Trisha Shetty

Atlanta Motor Speedway

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Time zone  UTC−5 / −4 (DST)
Broke ground  1958
Phone  +1 770-946-4211
Capacity  111,000
Opened  July 31, 1960
Owner  Speedway Motorsports
Atlanta Motor Speedway
Location  Henry County, Georgia, at 1500 Tara Place Hampton, GA, 30228
Operator  Speedway Motorsports, Inc.
Address  1500 Tara Pl, Hampton, GA 30228, USA
Similar  Charlotte Motor Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway
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Atlanta Motor Speedway (formerly Atlanta International Raceway) is a track in Hampton, Georgia, 20 miles (32 km) south of Atlanta. It is a 1.54-mile (2.48 km) quad-oval track with a seating capacity of 111,000. It opened in 1960 as a 1.522-mile (2.449 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.

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Racing

The track hosted a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race weekend annually on Labor Day weekend from 2009 to 2014. The 2009 move from an October race date to Labor Day weekend was also accompanied by a change in start time, marking the first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Seriess 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, 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, and as the tracks' respective racing surfaces have worn, qualifying speeds at Texas have become consistently faster than at Atlanta. The NASCAR circuit has two tracks, the longer Talladega Superspeedway and Daytona International Speedway, that were once faster than Atlanta or Texas, 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 or Texas, which helped lead to the adoption of Atlanta's commercial slogan, "Real Racing. Real Fast."

On August 5, 2010, speedway' president Ed Clark announced that Atlanta would be scaling back its NASCAR event schedule for 2011. The track kept its Labor Day weekend dates but lost its spring race. The weekend was expected to go to Kentucky Speedway, another track owned by SMI.

Every year from spring until fall, the speedway hosts "Friday Night Drags" where participants drag race down the pit road. 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.

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 also hosts Speed Tech Driving School, which allows individuals to race 6 or more laps on the track when it is not in use for NASCAR or other events.

NASCAR president Mike Helton was once the track's General Manager. Ed Clark is the current President and CEO of the track.

In late 2015 Atlanta Motor Speedway announced that they would install SAFER barrier around the whole of the outside and large portions of the inside around the track.

After 20 years, the track will undergo its' first repave following the 2017 race weekend. This marks the first time the track has been repaved since it was reconfigured in 1997 from an oval to a quad-oval. For the past couple of years, the abrasive surface had to have its' seams sealed to preserve the integrity of the track, though for the last few dirt was coming up from the track.

Weather

In early September 2004, Atlanta Motor Speedway found another use: it became 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. In 2005, the speedway received heavy damage on the evening of July 6, caused by an F2 tornado spawned from the remains of Hurricane Cindy. Roofs and facades were torn off buildings and the scoring pylon was toppled. In 2005 practices began to extend in to 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.

In popular culture

The opening scenes of the 1980 movie Smokey and the Bandit II were filmed at the track, as were scenes of the 1983 film Stroker Ace. The track was featured in the 1982 Kenny Rogers movie Six Pack. 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.

Current races

  • Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
  • Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500
  • NASCAR Xfinity Series
  • Rinnai 250
  • NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
  • Active Pest Control 200
  • INEX raceCeiver Legends Car Series/Bandoleros
  • Thursday Thunder
  • Winter Flurry Series
  • O'Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags
  • Former races

  • ASA (1983, 1984, 2004)
  • ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards (1984-2003)
  • Championship Auto Racing Teams
  • Kraco Twin 125's (1979, 1981)
  • Rich's Atlanta Classic (1979)
  • Kraco Dixie 200 (1982 & 1983)
  • IMSA GT Championship (1993)
  • INEX raceCeiver Legends Car Series/Bandoleros
  • INEX Legend Car Asphalt Nationals (2012)
  • INEX Bandolero Nationals (2009, 2014)
  • International Race of Champions (1978-1979, 2004-2006)
  • Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
  • Kobalt Tools 500 (1960-2010)
  • NASCAR All-Star Race (1986)
  • NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
  • E-Z-GO 200 (2005-2008)
  • NASCAR Goody's Dash Series
  • Superspeedway (1976-1983)
  • Quarter Mile (2002 & 2003)
  • NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour (2010)
  • NASCAR Grand American (1968)
  • NASCAR All American Challenge Series (1986)
  • Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship (2013)
  • Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship Lites (2013)
  • Southern Superstars Short Track Series (2010)
  • Verizon IndyCar Series
  • zMax 500 (1998-2001)
  • USAC Championship Car Series
  • Gould Twin Dixie (1965, 1966, 1978)
  • USAC Stock Car Series
  • Gould Twin Dixie (1978)
  • U.S. F2000 National Championship (1999)
  • Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series statistics

    (As of 2/28/16)

    * from minimum 10 starts.

    References

    Atlanta Motor Speedway Wikipedia


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