ever. It’s been a long time coming.”

After surging into the lead early on in the race, Fleeman cruised comfortably ahead of the field for each of the first seven laps before a caution bunched the field once more near the halfway point of the race.

Just a few laps after the ensuing restart, Christopher Clanton nabbed the lead away as the final laps began to tick off, but a persistent Fleeman used good exit speed on the corners to reclaim the top position as the checkered flag drew near and then held on for the victory down the stretch.

“I was worried we were going to get caught on time, but it worked out, and we made it to victory lane, so I can’t be more excited.”

Fleeman’s previous best performance was a pair of second-place finishes during the 2013 season. This year, she finished as high as fifth in Week 2 before topping the podium in Thursday night’s make-up feature.

Leading off the evening was the Plemons Investments Masters Division, with Scott Moseley getting back into the win column for the first time since the season’s opening night, ending Robbie Woodall’s two race win streak.

Following the Masters Division, Joshua Hicks returned to victory lane for the second time this year in the Outlaws Division, before Ian Hampton won in the dual-car Chargers Division feature.

In the Ricky Sanders Racing, Inc. Bandits Division, it was Grant Thompson who won for the second time this season. Harrison Halder then followed that up with his own second victory of the year in the Plemons Young Lions Division feature.

In the Wallace Electric Rookie Bandolero make-up feature, Maddox Langham picked up his first victory on the season, while Racing Radios Pro Division points leader Jensen Jorgensen won for the fourth time in five races to build upon the 24-point lead he owned entering Thursday’s double-feature action.

Following a brief intermission and a frontstretch autograph session, the regularly scheduled Week 6 action cranked up with eight more features, as the 2017 season raced past its midpoint.

After being denied a third-straight victory in the Plemons Investments Masters Division feature earlier in the evening, Robbie Woodall made his pole-position start count by leading each of the 15 laps in Thursday’s nightcap feature, giving him three wins in the past four races and putting him just three points back of division leader and two-time feature winner Scott Moseley.

Moseley, meanwhile, started eighth per Thursday Thunder rules following his make-up feature victory and was right on Woodall’s bumper as the checkered flag waved on lap 15. Mark Swan finished in third, with Tony Armbruster in fourth, and Bill Plemons, Jr. in fifth.

In a time-shortened Outlaws Division feature, it only took two-time winner and division points leader Blaise Maddox three laps to find himself in the lead after starting in the seventh position, and that’s where he stayed for the remainder of the race.

Joshua Hicks of Senoia finished second after starting in eighth, while Kenny finished third, with Max Brady fourth, and Michael Gannon fifth.

Ian Hampton made it two wins on the night by finishing ahead of Nick Woodall in the Chargers Division. Hampton led all 15 laps in the feature.

Grant Thompson entered the evening trailing Kenneth Henderson by a mere three points in the overall division standings after the two swapped wins in the first two races of the season. But after it was all said and done Thursday night, Thompson left three points ahead after claiming his second victory of the evening in the Week 6 Ricky Sanders Racing, Inc. Bandits Division feature.

Henderson was on the pole for the second race, but Thompson surged ahead on the third lap and stayed there the rest of the way, opening up a three-race winning streak and climbing atop the division standings for the first time on the season.

Lucas Ruark, Wilder Etheredge, and Carson Ruark rounded out the top five.

After starting in fifth, Week 4 winner D.J. Canipe drove to the front of the pack in the Plemons Young Lions Division feature on the third lap and held onto his lead through two cautions and subsequent restarts to score his second victory on the season.

Clay Thompson finished second, with Harrison Halder third, Ryan Rackley fourth, and Sammy Smith fifth.

In the second Semi-Pro Division feature, Waylon Farrell started on the front row and stayed ahead of the pack for each of the first four laps before contact with second place runner Cody brought out the caution flag, and sent both drivers to the back. That moved Christopher Clanton to the lead.

Following the restart, Clanton paced the field for six laps before a patient Hudson Halder made a pass for the lead on the 11th lap. But a caution slowed the field before Halder could cross the start/finish line, giving the lead back to Clanton with just four laps remaining.

