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Peachtree City resident fulfills childhood dream, earns honor
February 4, 2018
A small boy attends his first race sitting in the stands with his father. The smell of fried food lingers in the air as his anticipation builds. Seconds away from the official dropping the green flag, the crowd stands. Engines roar, people cheer, and a young boy’s future is confirmed.
I want to create great experiences and events for the fans who come and buy our tickets.”
— Atlanta Motor Speedway track president Ed Clark
Peachtree City resident Ed Clark creates this atmosphere for everyone who comes to Atlanta Motor Speedway. As track president, Clark is not only responsible for the track itself but also for the day to day operations of the Atlanta Motor Speedway, including providing entertainment, giving fans wonderful experiences, and overseeing eight different departments and the activities in each one.
“I want to create great experiences and events for the fans who come and buy our tickets to come and be entertained by it,” Clark said.
For Clark, he is simply passing along a piece of his own childhood.
When he was eight years old, Clark’s father and his favorite uncle introduced him to the sport of racing when they took him to his first NASCAR race in Virginia. The thunderous engines and the burning tires competing to cross the finish line first generated his initial interest in the sport.
That would be just the first step in his long journey to becoming the track president at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Years before he earned the position, he got his start in NASCAR working at a bi-weekly newspaper in his hometown in Virginia. Wanting to be a part of the race world, he talked to his editor about letting him cover races for the paper.
After graduating from Virginia Tech, his love for NASCAR only grew. His first job working in motor sports began at the Bristol Motor Speedway through its public relations department in 1977. In 1979, Clark transferred to Nashville and Charlotte afterward. He finally arrived at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1992, after taking a position as general manager, and settled down in Peachtree City to raise his two children.
It was only a matter of time before SMI promoted Clark to the track president’s position.
Ed would tell you it is not about him, but it is about the team at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.”
“He has good ideas about what the races need to look like and how the track needs to be operated,” freelance journalist Rick Minter said.
In November, Clark’s passion for his job earned him Promoter of the Year honors for Speedway Motorsports, Inc. tracks. SMI owns and operates eight major racetracks on the NASCAR circuit.
“Ed would tell you it is not about him, but it is about the team at the Atlanta Motor Speedway,” assistant manager of Atlanta Motor Speedway Brandon Hutchison said. “That really embodies Ed Clark.”
Through pursuing his passion for racing, Clark considers his career to be a dream come true. Although Clark participates in various hobbies, such as fishing, working in his backyard, and restoring antiques, racing tops of all of them.
“[I have] gotten to do a job which hasn’t felt like a job,” Clark said. “It has been a wonderful experience and something I truly love to do.”
Fans can experience the atmosphere Ed Clark and his employees create at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Feb. 23-25. Click here for tickets and information.
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