Atlanta Motor Speedway

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Atlanta Motor Speedway
Atlanta Motor Speedway.png

Atlanta Motor Speedway aerial 2006.jpg
LocationHenry County, Georgia,
at 1500 Tara Place
Hampton, GA, 30228
Time zoneUTC−5 / −4 (DST)
Coordinates33°23′0.58″N 84°19′4.28″W / 33.3834944°N 84.3178556°W / 33.3834944; -84.3178556Coordinates: 33°23′0.58″N 84°19′4.28″W / 33.3834944°N 84.3178556°W / 33.3834944; -84.3178556
Capacity71,000-125,000 (depending on configuration)[1]
OwnerSpeedway Motorsports, Inc.
OperatorSpeedway Motorsports, Inc.
Broke ground1958
Opened31 July 1960; 62 years ago (1960-07-31)
Construction cost$1.8 million
ArchitectDr. Warren Gremmel, Bill Boyd, Jack Black, Garland Bagley
Former namesAtlanta International Raceway (1960–1990)
Major events
Quad-oval (1997–present)
Length1.540 miles (2.478 km)
BankingTurns: 28°
Straights: 5°
Race lap record24.732 (224.163 mph)[2] (United States Billy Boat, Dallara IR-8, 1998, IndyCar)

Atlanta Motor Speedway (formerly known Atlanta International Raceway from 1960 to 1990) is a 1.54-mile entertainment facility in Hampton, Georgia, United States, 20 miles (32 km) south of Atlanta. It has annually hosted NASCAR Cup Series stock car races since its inauguration in 1960.

The venue was bought by Speedway Motorsports in 1990. In 1994, 46 condominiums were built over the northeastern side of the track. In 1997, to standardize the track with Speedway Motorsports' other two intermediate 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, with a new official length of 1.54-mile (2.48 km) where before it was 1.522-mile (2.449 km). The project made the track one of the fastest on the NASCAR circuit. In July 2021 NASCAR announced that the track would be reprofiled for the 2022 season to have 28 degrees (previously 24 degrees) of banking and would be narrowed from 55 to 40 feet which makes racing at the track similar to restrictor plate superspeedways. As a result, superspeedway rules are used at the track, despite being significantly shorter than Daytona or Talladega. Despite the reprofiling being criticized by drivers, construction began in August 2021 and wrapped up in December 2021.[3][4] The track has seating capacity of 71,000 to 125,000 people depending on the tracks configuration.


2022 Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway

The track hosted a 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 NASCAR Cup Series under the lights at Atlanta Motor Speedway and the return of Labor Day weekend NASCAR racing to the Southern United States.[5]

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.[6] 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). Prior to the 2021 reconfiguration project, NASCAR did not require restrictor plates at Atlanta, 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 race was given to Kentucky Speedway, another track owned by SMI, giving that track its long-awaited and desired Cup race, the Quaker State 400.[7]

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.

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.[8] 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.

2021 marked a return to two NASCAR Cup Series weekends after Kentucky Speedway's event was given back, but also because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Speedway, in Henry County, has been able to host events traditionally held in Fulton County. In November 2020, the Atlanta Track Club announced that the Publix Atlanta Marathon would move from downtown Atlanta to the Speedway premises. The three races (5,0000 meter, 21,097.5 meter, and 42,195 meter) were based around access roads, with the marathon being a two-lap race, the half being a one-lap race, and the 5,000 meter race utilising the same perimeter roads and parking lots, starting behind the Jimmie Johnson Grandstand and winding around track premises. At the end of the first (half) or second (full) laps, the courses then proceeded to make a loop around the Turn 1/2 tunnel and infield campground roads before finishing with one (5,000 meter) or two (half and full) laps around the oval, finishing on pit lane facing the start-finish line.[9] [10] Molly Seidel, who a year previously had qualified for the United States Olympic Marathon Team and in the Atlanta Track Club-organised Olympic Trials in downtown Atlanta, won the women's half marathon at the Speedway with the eighth-fastest half marathon time for an American, 1:08:29. [11]

Likewise, in December 2020, Feld Entertainment announced that the AMA Supercross Championship and Monster Jam would move from Mercedes-Benz Stadium to the Speedway premises for 2021 because of the pandemic. The event would be held in frontstretch quad-oval. Another motorcycle racing event would be held at the Speedway due to pandemic restrictions. American Flat Track would move the Atlanta round from Dixie Speedway to the Speedway. This race would be known as the Atlanta Super TT.[12]

It was announced on July 20, 2021 that the 2022 AMA Supercross Championship will stay at the Speedway instead of in Fulton County.


