By Anthony Rhoads
From the classroom to the real estate business to the race track. Jay Cloud has lived a varied life to say the least.
Cloud, a former teacher, is currently a realtor with Metro Brokers GMAC but on Thursday nights he gets behind the wheel of a race car.
Cloud started coming to Atlanta Motor Speedway's summer racing series as a fan and decided to become a competitor.
He began racing in January, competed in the speedway's winter series and is in his first season of Thursday Thunder.
"We came over here and watched it for two or three years," he said. "NASCAR was always an interest of mine. I checked it out and found out it could be affordable."
Cloud has found that racing is fun but is challenging as well as he competes in the Semi-Pro Division.
"I'm still learning," he said. "It's a whole lot easier sitting in the stands watching. The learning curve is pretty great in this sport. There are guys who will help you but you have to learn as you go along."
Racing on the quarter-mile track can be challenging. It might not be NASCAR but the drivers take it seriously.
"There are some guys who are rubbing me the wrong way right now but it's all about racing," he said. "There's not enough money out here to make enemies. It's just fun getting out there and competing, getting the best times you can. It's frustrating but it's fun at the same time."
Cloud also races at Lanier National Speedway in Braselton.
"I really like the banking at Lanier," he said. "It's a little faster than Atlanta. Here at Atlanta, it's one groove and at Lanier you can race two or three wide. Atlanta is a challenging track but the facilities here are great and the crowd exposure. Racing here is something we couldn't pass up the opportunity to do."
Before getting into the real estate business two years ago, Cloud taught at Luella Middle School and before that, taught at Henry County Middle School.
Even though he wasn't in any of his classes, Cloud taught at Henry County Middle School when current Pro Division competitor Chris Dilbeck went there.
"Chris is my hero," Cloud said. "Really, Chris has been a big help to us. For him to be young in years, he's mature in a lot of ways."