Hey everyone, this is Ed Clark, President and General Manager of Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Major League Baseball has Cooperstown. The NFL has Canton. Now, NASCAR has its Hall of Fame in Charlotte. This past weekend, the first class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame was inducted. We’d like to send our personal congratulations out to the members of NASCAR’s inaugural Hall of Fame Class – Bill France Sr., Bill France Jr., Richard Petty, Junior Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Sr.!
Sunday was, without question a proud day for our sport, whether you are a driver, crewmember, track official or most of all, a fan of NASCAR! Not only did we recognize the lives of five men who have helped craft the sport into what it is today, but it also gave many of us a wonderful reminder of the hard work of many over time that has made NASCAR so great.
One of our staff members told me about a quote made by Kyle Petty during the weekend that really, I think, underscores the importance of recognizing the history of the sport through the Hall of Fame. Kyle was quoted at one point during the weekend that the Hall of Fame is important so that younger fans today will know that Richard Petty did more than just be in the movie “Cars.”
That is one of the best things about having a NASCAR Hall of Fame that fans can now celebrate the sport’s past and always be reminded of the sport’s beginnings.
As for the induction ceremony itself, it did not disappoint. There were some lighthearted moments. You had Rick Hendrick recalling the meeting in Daytona Beach that was portrayed in “Days of Thunder” between himself, Bill France Jr., Richard Childress, Dale Earnhardt Sr., and Geoffrey Bodine with Childress also recalling Earnhardt’s famous line about ‘kerosene rags.’ You also had Junior Johnson’s anecdote about the difference between being committed and involved. And you can’t forget Richard Petty ending his speech by quoting Gomer Pyle – “Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.”
But there were also some heartfelt moments. Kyle Petty’s speech about his father, Richard Petty was certainly heartwarming, as was Richard Childress’s time when he spoke about Dale Earnhardt Sr. It was very touching to see, during Earnhardt Sr.’s on-stage induction, that the entire Earnhardt family was together on-stage.
Without question, NASCAR hit the ball out of the park with this Hall of Fame. I’ve already had a handful of people tell me that they are already making plans to go to the Hall of Fame this summer. After seeing Sunday’s festivities, it’s hard to blame them!
The summer is almost here, and things are heating up both on the track and within our office here at Atlanta Motor Speedway! In June, we will start our summer legends racing series, Thursday Thunder.
In this time of families looking for economical ways to find entertainment, it’s hard to top the value of Thursday Thunder! Adults get in for $5 and kids ages 6-11 are admitted for $1. Levy Restaurants will also be here giving fans affordable food offerings while at the racetrack.
We have numerous activities for kids and families planned for Thursday Thunder this summer such as the kids candy and coin scramble on June 3! In addition, there’s also the racing itself on the Thunder Ring.
If you grew up going to a local short track, then this racing is right up your alley. At Thursday Thunder you’ve got seasoned veterans plus some of the South’s best rising stars on the track! Joey Logano, David Ragan and Reed Sorenson each started their racing careers at Thursday Thunder. You never know what future racing star you may see at Thursday Thunder, so come on out for some great family entertainment and racing all at the same time!
Question of the week: Will you be doing any contests this summer or be having some prize giveaways?
I’m glad someone has asked this, actually. We’ve got a lot of exciting contests and promotions that we are planning on for this summer in advance of night racing return to Atlanta Motor Speedway on Labor Day weekend. And yes, contests are part of that! In fact, we had a meeting last week about some of the prizes we’re giving away, and I’ve got to tell you, if I wasn’t working at a racetrack, the chance to win these prizes would have me very excited!
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!
Hey everyone! This is Ed Clark, President and General Manager of Atlanta Motor Speedway! Without question, this is shaping up to be an exciting week if you are a NASCAR fan.
Not only do you have the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series All-Star race at our sister track in Charlotte, but this Sunday will also mark the induction of the first NASCAR Hall of Fame class. Like anything else, the first time you do something is very special. For instance, many of our employees here at Atlanta Motor Speedway still have pleasant memories of the first time they went to a race. There’s just something special about the first time that you do something.
And that is definitely the case when it comes to the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s first induction class with Bill France Sr., Bill France Jr., Dale Earnhardt Sr., Junior Johnson and Richard Petty each being inducted.
I had the high honor of being among the voters for this year’s Hall of Fame class. And I’ve got to tell you, selecting just five inductees was tough! It’s like being asked who your favorite child is – you don’t want to pick one over the other.
The experience of being able to be a part of the process was very special. Not only were we making history by voting in NASCAR’s first Hall class, but there was so much history in that room among the voters. You had a who’s who of some of the best drivers, owners and others from NASCAR history. It was a very humbling process to be a part of.
The opening of the Hall of Fame is a great day of NASCAR fans. They now have their very own Hall of Fame and it is without question something anyone associated with the sport, whether they are a fan or a competitor, can be proud of.
One of the main things that we are doing to build up as the Labor Day night race weekend approaches is doing all that we can to create a first-class fan experience for our fans that is centered around the racing going on at the track. Think about it. Being in the outdoors and grilling out, visiting with friends and just having a good time – all in the outdoors in the South. It really doesn’t get much better than that!