Damage from tornadoes spawned by Hurricane Cindy

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. Atlanta Motor Speedway has also opened their campgrounds to evacuees of Hurricane Irma in 2017, Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael in 2018, Hurricane Dorian in 2019, and Hurricane Ian in 2022.[13][14][15][16][17]

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[edit]

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; a 40th anniversary stunt show to commemorate the 1977 filming of the original Smokey and the Bandit in nearby Jonesboro, Georgia, was held at AMS in 2017 and attended by Burt Reynolds.[citation needed] The track was featured in the 1982 Kenny Rogers movie Six Pack.[citation needed] Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter once worked as a ticket taker at the track, and attended several races there as Georgia governor and as U.S. president.[citation needed]

The track was used as a filming location for the 2017 heist comedy film Logan Lucky as a stand-in for Charlotte Motor Speedway for some scenes. The outside barriers were repainted yellow to resemble those of the Charlotte track.[18]

America's Got Talent: Extreme—a spin-off of NBC's reality competition America's Got Talent focusing on daredevil acts—filmed its first season at the track from September 27 to October 20, 2021.[19][20]


Pre-Race Events at the 2009 Pep Boys Auto 500.

Current races[edit]

Former races[edit]

Lap Records[edit]

The official race lap records at Atlanta Motor Speedway are listed as:

Category Time Driver Vehicle Date
Quad Oval: 2.478 km (1997–present)[21]
IndyCar 24.732[22] Billy Boat Dallara IR-7 1998 Atlanta 500 Classic
NASCAR Cup 29.531[23] Martin Truex Jr. Toyota Camry 2022 Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500
NASCAR Truck 30.097[24] Derek Kraus Chevrolet Silverado 2022 Fr8Auctions 208
NASCAR Xfinity 30.657[25] Jeremy Clements Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 2022 Nalley Cars 250
Road Course: 4.023 km (1992–1996)[21]
IMSA GTP 1:13.514[26] Juan Manuel Fangio II Eagle Mk III 1993 Toyota Grand Prix of Atlanta
IMSA GTP Lights 1:21.979[26] Parker Johnstone Spice SE90P 1993 Toyota Grand Prix of Atlanta
WSC 1:24.278[26] François Migault Kudzu DG-2 1993 Toyota Grand Prix of Atlanta
IMSA Supercar 1:36.008[27] Doc Bundy Lotus Esprit X180R 1993 Toyota Grand Prix of Atlanta
Classical Oval: 2.450 km (1960–1997)[21]
CART 26.763[28] Rick Mears Penske PC-10B 1983 Kraco Dixie 200
NASCAR Cup 29.378[29] Robby Gordon Chevrolet Monte Carlo 1997 Primestar 500
NASCAR Busch 30.468[30] Tim Bender Chevrolet Monte Carlo 1997 Stihl Outdoor Power Tools 300

Track records[edit]

Classical oval (1.522 miles)[edit]

Old layout used before March 1997
Record Date Driver Time Speed/Avg. Speed
Qualifying March 8, 1997 Robby Gordon 29.378 186.507 mph (300.154 km/h)
Race November 12, 1995 Dale Earnhardt 3:03:03 163.633 mph (263.342 km/h)
Qualifying April 16, 1983 Rick Mears 26.732 204.963 mph (329.856 km/h)
Race September 30, 1979 Rick Mears 0:50:09 182.094 mph (293.052 km/h)

Quad oval (1.54 miles)[edit]

Current layout
Record Date Driver Time Speed/Avg. Speed
NASCAR Cup Series
Qualifying November 15, 1997 Geoff Bodine 28.074 197.478 mph (317.810 km/h)
Race March 14, 2004 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3:09:15 158.679 mph (255.369 km/h)
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Qualifying October 25, 2003 Greg Biffle 28.830 192.300 mph (309.477 km/h)
Race February 28, 2015 Kevin Harvick 1:40:32 149.813 mph (241.101 km/h)
NASCAR Truck Series
Qualifying March 17, 2005 Rick Crawford 30.339 182.735 mph (294.083 km/h)
Race March 18, 2005 Ron Hornaday Jr. 1:27:35 142.424 mph (229.209 km/h)
IndyCar Series
Qualifying August 28, 1998 Billy Boat 24.734 224.145 mph (360.726 km/h)
Race July 15, 2000 Greg Ray 2:02:01 153.403 mph (246.878 km/h)

NASCAR Cup Series statistics[edit]

(As of 3/8/2022)

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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Financial reports provide insight into seating capacities for tracks that host NASCAR races". NBC. March 9, 2015. Retrieved March 2, 2017.
  2. ^ "1998 Atlanta 500 Classic Presented by MCI at Atlanta Motor Speedway" (PDF). Pep Boys Indy Racing League. August 29, 1998. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 23, 2012. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
  3. ^ "Atlanta Motor Speedway to re-profile track in 2022 and drivers are expressing frustration with the changes". Retrieved September 6, 2021.
  4. ^ "Atlanta Motor Speedway track reprofile begins | NASCAR". Official Site Of NASCAR. Retrieved September 6, 2021.
  5. ^ "Atlanta, Auto Club, Talladega swap dates on '09 Sprint Cup schedule". ESPN. August 20, 2008. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
  6. ^ "NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Schedule, Results & Tickets on". Retrieved April 25, 2012.
  7. ^ Official Release (August 5, 2010). "Atlanta to play host to one race weekend in 2011 – Aug 5, 2010". Nascar.Com. Retrieved April 25, 2012.
  8. ^ "Atlanta Motor Speedway – Races Tracks – Richard Petty Driving Experience". August 29, 2011. Retrieved April 25, 2012.
  9. ^ "2021 Publix Marathon course" (PDF). Atlanta Marathon. Atlanta Track Club. Retrieved August 5, 2021.
  10. ^ "Publix Half Marathon Course" (PDF). Atlanta Marathon. Atlanta Track Club. Retrieved August 5, 2021.
  11. ^ "Seidel Takes Checkered Flag at Atlanta Motor Speedway". Atlanta Track Club. Atlanta Track Club. Retrieved August 23, 2021.
  12. ^ "Progressive American Flat Track Unveils 2021 Schedule". January 15, 2021. Retrieved January 18, 2021.
  13. ^ "Talladega Superspeedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway offer free campground space for Irma evacuees". WHNT News 19. September 6, 2017. Retrieved September 8, 2017.
  14. ^ "Charlotte Motor Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway open campgrounds to Florence evacuees". Norfolk, VA: WVEC-TV. September 11, 2018. Retrieved September 11, 2018.
  15. ^ Mines, Adam (October 9, 2018). "Atlanta Motor Speedway opening camping facilities for Hurricane Michael evacuees". Macon, GA: WGXA. Retrieved August 30, 2019.
  16. ^ "AMS Opens Camping Facilities To Dorian Evacuees". Atlanta Motor Speedway. August 29, 2019. Retrieved August 30, 2019.
  17. ^ Staff (September 27, 2022). "Atlanta Motor Speedway opens campgrounds to those fleeing Hurricane Ian". Atlanta, GA: WAGA-TV. Retrieved September 28, 2022.
  18. ^ Janes, Théoden (May 13, 2017). "Channing Tatum shot a movie at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Here's everything we know about it". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
  19. ^ Rodney Ho (September 17, 2021). "America's Got Talent Extreme shooting at Atlanta Motor Speedway Sept. 27-Oct. 20". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved September 18, 2021.
  20. ^ "America's Got Talent: EXTREME - Show Dates". On Camera Audiences. Archived from the original on September 18, 2021. Retrieved September 18, 2021.
  21. ^ a b c "Phoenix Raceway". Retrieved July 13, 2022.
  22. ^ "1998 Atlanta Indycars". Retrieved July 16, 2022.
  23. ^ "NASCAR Cup 2022 Atlanta". Retrieved July 16, 2022.
  24. ^ "NASCAR Truck 2022 Atlanta". Retrieved July 16, 2022.
  25. ^ "NASCAR XFINITY 2022 Atlanta". Retrieved July 16, 2022.
  26. ^ a b c "Atlanta IMSA GTP 1993". Retrieved July 13, 2022.
  27. ^ "IMSA Supercar Atlanta 1993". Retrieved July 13, 2022.
  28. ^ "1983 KRACO DIXIE 200". Retrieved July 16, 2022.
  29. ^ "1997 PRIMESTAR 500". Retrieved July 16, 2022.
  30. ^ "1997 STIHL OUTDOOR POWER TOOLS 300". Retrieved July 16, 2022.
  31. ^ "Race Results at Atlanta Motor Speedway". Retrieved November 27, 2010.
  32. ^ "Race Results at Atlanta Motor Speedway". Retrieved November 27, 2010.

External links[edit]