Following another caution and one last lap of racing, the feature ended on a time limit, handing Clanton his first victory of the season, while Halder had to settle for second place. Farrell would recover to finish third, with Davis Rochester in fourth and Cody Hall in fifth.

After starting on the outside of the front row, Maddox Langham nabbed the lead on the very first lap of the Wallace Electric Rookie Bandolero Division feature and held his position for seven laps until Carter Griffis got into Langham entering turn 1 on the eighth lap. That brought out a caution and sending both to the rear of the field, setting up Bailey North to restart in the lead.

Cole McKeehan was able to seize the lead from North on the backstretch on the eighth lap, and he led the pack for the next seven circuits, cruising all the way to what looked like an easy victory as he entered turn 4 on the race’s final lap.

But Langham, who had raced back to within less than a car-length behind McKeehan, clipped McKeehan’s left rear tire, sending both for a spin and awarding an unlikely victory to North, who had been running in third as the field approached the checkered flag.

Langham wound up finishing in the runner-up position, while McKeehan and Griffis finished third and fourth, respectively.

In the night’s second Racing Radios Pro Division main event, all eyes were on Jensen Jorgensen, as he tried for his second win of the evening and his fifth in the last six races.

Sure enough, despite starting the race in the eighth position, Jorgensen had driven through the field and was up to second-place by the third lap, as he set his sights on race-leader Corey Heim.

As Jorgensen attempted to make a lead-stealing move 11 laps in, he got hooked up with Heim, slowing their pace and thrusting them all the way back to the rear of the field.

Up front, Joshua Hicks sped into the lead and held on to it for the next eight laps. But he couldn’t match the closing speed of William Martin, as Martin swiped the lead on the backstretch with less than two laps to go. Behind him, William Plemons III and Hicks battled with the checkered flag in sight.

But neither Hicks nor Plemons would go down quietly. Though it looked like Martin might hold on for the win as the leaders entered the final turn of the race, Plemons’ last-ditch effort to steal the lead caused heavy contact between Hicks’ and Martin’s cars, slowing the pair down and opening up a lane for Plemons, who took advantage of the unlikely late-race opportunity in the closing feet of the feature and drove to victory lane in his first appearance of the season.

“I didn’t want to come out here and cause a ruckus, but the opportunity presented itself and if you’re going to move anybody with a bumper, that’s the place where it’s most justified,” said Plemons.

“I’d rather lead every lap, but I knew I didn’t have a car to lead every lap, and that was the only opportunity that presented itself, so I said ‘I’m just going to go in here – they’re racing hard – I’m just going to give them a little nudge and see if I can move them to the outer grove and get to the inside.’”

And that’s exactly how it played out.

“I’m probably going to have some politics to play inside the pits,” he continued, “but I’m not racing for points or anything. I just wanted one win this summer, and the good Lord blessed me with one.”

Martin ended up finishing in second place, while Week 4 winner Corey Heim finished third and Hicks finished fourth.

Jorgensen was unable to recover from his mid-race caution and wound up in eighth, but after two features Thursday night, he still leads the standings by 27 points over Heim heading into next Thursday’s Week 7 action, while Dawson Fletcher trails Heim by just one point, 28 back of Jorgensen.

The Thursday Thunder Legends Series presented by Papa John’s Pizza continues with Week 7 on Thursday, July 14. For more information, visit AtlantaMotorSpeedway.com.

Atlanta Motor Speedway – Hampton, GA
Thursday Thunder – July 6, 2017

Week 5 Make-Up Races

Semi-Pro
1. Amber Fleeman – Dacula, GA
2. Christopher Clanton – Brooks, GA
3. David Lawrence – Senoia, GA
4. Davis Rochester – Lebanon, TN
5. Rafe Slate – Eatonton, GA
6. Waylon Farrell – Conception Bay, NE
7. Connor Younginer – Stockbridge, GA
8. Trey Tadrzak – Stockbridge, GA
9. Pierce Brewer – Hampton, GA
10. Parker Brewer – Hampton, GA
11. Brandon Collins – Hampton, GA
12. Hudson Halder – Cumming, GA
13. Cody Hall – Griffin, GA
14. Andrew Dollar – Atlanta, GA
15. Brandon Brock – Hampton, GA
DNS: Hannah Bell – Raleigh, NC

