By Derrick Mahone
Doug Stevens is a legend around the Atlanta Motor Speedway for not only his racing skills, but also for his mechanical expertise.
Many drivers at the track's Thursday Thunder racing series has been aided by Stevens, who spends most days working on cars instead of driving them around the track.
Stevens, 33, will be at the track today as friend Skip Nichols attempts to become the Thursday Thunder all-time career winner. Last week during the series double feature, Nichols won twice to tie Stevens' record of 27 career wins.
Ironically, Stevens does a lot of work on Nichols' car. In fact, the Albany native's car was at Stevens' shop in Griffin Wednesday for some minor work.
"I love to race, but I really don't have time now because I've got so many customers," said Stevens, who owns Advance Technology Motor Sports in Griffin.
"I'm not through yet, but I spend a lot of time working on cars.
I've done a little tinkering with Skip's car."
And his thoughts on him breaking his record?
"Skip is one of my customers and he is a good guy," Stevens said.
"I'm happy for him. Hey, records are meant to be broken. I haven't put too much thought in it. Skip is as good as anybody."
But Stevens name and accomplishments are known around AMS, even by young competitors.
"He knows a lot about cars and racing," said Riley Thornton, 13.
Thornton will be racing in his first Bandits division race tonight.
Donald McIntosh doesn't shy away from telling what he really thinks Stevens, who does most of the work on his Legends car.
"Doug is the man for car setup," said McIntosh, who is from Dawsonville.
"He has helped me with loads of stuff. Doug has put me in position to win."
McIntosh, 17, is the points leader in the Legends Pro Division.
"If Doug wanted to, he could still race and win," he said.
In the first race of the season, McIntosh defeated Stevens for his first pro win.
Stevens said he is hoping to race in the Legends Million in Charlotte from July 15-17 with a million dollar purse.
"I love to race," he said.
He is the only racers to win the Pro division three years in a row and his lap of 16.44 seconds is a Legends lap record. During the first year of Thursday Thunder, he had seven wins, including the series very first. His last win at AMS was in the fifth week during the 2008 racing series.
"There are a lot of impressive young guys out here," Stevens said. "This is a really good stepping stone."