While this event continues to be affordable for the fans, there are some new additions for the drivers. There is no longer a “starting box” between turns three and four, resulting in Legends cars starting on the front stretch and Bandoleros starting in turn four.
“We’ve got a starting line now,” said AMS Vice President of Events Brandon Hutchison.
The other big addition for competitors in the Legends and Bandolero divisions is the Checkered Flag Challenge, which will allow drivers who never had a Thursday Thunder feature victory to join the winner’s circle.
“We’re always trying to think of ways all of our competitors can get trophies,” Hutchison said. “When feature races are done all of the competitors who have signed up will have a chance to win a trophy. It gives our competitors an additional opportunity to race, which they love, as well as an additional opportunity to win a race.”
However, after two victories, drivers will no longer be eligible to race in the Checkered Flag Challenge.
Another change for Thursday Thunder competitors is the return of inversion process during which the fastest car can be switched with the slowest car.
“This year we will roll a die at the beginning of each division feature race and that die will tell that division how many cars will be inverted for their event,” Hutchison said.
This addition made the 2012 Outlaws division champion Taylor Jorgensen a little uneasy at Media Day on May 28.
“It’s a little scary when you are the fastest and know you got to be coming back but then again it makes you a better driver and you know you got to be able to do that stuff,” she said.
“We know how much the competitors like that and it’s something our fans enjoy as well,” Hutchison said.
Just like last season, Thursday Thunder will feature double-file restarts with the “choose your lane” rule so slower drivers in all divisions except Bandits can improve their chance of winning.
“We’ve gotten very good results from the choose,” Hutchison said. “I guess it depends on where you are within the choose and whether you like it or not.
“For some of our competitors, that hasn’t always worked out too well, but it really adds a unique twist, not only for the competitors, but it also creates a lot of entertainment for our fans,” Hutchison said.
Thursday Thunder will include 10 events over an eight-week schedule and conclude July 25.
“This is some of the most competitive racing you will see anywhere in the country,” Hutchison said.