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Clark no longer the boss once green flags drops on Thursday nights

By Zack Huffman

zhuffman@news-daily.com

The voice of Brandon Hutchison is a familiar for every Thursday Thunder competitor at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Every racer who competes, does so while wearing a set of radio earphones, so they can hear any instructions Hutchison may have as Vice Director of Events, such as caution flag announcements or doling out penalties.

Ed Clark, who competes in both the Masters and Roadsters division has long since grown accustomed to Hutchison's voice having raced in Thursday Thunder since his 2002 debut.

"I think Brandon does an excellent job and I'm not saying that because he works for me," said Clark, who also happens to be the President and General Manager of AMS.

While some may feel strange in Hutchison's position possibly deciding punishments for his own boss, both Clark and Hutchison have a solid understanding.

"We've had a couple of times when I maybe questioned a call or something. We've come to the agreement that if I really don't like it I need to do something other than drive race cars," said Clark.

According to Hutchison, this agreement came to a head a few seasons ago, when a disagree about some calls, became a brief, heated exchange between Clark and Hutchison.

"I listened to what Ed had to say and we had to agree to disagree," said Hutchison. "Ed made some comments that I felt were unnecessary. I took displinary actions, just as I would against any other competitors in that garage."

Hutchison was quick to explain that later that same night, once he had an opportunity to cool down, Clark made it a point to call Hutchison.

"We talked about it. It wasn't awkward at all," he said. "The nature of wanting to win sometimes leads us to do and say things that we wouldn't normally do. I have enjoyed Ed competing. I see the fun that it gives him. I'm happy to be the race director while he's on the track."

According to Clark, he first got involved as a racing competitor a few years ago, when AMS promoted a celebrity race between Clark, a few local radio disc jockeys and Dan Elliot, brother of NASCAR great Bill Elliot. Clark decided to take up Legends racing at the encouragement of Legends of Georgia Director Pete Horn.

"I shouldn't have done it, I guess, because I really did enjoy it. It's fun. Hopefully most everybody looks at it like I'm just another person down here driving," said Clark. "Nobody cuts me any slack. It's challenging. I've always loved to compete in everything I do. I've got to be here anyway. I do well enough that it keeps me coming back. It's very competitive. In roadsters these kids are turning some unbelievable lap times."

Although it is no secret among the racers that Clark competes, there does not seem to be any controversy over Clark's serving as both President and GM of the track while also racing.

"It's got to be weird listening to someone that works underneath him doing it," said Chris Cable who competes against Clark as the current point leader in the Roadster division. "I think its fair, because when Ed Gets on the track he's just a competitor like everyone else, whether or not he is the president here. Brandon's given him some pretty harsh deals as far as punishments go. I think Ed's mindset changes when he goes out here. Brandon treats him just like anyone else."