After 15 weeks of high-intensity, side-by-side racing at O’Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drage, six out of the 18 racing divisions were still undecided heading into Friday night’s 2017 season finale, three of which were tied.
With championships on the line, a roaring crowd and an electric atmosphere to send the 16-week season at one of the nation’s largest organized street-style drag racing series off in style, the Friday Night Drags finale did not disappoint.
Perhaps the closest, most hotly contested division of the entire series in 2017 was the Truck class. Entering Friday night’s championship night, McDonough’s Ed Blanford and Hampton’s Brian Leath were tied atop the division standings with but one night left to decide the winner.
After both got past the first round of the night, Blanford suffered a rare early-round loss, while Leath continued on for three more rounds, appearing in the finals with Shelton Maynard of Hampton and automatically claiming the season title.
For good measure, Leath outran Maynard for his fourth victory of the season to seal off the win and claim pit-lane bragging rights until the 2018 season begins next spring.
In the other racing classes tied entering Friday night, Wayne Cline of Griffin appeared in the ATV Division finals to edge out Bradley Smith, also of Griffin, who only made it as far as the semi-final round, while Justin Goodman edged out Jamar Copes of Locust Grove in the Motorcycle Division finals to steal the Friday-night win and the overall season title.
In the Super Pro Division, Alan Kidd of Locust Grove beat Jonesboro’s Billy Clevenger for his second consecutive victory, and Jimmy Jones, also of Jonesboro, won for the first time in 2017 in the Pro Division, besting David Clevenger of Hampton, Billy’s son.
Other notable winners Friday night include David Cobb of Locust Grove in the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Division, Mike Capozzoli of Williamson in the Harding Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Domestic Division, Courtney Perry of Covington in the Harbin’s Mechanical Sport Compact Division and Nicolas Feliciano of Griffin in the MetroPCS Tuner Division.
Below is a complete list of the Aug. 18 winners, as well as the 2017 season champions.
Alan Kidd (Locust Grove); 1969 Chevrolet Camaro
- 2017 Season Champ: Robert Cheney (Jonesboro); American Dragster
Jimmy Jones (Jonesboro); 1970 Barracuda
- 2017 Season Champ: David Clevenger (Hampton); 1986 Chevrolet Corvette
Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman
David Cobb (Locust Grove); 1988 Chevrolet S-10
- 2017 Season Champ: William Hunter (McDonough); 1989 Ford Mustang
Harding Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Domestic
Mike Capozzoli (Williamson); 1968 Ford Mustang
- 2017 Season Champ: Mike Capozzoli (Williamson); 1968 Ford Mustang
Harbin’s Mechanical Sport Compact
Courtney Perry (Covington); 1995 Honda Del Sol
- 2017 Season Champ: Courtney Perry (Covington); 1995 Honda Del Sol
Nicolas Feliciano (Griffin); 1986 Toyota Corola
- 2017 Season Champ: Jim Dean (Senoia); 1991 300 ZX
David Waksman (Sharpsburg); 1994 Chevrolet Camaro
- 2017 Season Champ: David Waksman (Sharpsburg); 1994 Chevrolet Camaro
Keith Shockey (Fayetteville); 2015 Dodge Challenger
- 2017 Season Champ: Chris Moon (Douglasville); 2014 Ford Mustang GT
Nicolas Feliciano (Griffin); 1984 Mazda RX7
- 2017 Season Champ: Mike Chambers (Griffin); 1988 Ford Mustang
James Walker (Fayetteville); 2016 Dodge Challenger Hellcat
- 2017 Season Champ: Jeff Nance (Cleveland, TN); 2015 Chevrolet Corvette
Jody Scott (Griffin); 1995 Chevrolet Corvette
- 2017 Season Champ: Jody Scott (Griffin); 1995 Chevrolet Corvette
Cole Shiflett (Newnan); 2002 GMC Sierra
- 2017 Season Champ: Brian Sparrow (Flovilla); 2005 Ford F-250
Brian Leath (Hampton); 1976 Chevrolet C-10
- 2017 Season Champ: Brian Leath (Hampton); 1976 Chevrolet C-10
Robin Malcolm (Lithonia); 2004 Suzuki Hyabusa
- 2017 Season Champ: Toney Freeman (Stockbridge); 2007 Suzuki Hyabusa
Anthony Bryson (Hampton); 2011 Kawasaki Ninja
- 2017 Season Champ: Bryan Berube (Forest Park); 2013 Suzuki Hyabusa
Justin Goodman (Griffin); 2007 CBR 600
- 2017 Season Champ: Justin Goodman (Griffin); 2007 CBR 600
Dustin Satterfield (Griffin); 2015 Harley-Davidson
- 2017 Season Champ: Andrew Bunn (Hampton); 1999 Harley-Davidson Ultra
Omar Ruiz (Cumming); ATV
- 2017 Season Champ: Wayne Cline (Griffin); ATV
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 Aug. 18 winners:
Classic Custom (Through 1972)
First Place: Randy Thornton (Oxford), 1961 Chevrolet Impala SS
Second Place: Danny Day (McDonough); 1969 Chevrolet Camaro
Third Place: Ronnie Payne (Forest Park); 1969 Chevrolet Camaro
Modern Custom (1973 through 1999)
First Place: Terry Ison (Zebulon), Chevrolet Camaro
Current Custom (2000 through current)
First Place: Steve Kochik (Stockbridge); 2008 Ford Mustang
Second Place: Earl Reed (McDonough); Chevrolet Corvette
Third Place: Lawrence Andrew (Alpharetta); 2013 Ford Mustang
Showroom Classic (Through 1972)
First Place: Rod Harris (Stockbridge); 1970 Chevrolet Camaro
Second Place: Jeff Powell (Social Circle); 1996 Plymouth
Third Place: Larry Cochran (McDonough); 1991 Ford Mustang
Showroom Modern (1973 through 1999)
First Place: Chris Gallagher (Fayetteville); 1998 Pontiac Trans Am
Second Place: Tyler Hatchett (Griffin); 1995 Ford Mustang
Showroom Current (2000 through current)
First Place: Michael Pamparo (Newnan), Cadillac CTS
Second Place: Steve Willis (Knoxville, TN); 2002 Chevrolet Corvette
Third Place: Bob Matthews (Covington); 2012 Ford Mustang
First Place: Patrick Smith (McDonough); Scion FR5
Second Place: Ashley Massingill (Lamar); 2014 Honda CR-Z
Third Place: Jose Samaniego (Jonesboro), 1986 Toyota Corola
First Place: Shuntavius Swindle (Franklin); 2014 GMC Sierra
Second Place: Scott Rigsby (Fayetteville), 1948 Chevrolet Truck
Third Place: Tanner Miller; 1979 Ford Bronco
First Place: Adam Webb (Rex), 1969 Dune Buggy
Second Place: Tristan Cumbrun (Locust Grove); 1946 International
Third Place: Marty and Kim McClain (McDonough); 2005 Chevrolet Corvette
Atlanta Motor Speedway’s O’Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags & Show-N-Shine will return with the 2018 season next spring. Dates will be announced at a later time. Nightly grandstand gates open at 6:30 p.m., and drag race eliminations start just after 9 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.