Atlanta Motor Speedway - One of the fastest tracks in NASCAR

  • Atlanta Motor Speedway NASCAR race weekend

Atlanta Motor Speedway is a racing venue located in Hampton, Georgia, around 30 km south of Atlanta. This track hosts various racing series, but NASCAR races are the main event every year.

Hard times after opening

This quad-oval racing track is 2.48 km long and has a seating capacity of 110.000. The construction started in 1958 and the track was opened as a standard oval 2.4 km long track in 1960 under the name Atlanta International Raceway. The construction was completed, but the track was far from ready to meet the minimal standards. For example, the only toilet was a three-hole outhouse, whilst the first row of the stands was too low so the spectators sitting there could barely see anything.

It was just the Weaver Grandstand and wooden bleachers on the backstretch. Fans would bring blankets and sit on the dirt bank,” former Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket manager Frances Goss recalled.

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Atlanta International Raceway in 1960

Revival of the track in the 1990s

The first decades were not easy for Atlanta Motor Speedway and it struggled to make any profit. Luck turned around in the 1990s when Bruton Smith bought the venue and renamed it to Atlanta Motor Speedway. A year later, another stand was built with 30 luxurious suites and better days were in sight. The expansion was not only in terms of facilities: many racing series started to visit Atlanta Motor Speedway which also became a popular place for concerts, business conventions, and fairs. The current owner of Atlanta Motor Speedway is Speedway Motorsports Inc., one of the leading marketer and promoter of motorsports entertainment in the United States.

In 1997, three years after condominiums were built at the north-eastern part of the circuit, the entire track was developed and configuration was changed to quad-oval. Also, the start-finish line was moved from western to the eastern side of the track. After that, Atlanta Motor Speedway became one of the fastest NASCAR tracks. There is also the FIA approved 4 km long road course.

Video : Driving at the Atlanta Motor Speedway race track

Real NASCAR racing, real fast

Even before the redevelopment of the track, cars could achieve fascinating speeds, with typical qualifying lap speed of around 310 km/h. NASCAR does not require restrictor plates at Atlanta Motor Speedway, so the drivers and spectators can enjoy real racing without speed limitations.

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Atlanta Motor Speedway before the start of a NASCAR race

Speed Tech Driving School offers great experience

Except for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Xfinity, and the Camping World Truck Series, Atlanta Motor Speedway hosts Legend Cars Series and a very popular event called ’Friday Night Drags’ where participants drag race down the pit road without lights and timing tools. Atlanta Motor Speedway also hosts Speed Tech Driving School for individuals and racing enthusiasts when it is not used for NASCAR or other events, offering a rich driving experience to professionals and novices alike.

Earlier, Atlanta Motor Speedway hosted various racing competitions like IMSA GT Championship, Global Rallycross Championship, IndyCar Series and International Race of Champions.

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Dusk at Atlanta Motor Speedway

Dale Earnhardt with the most wins, Richard Petty has the most laps completed

Dale Earnhardt is the most successful NASCAR driver at Atlanta Motor Speedway as he scored nine wins. He also has the most top-five finishes (26), but Richard Petty has the most starts (65) and the most top 10 finishes (33). Richard Petty also has the most laps completed (17513). Interestingly, the driver who led the most laps is Cale Yarborough (3283). Buddy Baker and Ryan Newman won the most pole positions – seven.

US President worked as a ticket taker at Atlanta Motor Speedway

One of the interesting stories about Atlanta Motor Speedway is that Jimmy Carter worked as a ticket taker in the 1960s, whilst he later attended the races as a governor of Georgia and as a US President.

In 2004, when south-eastern part of the United States was hit by hurricane Frances, Atlanta Motor Speedway became a temporary shelter for evacuees from Florida. A year later, the track itself was the victim of a weather disaster. Tornado from the remains of the hurricane Cindy caused huge damages of more than $40 million all over the track, destroying roofs and facades of the buildings.

In 2006, another Grandstand was added, called The Winners Grandstand, offering fans a great view of the pit road. On the top of it is an exclusive public suite limited to just 1000 people that offers a marvelous view of the entire track.

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Full stands during a NASCAR race at Atlanta Motor Speedway


Address: 500 Tara Pl, Hampton, GA 30228, United States

Phone: +1 770 946 4211

Official website: atlantamotorspeedway.com


Photos: wsbradio.com, atlantahistorycenter.tumblr.com, nascar-live.eu, wikimedia.org, stockton99speedway.com.

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