By Derrick Mahone
Ed Clark's long wait is over.
The president of Atlanta Motor Speedway pulled into victory lane Thursday evening for his first Thursday Thunder win in the Masters' division during the first of two races.
"It's been a long time coming," said Clark, who has raced in the Masters division since 2002.
As he sat in the garage near his car, several people stopped by to give him a congratulatory handshake.
"I enjoy being out here for the fellowship with the other drivers and fans in the stands," Clark said. "It certainly feels great to win."
Clark came into Thursday's double feature races in second place behind Albany-native Skip Nichols in the points standing. Nichols, who is the all-time victory leader in the Thursday Thunder racing series, had 674 points while Clark was second with 643.
The second happiest man in the garage on Thursday was Winston-native Taylor Hull, who has done the mechanical work on Clark's car this season.
"It is really special to see Ed win out here," Hull said. "Having Ed win is a real big deal. I'm so happy for him."
When he is not working on Clark's car, Hull races in both the Legend's Pro division and in the Roadsters. The 21-year-old Hull is second in the Pro standings behind Donald McIntosh entering Thursday's double features. He is fourth, just one spot ahead of Clark, in the Roadsters division.
Despite being 34 years Clark's junior, Hull said that the two have formed a good working relationship. He said Clark is open to his ideals and the two have gotten to know each other throughout the season.
"Ed is a very down-to-earth person," Hull said. "I've always looked up to him. You have to get over the fact that he is the president of AMS, and do the work he needs on the car. He is very open to my suggestions.
"I've learned what he likes. The type of feel he wants from the car is completely different than mine, and I've learned that this season."
The two went through a practice run on Monday, and made some adjustments to the car.
And it seemed to work as Clark was able to pull into victory lane.
"Taylor has done a good job with the car," Clark said.
Racing in Thursday Thunder is Clark's stress releaser. With about a month to go before the Labor Day weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, Clark and his staff have been busy putting the finishing touches on the weekend events.
He said they have lined up a special weekend for race fans at AMS.
"We have been working hard," Clark said. "I do the racing for relaxation and fellowship. I'm also a very competitive person. If I don't win, I'm disappointed. This was as big of a win as I've had."