Atlanta Motor Speedway holding off on repaving track for now

Photo by Harold Hinson Photography

By Yvonne Jones, Staff Writer

Ed Clark heard the pleas to hold off on repaving Atlanta Motor Speedway and took heed.

So after an in-depth review and exhaustive consultations with NASCAR, Goodyear, race teams and drivers, AMS has opted to postpone its plan to resurface the 20-year-old 1.54-mile racing surface, at least until after its 2018 NASCAR weekend.

“We appreciate all of the input we have received from key individuals in the NASCAR industry, as well as our customers,” said Clark, the track’s president.  “The overwhelming majority have urged us to hold off on paving so that we can enjoy at least one more weekend of high-speed slipping and sliding in 2018 before the new surface is installed.”

AMS first announced in January that it would resurface the track, located in Hampton, Georgia, after the 2017 weekend. Several drivers expressed how “bummed” they were to lose the aged, abrasive surface that’s known for producing slick and challenging racing conditions and causes some of the fastest tire fall-off of any track on the circuit.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. , a winner at AMS in 2004, tweeted ahead of the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 in early March that there should be a memorial for the impending repave after the race.

And Jimmie Johnson, a five-time winner at the track, echoed that sentiment at the time.

“I think we all appreciate tracks with so much character and to have the bad news that two of the tracks with the most character are going to be repaved this year, I think shocked and upset a lot of us,” Johnson said. “We get it.  We understand, but it’s just going to take a long time for the track to get back to this condition.”

On Tuesday, Earnhardt posted the “breaking news” and confirmed Atlanta’s decision on his Twitter account:

Atlanta Motor Speedway, which started hosting NASCAR-sanctioned events in 1960, was last paved in 1997 when the track was reconfigured into its current quad-oval layout.

Since that time, the track has hosted 32 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races, 20 NASCAR XFINITY Series races, 16 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races, eight ARCA Racing Series races, four IndyCar Series races and countless U.S. Legends and Bandolero car races on its quarter-mile “Thunder Ring.”

With the repave delayed, AMS will continue to maintain the surface and prevent further deterioration. In addition, patch work on the current asphalt will be done where necessary. Track officials will reevaluate its condition following the 2018 triple-header NASCAR weekend and determine then whether to resume the resurfacing plans, which called for new asphalt to be laid over top the current surface.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *