Atlanta Motor Speedway Featured Packages
Atlanta Motor Speedway History
Hampton, GA 30228
Atlanta Motor Speedway has grown almost as fast as the South’s largest city that sits just 25 miles to its north.
Fireball Roberts won the first race at the track, located near the city of Hampton, Ga., on July 31, 1960, at the track that was then called Atlanta International Raceway. Among NASCAR’s superspeedways - paved tracks of a mile or more — only Daytona International Speedway, Darlington Raceway and Lowe’s Motor Speedway at Charlotte have been around longer.
Fans who bought tickets for that first race would absolutely not recognize the facility today. Although Atlanta Motor Speedway still sits on the same 870-acre site where it first took shape, very little of what was there then now is still there now. The transformation began shortly after Bruton Smith added Atlanta Motor Speedway to his growing family of tracks in 1990. The track got the new name it bears today, and within a year the East Turn Grandstand, with space for 25,000 more tickets, was completed. There were also 30 new luxury suites added. That was just the beginning.
In 1994, a nine-story building housing 46 condominiums as well as speedway offices, a ballroom and more luxury suites was completed. Tara Place towers over one of the 24-degree banked turns and offers great views of one of NASCAR’s most competitive tracks. By late 1997, Atlanta Motor Speedway’s rebirth was completed. The final phase included completion of the new Champions Grandstand and more luxury suites, but it also marked a change in the track itself. Formerly a true oval, a double dogleg was added to what once was the backstretch and the start/finish line was switched to that side of the track. Atlanta Motor Speedway was re-measured from a 1.522-mile to a 1.54-mile track, and Bobby Labonte won the first race on the new configuration.
Today, more than 125,000 tickets are available for fans to come see racing at a track where competitors love to compete. Racers love Atlanta Motor Speedway because it offers them almost unlimited options when it comes time to pick a way to go fast around the track. Geoffrey Bodine ran 197.478 mph to win the pole in November 1997 when the new configuration had its brand new pavement. Qualifying speeds still top 194 mph, making Atlanta Motor Speedway the fastest track in Sprint Cup racing.
The legendary Dale Earnhardt tops the all-time list of race winners at Atlanta Motor Speedway, with nine. Labonte is the active leader with six wins. Earnhardt and Labonte were also part of one the track’s most memorable moments. On March 16, 1980, they ran door-to-door for virtually all of the final two laps before Earnhardt won by a matter of a few feet at the checkered flag.
Atlanta Motor Speedway also was the site of one of the most memorable season finales in Cup history. On Nov. 15, 1992, Bill Elliott won the Hooters 500, but Alan Kulwicki came away with the championship after a race in which he, Elliott, Davey Allison, Mark Martin, Kyle Petty and Harry Gant all had a chance to emerge as champion. On that same day, Richard Petty drove in his final Cup race and Jeff Gordon ran in his first one.