Venues especially arenas have always been right at the center of sports. From the early days of the Greek and Roman empires to the modern day, participants have always needed a platform to perform. The biggest spectacles have asked for the biggest venues.
Motorsports are among the most watched sports in the world. Be it Formula One races or NASCAR events, hundreds and thousands of people turn up at various events to be a part of the spectacle live. There are quite a few famous motorsports venues in the US and at the top of that list is the legendary Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Primarily, a NASCAR venue, it has also hosted some other events. Now the latest season is up and running and Atlanta Motor Speedway will once again be at the center of all that is great about NASCAR. If you want to watch an adrenaline pumping event live, then get your Atlanta Motor Speedway tickets here.
The Early Days
During its early years, the Atlanta Motor Speedway was nothing like the state-of-the-art facility it is today. The vision for a racetrack in Atlanta was seen by Ike Supporter, Ralph Sceiano, Garland Bagley, Lloyd Smith and Walker Jackson. But before the construction could even be completed, four people left because of financial issues. Garland Bagley was the last man standing who was then joined by Art Lester, Jack Black, Bill Boyd and Dr. Warren Gremmel. They spent $1.8 million to get the speedway up and running.
The racetrack’s length was 1.5 miles and it opened in July of 1960 as the Atlanta International Raceway. As a result, it became the seventh raceway of over a mile to host a cup race. It wasn’t plain sailing however from that point onwards. The 1960s and 1970s were tough. The facility had to tackle quite a few financial setbacks.
Several general managers came and went through those turbulent times and it wasn’t until the arrival of Walt Nix that things began to settle down for the first time. Nix remained in the position for the best part of the next two decades. Even in the middle of financial troubles, the racetrack attracted quite a few popular names.
One of them was Jimmy Carter who was running for the position of Governor of Georgia. He announced that if he won the seat, he would host a dinner at the governor’s mansion. Not only did he keep his word but also invited the racing fraternity for another dinner in the year 1978. Only this time, the dinner took place at the White House.
The Arrival of Bruton Smith
Even with all the celebrity pull, the raceway’s financial struggles kept on going. Because of that the entire facility was not in a very good state either. Bruton Smith then came in and bought it in the year 1990. He changed the name to Atlanta Motor Speedway and sent about revamping everything from top to bottom.
His hard work paid off and under his guidance, the facility has expanded enormously. Not only does it host NASCAR races, but it also plays host to the Georgia State Fair, corporate conventions, concerts and multiple other motorsport events.
The Current Atlanta Motor Speedway
The length of the Atlanta Motor Speedway is 1.54 miles which is 2.48 kilometers. It can also play host to a whopping seventy one thousand fans at a time. The facility is spread over eight hundred and eighty seven acres with the infield taking up twelve hundred acres. The racing surface width is between fifty five to sixty feet.
The turns are approximately one quarter mile long and are banked at twenty four degrees. The straightways on the other hand are banked at five degrees. The length of the frontstretch of the speedway is two thousand three hundred and thirty two feet while the backstretch is eighteen hundred feet long.
Assistance is available in case of special needs. Not only is there a shuttle service available for people with special needs but they also have accessible parking that is behind the Winner’s Grandstand and Club One. People who are looking for the accessible parking can call the AMS Ticket office for all the information they need. Not only that, but there are also multiple locations for First Aid close to every grandstand and the infield.
The Atlanta Motor Speedway also offers different hospitality packages and facilities. The Hospitality Village can play host to between fifty and five hundred people at a time. People who avail these facilities get to tour the pits and enjoy exceptional catering facilities.
There are three types of hospitality packages available at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. There is Mobile Hospitality, the Infield Hospitality and the Corporate Motorhome Hospitality. Every package offers something different and you can check the AMS website for all the information you need in that regard.
Atlanta Motor Speedway Records
The Atlanta Motor Speedway has played host to some epic races over the years. The greatest drivers in the history of NASCAR have thrilled fans with their speed and incredible skills. The classical oval is one of the tracks at the AMS where NASCAR qualifying record was set on March 8, 1997, by Robby Gordon. He recorded a time of 29.378. The actual race record for the classical oval was set by Dale Earnhardt on November 12, 1995, by recording a time of 3:03:03.
When it comes to the famous quad oval, the qualifying record holder for the NASCAR Cup Series is Geoffrey Bodine who recorded a time of 28.074. The race record is held by Dale Earnhardt Jr. On March 14, 2004, he recorded a time of 1:09:15.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series record for qualifying is 28.830 and it was set by Greg Biffle on October 25, 2003. The NASCAR Xfinity Series actual race record is held by Kevin Harvick. He finished the race in 1:40:32 on February 28, 2015.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is also held at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Its qualifying record is 30.339 and it was set by Rick Crawford on March 17, 2005. When it comes to the race, it was Ron Hornaday who crossed the finish line in 1:27:35 on March 18, 2005, to set a record that is yet to be beaten.
The iconic Dale Earnhardt also has the distinction of winning the most races at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. He has won the race on nine occasions. He also has more Top 5 finishes in AMS history with twenty six to his name. Richard Petty holds the Atlanta Motor Speedway record for the most starts with sixty five while Buddy Baker and Ryan Newman have recorded the most pole positions with seven each.
The AMS is all set and ready to host the latest series of races. Not only that but it will also be the venue for events like the Imagine Music Festival and the Georgia Tiny House Festival. If you want to attend one of these events, then book your Atlanta Motor Speedway tickets at the earliest.
5 Atlanta Motor Speedway Interesting Facts
- Jimmy Carter at one point used to work as a ticket taker at the speedway.
- The AMS has also featured in movies like Smokey and The Bandit II and Stroke Ace.
- Fireball Roberts was the winner of the first ever race held at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in the year 1960.
- Terry Labonte holds the record for being the youngest racer to win the pole at the AMS. He achieved the feat on March 15, 1981, when he was twenty four years, three months and twenty seven days old.
March of 2006 was the last time a race at the Atlanta Motor Speedway was won from the pole. The driver to win that day was Kasey Kahne.