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President's Blog: A New Rivalry Brewing?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Hey everyone, this is Ed Clark, President and General Manager of Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is heading toward the summer with the Coca-Cola 600 in its rear-view mirror. If there’s one thing that the racing at our sister track of Charlotte Motor Speedway has shown us, it is that we may very well have a very exciting rivalry on our hands between Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson.

There was a time, if some recall, that Jimmie Johnson was close to unbeatable at Charlotte, with Johnson going so far once as to referring to the track as “My House.” He’s won a total of six points events there, including winning five out of six races between 2003 and 2005.

But recently, Johnson has not enjoyed the same dominance, and Kurt Busch punctuated that. A week after romping to win the All-Star Race, Busch won the Coca-Cola 600 this past weekend. Johnson, meanwhile, is enduring some rough spots. In his past five races, Johnson has finished no better than 10th, and has been involved in accidents and also fell victim to a late-race pit road penalty at Dover.

Busch has now not only asserted himself as the driver to beat at the track that Johnson once dominated, but is also as a possible leading contender to dethrone Johnson as the four-time defending champion of the Sprint Cup Series. Remember – Busch also said earlier this season that he’d rather lose to any other car in a race except for the No. 48 car. Maybe, just maybe, there is a budding rivalry between Busch and Johnson.

Both of these drivers want to win badly. The great thing about Busch and Johnson is that although both have won a lot of races in addition to being past Sprint Cup Series champions, both still want to win very badly. It should definitely be fun to watch what happens with these two teams during the summer, as we get closer to racing under the lights returning to Atlanta Motor Speedway on Labor Day weekend!

It’s hard to believe, but the month of June is here! That means that we’re less than 100 days from Night Racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Labor Day weekend! As the summer goes on, we will be having some exciting promotions for our fans, giving them chances to win some incredible prizes! This is the 50th anniversary of racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway, so we will be having lots of contests to thank our fans for their support through the years!  

The first of these is through the “50 for 50” promotion. One lucky fan will win 50 tickets to the Sprint Cup Series night race at Atlanta Motor Speedway! And it’s simple to enter. Just go to www.atlantamotorspeedway.com/50!

If you win this contest, odds are that you will have a lot of brand new “best friends,” you know, the people that you have not heard or spoken to for a number of years! But you won’t have a chance to be the winner of 50 tickets if you don’t enter, so be sure to enter to have the chance to host one of the biggest Labor Day parties ever!

Question of the week: A lot of us will be arriving on Thursday when the infield is opened. Will there be anything going on for the fans at the track on Friday?

This is something that we’re very excited about! We will be having a fan event at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Friday of race weekend! One of the comments we heard from a lot of fans after last September’s race was a desire of have more to do throughout the race weekend.

We have also heard from many of our fans that there is a strong desire to have a Friday night event following the very exciting open-wheel modified race this past March.

We want to create a top-of-the line atmosphere for everyone that is here on Labor Day weekend, so we’ll be having a fanfest event on Friday of race weekend.

It will include some interactive activities for fans and a 150-lap Late Model race featuring the Southern Superstars Short Track Series on the ¼-mile Thunder Ring on the frontstretch of Atlanta Motor Speedway!

If you purchase tickets to the Great Clips 300 or the Sprint Cup Series race, admission is free. Otherwise, admission is just $10!

I hope to see you at the track very soon! If you see me, be sure to say hello and feel free to pass along any suggestions of what we can do a better job of!

See you at the track!

Ed

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