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Atlanta Motor Speedway to Undergo Repave After March NASCAR Weekend
- Updated: January 3, 2017
After 20 years of racing, Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS) will undergo a repave for the first time since 1997 following the March 3-5 NASCAR weekend.
The repave, announced Tuesday by the track’s officials, will see fresh asphalt laid over the entire racing surface. The track’s quad-oval layout and 24-degree-banked turns will remain unchanged.
The repave is expected to begin in early March, shortly after the NASCAR weekend, with an expected completion date in Mid-April.
The HAMPTON, Ga., facility has hosted 77 races on its 1.5-mile oval since its last repave nearly two decades ago, with racing praised by both fans and drivers alike due to the track’s old, difficult racing surface.
“We’re going to put it off as long as possible,” AMS track president Clark said to NASCAR in 2012. “Tony Stewart told me personally after last year’s race that he’d shoot me if we repaved. And every time I see Carl (Edwards), no matter where it is, he tells me, ‘Don’t touch the track.'”
However, despite the relatively mild Georgia winters and yearly efforts to keep the track serviceable, a repave will finally be necessary in 2017.
The repave will bring an end to a memorable era for AMS, known for both close finishes and intense racing.
Since the racing surface’s last repave in 1997, AMS has seen a new track record set by Geoff Bodine – a 28.074-second lap with an average speed of 197.478 mph in 1997. The facility has been the site of two of the closest –and most memorable– races in the sport’s recent history in Dale Earnhardt’s .010-second victory over Bobby Labonte in 2000, and Kevin Harvick’s emotional .006-second triumph over Jeff Gordon in the late Earnhardt’s Richard Childress Racing car one year later.
Carl Edwards earned his first-career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory at the facility in 2005, passing Jimmie Johnson on the outside in the race’s final lap. Meanwhile, Johnson has gone on to tie Labonte for the track record with five victories.
That era will come to a close when the checkered flag flies in the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500.
“Many of NASCAR’s greatest moments have occurred on this racing surface, and I have no doubt the world’s best drivers will give it a proper final event before the new surface comes to life,” said Clark in a release. “Whichever driver can take home the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 trophy in 2017 will mark the end of one era of great racing in AMS history and the beginning of another.”