Friday, March 3, 2017


HAMPTON, Ga. (March 3, 2017) – Jimmie Johnson, the two-time defending champ at Atlanta Motor Speedway, is going to cherish this last weekend on the track before its repaved later this spring.
Johnson has won five times at the 1.54-mile oval.
“This track is so fun and so interesting and so challenging, I hate that it's our last run on this asphalt,” the No. 48 driver said. “But the practice session didn't disappoint. We're learning as we go with this new package, this new season. We're ready to go collect some points and some wins.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. suggested via Twitter that there should be some kind of memorial service for the surface, which is 20 years old. Johnson thought that idea had merit. 
“We all appreciate tracks with so much character,” Johnson said. “(The repaving) shocked and upset a lot of us. We get it. We understand. But it's just going to take a long time for the track to get back to this condition. 
“I don't think Darlington is even back to where it once was and the challenges it poses the teams. It's got to happen at some point. It's part of racing.”
Tire management is key in Atlanta, including practices and qualifying.
“We have to be conservative with our tire allotment and how many laps we put on every set that we can take to the race,” Johnson said. 
Qualifying is set for 5:45 p.m. tonight and is just the second race where teams must adjust to the revamped inspection process. Two years ago, Johnson was one of 13 drivers to miss Cup qualifying due to inspection delays and came from the back of the field to win the race. 
This year's adjustments mean any car that fails one of six stations, must pass all six on reinspection instead of just the one it failed. Since teams only have their Daytona experience to work off of, Johnson said it's still too early to tell how preparations might need to be adjusted in order to ensure passing tech in time to qualify. 
“We have a process we go through,” Johnson said. “What's so tough is their instruments track differently than what we have at the shop. We've always dealt with that. There are some challenges.

“I think if you have the opportunity to push the envelope for that extra little bit of skew in the car, everybody is rethinking that no.”

Johnson tested in Kansas with the downforce package in use at Atlanta.
“But the Kansas asphalt is pretty new with a lot of grip,” Johnson said. “At that point in time, I couldn't feel a difference and we were still running the same speeds. Today though, I've had a lot of loose and I'm sure the smaller spoiler has a lot to do with it. But until we get into side drafting and trying to free people up, I don't know if I have a good read on it yet.”
Fastest at first practices
Ryan Newman, who is tied at nine for the most poles at Atlanta, was fastest in Friday's first practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race. The No. 31 Chevy posted the top lap time of 29.509 and an average speed of 187.875.

Aric Almirola led the morning's XFINITY Series Rinnai 250's first practice. The No. 98 circled the track in 30.567 (181.372 mph). The fastest driver actually qualified to earn points in the XFINITY series, Spencer Gallagher, was fifth.
Camping World Truck Series rookie Chase Briscoe was quickest in the first practice for the Active Pest Control 200 in 30.616 and he also had the best 10 consecutive lap average of 176.255 mph. 
110th Cup race at AMS is 2,500th in NASCAR history 
Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at AMS will be the 2,500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race in history and 110th time the top series has raced on the 1.54-mile track in Hampton. 

Jim Roper won the first race on June 19, 149 at Charlotte Speedway, but no one has won more than Richard Petty. Of the King's 200 series wins, six came at Atlanta. Petty has also started more Cup races than any driver, nearly half of the total (1,182).
Monster Energy took over title sponsorship this season, following Winston and Nextel/Sprint.
The winningest driver at Atlanta is the late Dale Earnhardt with nine checkered flags. Defending champ Johnson has the most of any active driver with five. 
Atlanta air show comes to AMS
The first air show in AMS history is also the inaugural Atlanta Air Show and will be Oct. 14-15.

“We have finally found a stadium large enough to host an air show and look forward to working with the incredible team of professionals at Atlanta Motor Speedway to bring this new event to fruition,” said Bryan Lilley, President of B. Lilley Productions, which also organizes air shows in New York, Maryland and Florida.
The performer lineup includes a variety of demonstrations, including military jets, aerobatic planes, helicopters, parachute team jumps and more. The lineup will be announced in the coming months and will include four hours of flight demonstrations each day.
“The Atlanta Air Show is a fantastic new event for Atlanta Motor Speedway that will offer fans a unique variety of aerial entertainment not often seen at facilities like ours,” AMS President Ed Clark said. 
Sponsorship opportunities and corporate hospitality suites are available. Attendees can save 50 percent off the day-of-event price when they purchase by March 20.
More information will be available online at
For more information or to purchase tickets today, contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS- TIX or visit