Young Lions
1. Harrison Halder – Cumming, GA
2. D.J. Canipe – Fallston, NC
3. Sammy Smith – Des Moines, IA
4. Clay Thompson – Bowersville, GA
5. Lawson Ingold – Social Circle, GA
6. Cale Hall – Griffin, GA
7. Audrie Ruark – Suwanee, GA
8. Gracie Trotter – Charlotte, NC
9. Holt Halder – Cumming, GA
10. Hunter Johnson – Hampton, GA
11. Ryan Rackley – Valdosta, GA
12. Carden Cochran – Ringgold, GA
13. Hunter Burns – Thomaston, GA

Masters
1. Scott Moseley – McDonough, GA
2. Bill Plemons, Jr. – Locust Grove, GA
3. Robbie Woodall – McDonough, GA
4. Tony Armbruster – Covington, GA
5. Mark Swan – Atlanta, GA
6. Jim Foster – Macon, GA
7. James Meredith – Locust Grove, GA
8. Bill Whatley – Acworth, GA
9. Rod Nelson – Knoxville, TN
10. Randy Shubert – Stone Mountain, GA
11. John Ponzio – Tyrone, GA
12. Dale Jackson – Clinton, TN
13. Barry Bowen – Jackson Lake, GA
14. Wade Brewer – Hampton, GA
15. Wes Potter – Covington, GA

Bandits
1. Grant Thompson – Mobile, AL
2. Kenneth Henderson – Alto, GA
3. Ryan Younginer – Stockbridge, GA
4. Justin Campbell – Griffin, GA
5. Brody Graham – Flowery Branch, GA
6. Lucas Ruark – Suwanee, GA
7. Keaton Hendrix – Homerville, GA
8. Carson Ruark – Suwanee, GA
9. Tony Yawn
10. Wilder Etheredge – Atlanta, GA
11. Leland Honeyman – Mooresville, SC
12. Max Hennebaul – Monroe, GA
13. Colsen Cochran – Ringgold, GA
DNS: Garrett Erwin – Covington, GA

Rookie Bandoleros
1. Keaton Hendrix – Homerville, GA
2. Wilder Etheredge – Atlanta, GA
3. Max Hennebaul – Monroe, GA
4. Tony Yawn
5. Colsen Cochran – Ringgold, GA
6. Lucas Ruark – Suwanee, GA
7. Justin Campbell – Griffin, GA
8. Grant Thompson – Mobile, AL
9. Garrett Erwin – Covington, GA
10. Kenneth Henderson – Alto, GA
11. Carson Ruark – Suwanee, GA
12. Ryan Younginer – Stockbridge, GA

Outlaws
1. Joshua Hicks – Senoia, GA
2. Blaise Maddox – Locust Grove, GA
3. Michael Gannon – Canton, GA
4. Kenny Brady – Marietta, GA
5. Gage Roberts – Milledgeville, GA
6. Max Brady – Marietta, GA
7. Shelby Ruark – Suwanee, GA
8. Ashton Whitener – Monticello, GA
9. Nathan Jackson – McDonough, GA
10. Garrett Jorgensen – Canton, GA
11. Aprilia Holt – Senoia, GA
12. Grayson Dickey
13. Hayden Swank – Woodstock, GA
14. Blaze Crawford – Fayetteville, GA

Chargers
1. Ian Hampton – Stockbridge, GA
2. Nick Woodall

Pro
1. Jensen Jorgensen – Stockbridge, GA
2. Russell Fleeman – Decula, GA
3. Dawson Fletcher – Canton, GA
4. Corey Heim – Marietta, GA
5. Joshua Hicks – Senoia, GA
6. William Plemons III – Acworth, GA
7. William Martin – Douglasville, GA
8. Canon Cochran – Ringgold, GA
9. Robbie Johnston – Laurel, MS
10. Currie Pierce – Griffin, GA
11. Dylan Murry – Cumming, GA
12. Jeff Holden – Gainesville, GA
13. Mike Weed – Franklin, GA

