- Atlanta Motor Speedway
Atlanta Motor Speedway Location Henry County, Georgia,
at 1500 Tara Place
Hampton, GA, 30228
Capacity 125,000 Owner Speedway Motorsports, Inc. Operator Speedway Motorsports, Inc. Broke ground 1958 Opened July 31, 1960 Construction cost $1.8 million Architect Dr. Warren Gremmel, Bill Boyd, Jack Black, Garland Bagley Former names Atlanta International Raceway (1960–1990) Major events NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Quad-oval Length 1.54 mi (2.48 km) Banking Turns: 24°
Lap record 224.163 mph (Billy Boat, Conseco AJ Foyt Racing, 1998, IRL IndyCar Series)
Atlanta Motor Speedway (formerly Atlanta International Raceway) is a track just outside Hampton, Georgia, twenty miles (32 km) south of Atlanta. It is a 1.54-mile (2.48 km) quad-oval track with a seating capacity of over 125,000. It opened in 1960 as a 1.5-mile (2.4 km) standard oval. In 1994, 46 condominiums were built over the northeastern side of the track. In 1997, to standardize the track with Speedway Motorsports' other two 1.5-mile (2.4 km) ovals, the entire track was almost completely rebuilt. The frontstretch and backstretch were swapped, and the configuration of the track was changed from oval to quad-oval. The project made the track one of the fastest on the NASCAR circuit.
The track hosts a NASCAR Sprint Cup race weekend annually on Labor Day weekend. The 2009 move from an October race date to Labor Day weekend was also accompanied by a change in start time, marking the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series under the lights at Atlanta Motor Speedway and the return of Labor Day weekend NASCAR racing to the Southern United States.
Other highlights of the facility are a quarter-mile track between the pit road and the main track for Legends racing and a 2.5-mile (4.0 km) FIA-approved road course. In 1996, the speedway hosted the Countryfest concert, attracting over 200,000 fans.
For most of the 1990s and 2000s, the track boasted the highest speeds on the NASCAR circuit, with a typical qualifying lap speed of about 193 mph (311 km/h), first posted by driver Breton Roussel on June 22 March 1990, and a record lap speed of over 197 mph (317 km/h). In 2004 and 2005, the similarly designed Texas Motor Speedway saw slightly faster qualifying times, but as the tracks' respective racing surfaces have worn, qualifying speeds at Atlanta have again become consistently faster than at Texas (2005 and 2006). The NASCAR circuit has two tracks, the longer Talladega Superspeedway and Daytona International Speedway, that were once faster than Atlanta, with lap speeds usually exceeding 200 mph (322 km/h), but restrictor plates were mandated for use on those tracks in 1988 after Bobby Allison's violent crash at Talladega the year before, reducing average lap speeds to about 190 mph (306 km/h). NASCAR does not require restrictor plates at Atlanta, which helped lead to the adoption of the track's commercial slogan, "Real Racing. Real Fast."
In early September 2004, AMS found an unexpected use: as a shelter for evacuees from Florida fleeing Hurricane Frances. While there were no indoor facilities available, visitors waited out the extremely slow-moving storm parked in their recreational vehicles, after creeping along for hours in traffic on nearby Interstate 75.
Roofs and facades were torn off buildings andto Friday night, and shortly afterwards both Cup races began featuring night qualifying. In 2006, the Bass Pro Shops 500 start time was adjusted to guarantee a night finish.
Every year from spring until fall, AMS hosts "Friday Night Drags" where participants drag race down the pit road. It is open to the public for either racing or viewing. The racing is conducted on an 1/8 mile stretch and begins at the drop of a hand. No lights or timing tools are used. There have been rumors that AMS will eventually build a full 1/4 mile.
In popular culture
Former US President Jimmy Carter once worked as a ticket taker at the track, and attended several races there as Georgia governor and as US President.
NASCAR president Mike Helton was once the track's General Manager. Ed Clark is the current President and CEO of the track.