Wednesday, March 1, 2017


HAMPTON, Ga. (March 1, 2017) – The last time Atlanta Motor Speedway was repaved, iPhones were still a decade away, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was well under 8,000 points, and the average loaf of bread hovered around $1.
It was the same year that Mike Tyson infamously bit Evander Holyfield during a boxing match, the comet Hale-Bopp was visible, the movie “Men in Black” hit theaters and the band “Hanson” was still a thing.
The year was 1997 – two full decades ago. If the AMS track surface were a human, it could vote today and legally purchase alcohol next year.
In all those years since the current track surface was born, it has seen 31 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races, 19 XFINITY Series races and 15 Camping World Truck Series races.
In case you were counting, that’s 603,600 laps and 929,544 mile driven on the 1.54-mile asphalt oval – and that’s just for NASCAR.
That, of course, doesn’t include the eight ARCA Racing Series races, the four IndyCar Series races, the pace laps, the caution laps, the monster trucks, the speedway cruises and the countless U.S. Legends and Bandolero car races on the quarter-mile “Thunder Ring” that this 20-year-old surface has endured.
Some of the most notable NASCAR races have taken place on the current AMS racing surface, including Dale Earnhardt’s 0.010-second margin of victory over Bobby Labonte in 2000, Kevin Harvick’s emotional and record-setting 0.006-second margin of victory over Jeff Gordon in Earnhardt’s Richard Childress Racing car the following year, Carl Edwards’ first Cup Series victory and subsequent season sweep of both Atlanta races in 2005 and the first-ever Atlanta night race in 2009.
Geoff Bodine’s amazing AMS qualifying record was set at the very first race on the current surface in 1997, when he blazed around the track in 28.074 seconds at an average speed of 197.478 mph. And currently, Bobby Labonte and seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson are tied at five for the most Cup Series victories on the surface. 
Age-wise, AMS has the second-oldest asphalt on the entire Cup Series circuit. Thanks to a combination of the mild Georgia winters and a meticulous maintenance program over the years, it’s been able to enjoy a life of longevity.
But like anything that gets old, the wear and tear of all those tires in all those races and the constant battery of temperature swings and downpours of southern summertime thunderstorms (and even a tornado or two), has taken its toll. No longer is it a grippy, perfectly-smooth loop of asphalt like the one you enjoy on your daily commute after a brand new construction project around town.
Instead, it’s a slower, slick, abrasive track prone to tire spins, sideways race cars and challenging driving conditions not for the faint of heart. Fortunately for the drivers, they love that kind of stuff, and fortunately for fans, they love watching it. 
So for NASCAR stars, the thought of one more go-around on the 20-year-old surface and last chance to add his or her name to a prestigious list of drivers who have earned a trip to Victory Lane on this very same asphalt before it undergoes a repave later this spring, is the opportunity of a lifetime.
Georgia native Chase Elliott, who cut his teeth in the Legends program at AMS and who was about 1 ½ years old when the current surface was lain, identifies the 2017 Atlanta race as one he particularly looks forward to.
“I’m going to enjoy this race weekend, because of the (coming) surface change,” he said. “I think we all enjoy the surface that’s there and just the options it gives you as a driver to move around.”
Joey Logano, who won the pole at Atlanta in 2015 and has finished as high as second at the track, takes the 2016 race to a whole new personal level.
“Atlanta, to me - I lived down there for six years,” he said. “So it's special. I want to be able to win at that race track, especially before the repave. I want to be able to say I won on that surface. We've come very close to winning there before. We've had very fast cars, but we haven't done it yet, so it's kind of the last shot at that, at least on that surface." 
And for the sport’s most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who won at Atlanta in 2010 and has 14 top-10 finishes on the rough and aged track, it will be a bittersweet farewell to the memorable, old surface.
“I expect it to drive good. I love the race track. I know they’re going to repave it after this year, so, we’ll try to enjoy the last race on that old asphalt, because it’s hard to beat the surfaces that get aged like that.” 
So for Earnhardt and 39 others, it all comes down to one final weekend, as drivers mark the end of one era of racing in Atlanta before beginning another in 2018. The only thing left to determine now is who will cement his or her name as the final driver to win on one of the sport’s most influential surfaces in history.
NASCAR racing returns to Atlanta Motor Speedway March 3-5, 2017, featuring the Rinnai 250 XFINITY Series and Active Pest Control 200 Camping World Truck Series doubleheader on Saturday, March 4 and the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday, March 5.
For more information or to purchase tickets today, contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS-TIX or visit

Martinsville Speedway Already Gearing Up for the Fall

Martinsville Speedway Already Gearing Up for the Fall
Fans to get more value than ever with a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series ticket.
MARTINSVILLE, Va. (Feb. 28, 2017) – As Martinsville Speedway celebrates its 70th anniversary in 2017, fans will get more value for their ticket to the fall race, as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will qualify and race on the same day, Sunday, October 29.
Saturday will have an "old-school" feel as well, as NASCAR will return to a true "happy hour" practice session, immediately following the Alpha Energy Solutions 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. All kids 12-and-under are admitted free on Saturday.
"I think the weekend schedule is really going to add value to a Martinsville Speedway ticket," Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell said. "The fans are the ones who are the real winners here. A Sunday ticket gets fans all of the same excitement they’ve always had, but now they get to watch qualifying as well.
"On Saturday, you can bring the kids for free and treat them to a full day of action, as they will get to see the current Cup stars practice and the future of the sport race in the Alpha Energy Solutions 200."
Martinsville Speedway and NASCAR are also planning a fan event on Friday, October 27, featuring some of NASCAR’s top stars. More information on the event will be available in the coming months.
NASCAR makes its first visit to Martinsville Speedway March 31-April. 
This year the historic track celebrates its 70th anniversary. 
The weekend starts on Friday with Virginia Lottery Pole Day and continues on Saturday with the Alpha Energy Solutions 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race. Kids 12-and-under are admitted free Friday and Saturday. 
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will be in action on Sunday with the running of the STP 500. 
The race is the first short-track race of the season and marks the series’ return to the east coast after the "West Coast Swing." 
Last year Kyle Busch became the first driver in the tracks storied history to win both the Truck and Premier Series races in the same weekend.
In addition to buying tickets at the track, tickets can be purchased by calling 1.877.RACE.TIX or online at