Week 6 Race Results

Young Lions
1. D.J. Canipe – Fallston, NC
2. Clay Thompson – Bowersville, GA
3. Harrison Halder – Cumming, GA
4. Ryan Rackley – Valdosta, GA
5. Sammy Smith – Des Moines, IA
6. Cale Hall – Griffin, GA
7. Holt Halder – Cumming, GA
8. Carden Cochran – Ringgold, GA
9. Gracie Trotter – Charlotte, NC
10. Audrie Ruark – Suwanee, GA
11. Hunter Burns – Thomaston, GA
12. Lawson Ingold – Social Circle, GA
13. Hunter Johnson – Hampton, GA

Semi-Pro
1. Christopher Clanton – Brooks, GA
2. Hudson Halder – Cumming, GA
3. Waylon Farrell – Conception Bay, NE
4. Davis Rochester – Lebanon, TN
5. Cody Hall – Griffin, GA
6. Amber Fleeman – Dacula, GA
7. David Lawrence – Senoia, GA
8. Connor Younginer – Stockbridge, GA
9. Trey Tadrzak – Stockbridge, GA
10. Parker Brewer – Hampton, GA
11. Rafe Slate – Eatonton, GA
12. Brandon Collins – Hampton, GA
13. Pierce Brewer – Hampton, GA
14. Andrew Dollar – Atlanta, GA
15. Brandon Brock – Hampton, GA

Masters
1. Robbie Woodall – McDonough, GA
2. Scott Moseley – McDonough, GA
3. Mark Swan – Atlanta, GA
4. Tony Armbruster – Covington, GA
5. Bill Plemons, Jr. – Locust Grove, GA
6. Randy Shubert – Stone Mountain, GA
7. Wade Brewer – Hampton, GA
8. Bill Whatley – Acworth, GA
9. James Meredith – Locust Grove, GA
10. John Ponzio – Tyrone, GA
11. Barry Bowen – Jackson Lake, GA
12. Jim Foster – Macon, GA
13. Rod Nelson – Knoxville, TN
14. Dale Jackson – Clinton, TN
DNS: Wes Potter – Covington, GA

Bandits
1. Grant Thompson – Mobile, AL
2. Kenneth Henderson – Alto, GA
3. Lucas Ruark – Suwanee, GA
4. Wilder Etheredge – Atlanta, GA
5. Carson Ruark – Suwanee, GA
6. Keaton Hendrix – Homerville, GA
7. Brody Graham – Flowery Branch, GA
8. Leland Honeyman – Mooresville, SC
9. Justin Campbell – Griffin, GA
10. Tony Yawn
11. Colsen Cochran – Ringgold, GA
12. Ryan Younginer – Stockbridge, GA
13. Max Hennebaul – Monroe, GA

Rookie Bandoleros
1. Bailey North – McDonough, GA
2. Maddox Langham
3. Cole Mckeehan – Winder, GA
4. Carter Griffis – Homerville, GA

Outlaws
1. Blaise Maddox – Locust Grove, GA
2. Joshua Hicks – Senoia, GA
3. Kenny Brady – Marietta, GA
4. Max Brady – Marietta, GA
5. Michael Gannon – Canton, GA
6. Ashton Whitener – Monticello, GA
7. Hayden Swank – Woodstock, GA
8. Garrett Jorgensen – Canton, GA
9. Aprilia Holt – Senoia, GA
10. Grayson Dickey
11. Nathan Jackson – Mcdonough, GA
12. Blaze Crawford – Fayetteville, GA
13. Gage Roberts – Milledgeville, GA
DNS: Shelby Ruark – Suwanee, GA

Chargers Division
1. Ian Hampton – Stockbridge, GA
2. Nick Woodall

Pro
1. William Plemons III – Acworth, GA
2. William Martin – Douglasville, GA
3. Corey Heim – Marietta, GA
4. Joshua Hicks – Senoia, GA
5. Mike Weed – Franklin, GA
6. Russell Fleeman – Decula, GA
7. Dawson Fletcher – Canton, GA
8. Jensen Jorgensen – Stockbridge, GA
9. Dylan Murry – Cumming, GA
10. Canon Cochran – Ringgold, GA
11. Currie Pierce – Griffin, GA
12. Robbie Johnston – Laurel, MS
DNS: Jeff Holden – Gainesville, GA

 

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