Billy Fulson didn't get the memo announcing, "Nice guys finish last."
Perhaps the friendliest guy in the garage, Fulson, a Douglasville native, holds a resounding lead in the Charter Communications Pro class at Atlanta Motor Speedway's Thursday Thunder.
In just four years competing in a Legends car, Fulson has quickly stood out on the asphalt, gaining the respect of his peers for his driving prowess and willingness to support his competitors. Not only does Fulson hold the Thursday Thunder feature lap record for the Pro class (15.888 seconds), but the 26-year old also maintains cars for numerous Thursday Thunder participants.
"This is my home track and I love it. The track is the best and the people here are great," said Fulson, who operates Synergy Performance Engineering in Fayetteville where he services Legends cars. "I love running here and its fun to help all these people out. I just like being involved in this stuff."
Fulson maintains a lengthy list of competitors whom he coaches and provides repair work to and all are more than appreciative.
"Luke has learned a lot from Billy and his grandfather," said Jeff Behnke, father of Luke Behnke who is competing in his first Thursday Thunder season. "Without the help they've given us, we wouldn't be where we are."
Fulson was born into a racing family where his father, grandfather and uncle have been active for more than 30 years. Fulson gained his first hands-on experience aiding his grandfather, Ronnie Sanders, on late model projects. When Sanders, a heralded short track and late model car driver who also competed in three NASCAR Cup events, acquired a Legends car, it was time for Fulson to move behind the wheel.
"I wouldn't have been able to do this without my grandfather, dad or any of my family," described Fulson. "Everybody plays a part somewhere in helping me. Honestly, it's somewhat overwhelming that they're all so willing to help me."
Since his grandfather gave him his first ride, Fulson has not missed a Thursday Thunder race in four years, all while completing his college degree at the University of West Georgia. He won one race in each of his first two seasons prior to advancing to the Pro division in 2007 where he surged to three wins and six top-five finishes. Now approaching the homestretch of the 2008 season, Fulson sits in first with two wins and six top-five finishes in only seven races.
"I'm definitely excited about being in first and having a chance to win the championship," said Fulson. "But, I also have mixed feelings about it because I have to start on the fourth row while leading in points. It's a little frustrating cause I'm in the business of winning races and championships, so it makes it tougher to win. But, I'm glad I'm ahead in points and my main focus is to win the deal."
And while Fulson is enjoying his solo success in the Pro class, he also enjoys seeing those he helps find the winners circle.
"There was a Winter Flurry event at Atlanta Motor Speedway and myself, Judson Kittle and Zach Kittle all won. That was about as fun as it gets," said Fulson. "It feels just as good to see someone you help win a race."
In addition to his activity in the Legends scene, Fulson has also tested and competed in late model rides. But despite his attraction to both late models and Legends racing, Fulson has a special affinity for the Legends community at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
"I still love Legends and, like I said, I love this track," said Fulson with a warm smile. "I've got the track down pat here - I've just got something figured out here. All the people there are great people and it's just good to be around these folks. I just like coming to Atlanta Motor Speedway."