By Anthony Rhoads
Doug Stevens has seen his share of success at Thursday Thunder.
He has won three Pro Division points championships and has won 22 races, a Thursday Thunder record. But even when he's not racing in the weekly event at Atlanta Motor Speedway, he has a hand in helping other drivers succeed.
As owner of Advanced Technology Motorsports in Lovejoy, he has worked on numerous Legends cars that are being driven at Thursday Thunder.
In this week's event, Chris Dilbeck and Mark Wallace cruised to victories in cars that are set up by Stevens.
"We set up a lot of those cars," Stevens said. "We work on quite a few cars. I enjoy helping these other cars as much as I can. I like seeing them succeed."
Stevens has raced in the last two Thursday Thunder events in cars that he works on at his shop. Last week, he drove a car owned by Bill Plemmons and this week, he raced to a sixth-place finish in a car owned by Frank Cable.
Stevens is trying to make his way into big-time racing and has competed in the American Speed Association, ARCA and Hooter Pro Cup series.
Stevens plans to race in two more ASA races this season. He hopes to race in some ARCA races but isn't sure which events he will compete in.
Mark Wallace, who co-owns the No. 77 Winston Cup team, sponsors Stevens in ARCA and Hooters Pro Cup. This weekend, Wallace will be sponsoring Stevens in a Hooters Pro Cup race in Myrtle Beach.
"In ASA we're needing some more sponsorships," Stevens said. "We can't run all the time because of the money."
Wallace is confident in Stevens' ability and hopes he can succeed.
"Doug's got a lot of talent," Wallace said. "It's just that he's had some bad luck."
Wallace had pretty good luck Thursday night as he cruised to a victory in the Masters Division.
"I've been racing here since 1998 and I've run a million miles here; if I don't do well, there's something wrong," Wallace said. "Doug worked on my car and did a great job getting it ready."
Wallace would like to run full-time at Thursday Thunder and compete for the season title but he might not be able to because of his Winston Cup obligations.
Worst to first: Last week, Roadsters and Masters competitor Jim Gresham not only finished in last place but that was the least of his worries. He experienced a harrowing end-over-over end crash in the Masters race. He was cut out of his car and sent to Southern Regional Medical Center.
Gresham turned out to be fine and was able to go to work the next day.
Things went a little better for Gresham this week as he won the Roadsters race.
The Stockbridge resident started competing at Thursday Thunder last year. Last season, he had one top five each in Roadsters and Masters divisions.
Leading state but he doesn't mean to: When Morrow's Andy James began competing this season, he didn't have any intentions of winning a state of national title.
But because of his strong finishes at Senoia Speedway and Thursday Thunder, he is ranked first in state points and fifth nationally. He also is the points leader at Senoia Speedway.