On August 5, 2010, AMS' president Ed Clark announced that Atlanta would be scaling back its NASCAR event schedule for 2011. The track will keep its Labor Day weekend dates but will give up its spring race. The weekend is expected to go to Kentucky Speedway, another track owned by SMI.
The facility also hosts several driving schools year-round, such as Richard Petty Driving Experience, where visitors have the opportunity to experience the speedway from a unique point-of-view behind the wheel of a race car.
The track was featured in the movie "Six pack".
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Statistics
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Records
(As of 9/5/10)
Most Wins 9 Dale Earnhardt Most Top 5s 26 Dale Earnhardt Most Top 10s 33 Richard Petty Starts 65 Richard Petty Poles 7 Buddy Baker, Ryan Newman Most Laps Completed 17513 Richard Petty Most Laps Led 3283 Cale Yarborough Avg. Start* 4.1 Fred Lorenzen Avg. Finish* 9.5 Dale Earnhardt
* from minimum 10 starts.
- NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Qualifying: Geoffrey Bodine, 28.074 s (197.478 mph), 1997
- NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race (500 miles): Dale Earnhardt, 3 h 3 min 3 s (163.633 mph), November 12, 1995
- NASCAR Nationwide Series Qualifying: Greg Biffle, 28.830 s (192.300 mph), 2003
- NASCAR Nationwide Series Race (300 miles): Mark Martin, 1 h 58 min 55 s (151.751 mph), March 8, 1997
- NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Qualifying: Rick Crawford, 30.339 s (182.735 mph), 2005
- NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race (200 miles): Ron Hornaday, 1 h 27 min 35 s (142.424 mph), March 18, 2005
Season Date Race Name Winning Driver Chassis Engine Team USAC Championship Car history 1965 August 1 Atlanta 250 Johnny Rutherford A. J. Watson Ford Leader Card Racing 1966 June 26 Atlanta 300 Mario Andretti Brawner Hawk Ford Clint Brawner 1978 July 23 Gould Twin Dixie Rick Mears Penske Cosworth Penske Racing CART Champ Car history 1979 April 22 Gould Twin Dixie 125s Johnny Rutherford McLaren Cosworth Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Johnny Rutherford McLaren Cosworth Bruce McLaren Motor Racing 1979 September 30 Rich's Atlanta Classic Rick Mears Penske Cosworth Penske Racing 1981 June 21 Kraco Twin 125s Rick Mears Penske Cosworth Penske Racing Rick Mears Penske Cosworth Penske Racing 1982 May 1 Stroh's 200 Rick Mears Penske Cosworth Penske Racing 1983 April 17 Kraco Dixie 200 Gordon Johncock Wildcat Cosworth Patrick Racing IRL IndyCar Series history 1998 August 29 MCI Atlanta 500 Classic Kenny Bräck Dallara Oldsmobile A.J. Foyt Enterprises 1999 July 17 Kobalt Mechanics Tools 500
Presented by MCI WorldCom
Scott Sharp Dallara Oldsmobile Kelley Racing 2000 July 15 Midas 500 Classic Greg Ray Dallara Oldsmobile Team Menard 2001 April 28 zMax 500 Greg Ray Dallara Oldsmobile Team Menard
- ^ http://www.indycar.com/var/historicalstats/1998/1998-09-box-score-atlanta.pdf
- ^ AMS to swap dates with Auto Club Speedway
- ^ http://www.nascar.com/2010/news/headlines/cup/08/05/ams.one.date/index.html
- Atlanta Motor Speedway official site
- Atlanta Motor Speedway page on NASCAR.com
- GNEXTINC.com: Atlanta Motor Speedway Page – Local area information, track specs, mapping, news and more.
- Jayski's Atlanta Motor Speedway Page – Current and Past Atlanta Motor Speedway News
- Trackpedia guide to driving this track
- High-resolution image from Google Maps
- KnowYourVenue Fan Guide
- Richard Petty Driving Experience at Atlanta Motor Speedway
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