Last September, one thing we heard from fans was a desire to have some type of track activity on Friday. Although we are still firming up details, I can tell you that we are close to announcing some activities for fans on Friday of race weekend, ones that will serve as a great kickoff to a weekend of night racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway!
Question of the week: Will you be having a Pre-Race concert again in September?
Yes we will! Last year we had a very good response from fans that attended the Pre-Race Party with Diamond Rio and Jason Michael Carroll performing. Not only did those attending get a great view of a concert, but they also enjoyed stagefront access to driver introductions. You’re so close you can almost see the stitching on the drivers’ firesuits!
We’re excited about this year’s concert as well! While we can’t yet reveal who will be performing, I can tell you that the concert will be by someone that we are all very excited about and are sure many of our fans will be excited as well!
Fans can go ahead and purchase passes for the Pre-Race Party for $39. But don’t wait too long! After the first 200 Pre-Race Party passes are sold, the price is $49!
Thanks again for all that you do to support Atlanta Motor Speedway and we hope to see you at the track! If you see me at the track, 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!
Hey everyone! This is Ed Clark, President and General Manager of Atlanta Motor Speedway!
We’re excited to introduce a new way to stay in touch with our fans – The President’s Blog from Atlanta Motor Speedway! With each installment, we’ll talk some racing and also get you the latest news on what’s going on at Atlanta Motor Speedway!
During the offseason, one thing that some of us here at Atlanta Motor Speedway were asked by some fans was whether or not anyone could challenge Jimmie Johnson this year and stop him from winning a fifth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title.
One name some tossed around during the offseason as a title contender was Denny Hamlin. But that prediction looked to be somewhat in doubt earlier this year when Hamlin announced he would undergo knee surgery. Well, let’s just say those concerns have been put to rest. With last weekend’s win at Darlington, Hamlin has now won three times this year. That’s the same amount as Johnson so far in 2010, by the way. In fact, Johnson and Hamlin are the only two drivers to win multiple races on the Sprint Cup level this season.
But while Hamlin has been hot as of late, it’s hard to say the same for the No. 48 team. They’ve been plagued by bad luck recently, failing to finish two of the past three races. Seeing Johnson experience some bad luck certainly gives other teams some hope that with the right breaks, they can dethrone Johnson as the Sprint Cup Series champion. The No. 11 team is certainly among that group.
Although it’s very early in the season, it looks as of now that the championship could come down to two drivers – Hamlin and Johnson.
The great thing is that it’s only May and so much can happen. For all we know, two drivers outside the top ten of the points standings could be battling for the championship as the season winds down.
It seems a long time away, but Labor Day will be here before we know it! And that means racing under the lights is back at Atlanta! We had an incredible fan response to the race and the events around it last year, and we look forward to building on that this year!
While they last, we have tickets for as low as $39 in the Elliott Grandstand. Although the only view of pit road here is by way of the screenworks screen in front of the grandstand, a seat here is one of the most exciting at the track! Here, you can see cars whip their way into turns three and four – after coming to the end of the backstretch at close to 200 mph! In fact, one of our fans recently told us that the Elliott Grandstand is one of the best-kept seats in racing! To get your tickets for Labor Day, you can go to www.atlantamotorspeedway.com or call 877-9-AMS-TIX.
Question of the week: Do you have plans to build an NHRA Dragstrip?
This is a question that we’ve been asked a lot with the phenomenal success of Friday Night Drags. The answer to that is that at this time, there are no plans to build an NHRA dragstrip on our property.
Currently, the NHRA has a facility, which they own up in Commerce with Atlanta Dragway, so putting another facility here would really oversaturate the region.
The good news for fans of drag racing is that we’ve just started Friday Night Drags and that will continue through the summer months. We got off to a great start with the largest opening night crowd we’ve had for Friday Night Drags and an incredible number of participants. We’re very excited about what the summer holds as we move forward!
If you have not been out here in person for Friday Night Drags in person, come join us! We’ll be back on the track May 14 and 21 and the points opener is June 5.
Thanks again for all that you do to support Atlanta Motor Speedway and we hope to see you at the track! If you see me at the track, be sure to say hello and feel free to pass along any suggestions of what we can do a better job of!
If the opening night of Friday Night Drags showed us one thing it is this - that our local fans love their drag racing!
Although it was not a points night, that didn't prevent a fantastic crowd of both spectators and competitors for the first night of Friday Night Drags in 2010. A crowd of spectators of nearly 5,000 witnessed the return of both Friday Night Drags and the Show-N-Shine. By comparison, Friday's crowd would have ranked among the top four crowds from a year ago, but it was the middle of the summer before we saw crowds in 2009 on the level of this past Friday. So a big thank you to our fans for not only coming out for the opening night of drags, but for also sticking with us throughout the night!
One thing is for sure - it figures to be an exciting summer of drag racing on Friday Nights!
Drag racing resumes May 14 and May 21 and the points opener is June 4!