Highlighting the 2008 event schedule is the return of two Sprint Cup races in March and October, as well as several first-time events at AMS. Below is a schedule of the major events taking place this year. Updated calendar information can be found at http://www.atlantamotorspeedway.com/.
February 16 - 17: Eastman Gun Show
The southeast's leader in collectible firearms shows moves their popular event to the Atlanta Motor Speedway NASCAR Sprint Cup garage. Hundreds of dealers from all over the southeast will display various military, hunting and sporting firearms.
March 7: Georgia Power Qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the American Commercial Lines 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race
The world's top drivers converge on the fastest NASCAR track on the circuit for a full weekend of speed and pageantry.
2007 Pole Winner: Ryan Newman, 193.124 mph
2007 Craftsman Truck Winner: Mike Skinner, 105.739 mph
March 8: Nicorette 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race
Three hundred miles of grueling, side by side stock car racing. Immediately following the NASCAR action, the stars of tomorrow will compete in Legends, Bandoleros and Thunder Roadsters on Atlanta Motor Speedway's famous "Thunder Ring" quarter-mile oval.
2007 Nicorette 300 Winner: Jeff Burton, 191.080 mph
Bubba Harry started the Thunder Roadster feature from the pole with ESPN analyst and former NASCAR crew chief Andy Petree hot on his heels. Harry's consistent lap times allowed him to jump ahead of the field and capture his second consecutive Roadster win.
The Bandolero Bandits feature began with Mason Massey out front. Kyle Benjamin stayed glued to Massey's bumper the entire race, but was unable to make the pass for the win.
The Bandolero Outlaws and Young Guns ran in a combined feature with Chase Elliott on the point. Elliott was the class of the field leading every lap to post his second win in a row.
Bobby Labonte and Ron Hornaday Jr. completed the second and final day of a Goodyear tire test today at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Three-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Hornaday Jr. was the first to take the track in his No. 2 Camping World Chevrolet Silverado for the morning test session.
"With the rules changing for the 2008 season, we are having to make some adjustments," Hornaday Jr., the October Craftsman truck race winner at AMS said. "These changes are going to make the racing even more exciting. If you though it was exciting watching Bobby (Labonte) and I race to the finish line in 2005, we are probably going to be four-wide, side-by-side, racing to the stripe next time we come here."
Hornaday Jr.'s fastest lap on the second day of testing was logged at 174.669 mph (31.74 seconds).
Labonte, a six-time AMS winner, clocked his fastest lap at 182.789 mph (30.33 seconds) in his primer gray Petty Enterprises car.
"Atlanta makes great racing because you can pass," Labonte, the 2000 NASCAR Cup champion said. "You don't just run behind each other, you can move around and pass."
On an unseasonably warm day at Atlanta Motor Speedway, 2000 NASCAR Cup champion Bobby Labonte and three-time Craftsman Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday hit the pavement testing tires for the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company.
"I love the holidays, but it is great to be back in a truck," Hornaday, the October Craftsman truck race winner at AMS said. "It's awesome to come down here to a great track like Atlanta to test tires. We want to learn as much as we can so we can go fast, race side-by-side and put on another great show. We want to pack the stands here at AMS."
Hornaday tested his fully-decaled No. 2 Camping World Chevrolet Silverado, turning a fast lap of 178.723 mph (31.02 seconds).
Labonte, a six-time AMS winner, ran a gray primer Car around Atlanta Motor Speedway's high banks, recording a fast lap of 184.470 mph (30.09 seconds).
The test today gave Bobby Labonte and new crew chief Jeff Meendering the opportunity to work together for the first time. Meendering served as Jeff Gordon's car chief for the past two seasons at Hendrick Motorsports.
Testing continues tomorrow with Labonte and Hornaday scheduled to participate in another eight hour test.
NASCAR's elite drivers will attempt to tame the blistering speeds of Atlanta Motor Speedway during the Kobalt Tools 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup event on March 9. Great seats are still available and can obtained by calling (877) 9-AMS-TIX (877-926-7849)
Located in the Turn Three Elliott Grandstand named after Bill Elliott, the $39 "Awesome Bill" ticket is another economically priced seating option for fans wanting to attend a Sprint Cup Series event at NASCAR's fastest track. Students with a valid school identification may purchase seating in same section for only $19.
"We want all fans to have the opportunity to experience the Kobalt Tools 500 live," said AMS president and general manager Ed Clark. "We designed the offer so the entire family could enjoy the drama of NASCAR racing together."
Students of all ages with valid school-issued student identification will be entitled to the same $39 ticket in the Elliott Grandstand for just $19.
Part of a NASCAR triple-header weekend, the Kobalt Tools 500 Sprint Cup race will be run in conjunction with Friday night, March 7 Georgia Power NASCAR Sprint Cup Qualifying, immediately followed by the American Commercial Lines 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race. The Nicorette 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race will take the green flag on Saturday, March 8.
The Atlanta Chapter Board of Trustees recently approved 28 grants totaling nearly $350,000 to local children's organizations. The funds are distributed to groups providing medical, emotional and social services to children in need.
This year's event will be hosted by Charlie Filkins and Scott Sargent "The Car Guys" from WEKS 92.5 FM, "The Bear" and "The Car Guys TV Show". Representatives from each organization receiving a grant will be present to accept their check and participate in a holiday sing-a-long. Santa Claus is taking a break from his busy holiday schedule to make an appearance at this important event.
In its 10th year, DukesFest & Hazzard County Fair will feature an entertaining lineup of county fair-related activities. The weekend, produced by John & Elly Schneider, will encompass appearances and autograph sessions from show cast members including John Schneider (Bo Duke), Catherine Bach (Daisy Duke), Tom Wopat (Luke Duke), James Best (Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane), Ben Jones (Cooter Davenport) and Rick Hurst (Clettus Hogg) Sonny Shroyer (Deputy Enos Strate).
Also scheduled for the weekend is a car show featuring hundreds of world famous 1969 "General Lee" Dodge Chargers, trucks and tractors, a demolition derby, stunt shows including an authentic "General Lee" jump, craft vendors, lawn mower races, Daisy Dukes' shorts contests and a fireworks display. Local music acts and a special guest artist, announced at a later date, will also be in attendance.
The stars of NASCAR will return to Atlanta for one of the first races in the 2008 season for the the March 7-9 Kobalt Tools 500 weekend. The racing will be red-hot, as every driver tries to get their championship season started on the right foot.
The Kobalt Tools 500 weekend will start off with the fastest qualifying session in NASCAR during Georgia Power Qualifying Night on Friday, March 7. Immediately following qualifying, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers will return for the American Commercial Lines 200. During the last March truck race, Todd Bodine edged NEXTEL Cup veteran Mark Martin for the win in a dramatic finish.
Saturday will consist of NASCAR's rising stars and crafty veterans as they mix it up during the Nicorette 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series.
The fifth season of Winter Flurry, Atlanta Motor Speedway's winter Legends, Thunder Roadster and Bandolero racing series, took the green flag on Friday evening, November 9. The Winter Flurry season will encompass six events including opening night, December 14, January 6, January 19, February 23 and the final event during the Kobalt Tools 500 NASCAR race weekend on March 7-9.
The sleek Thunder Roadsters were the first division to take the green flag with Bubba Harry leading the field. Dwight Pilgram challenged Harry in the early stages of the race, but Harry eventually drove to the victory followed by Pilgram and Ed Clark.
The Bandits division, open to drivers as young as eight years old, rolled off the grid for the second feature race of the evening with Mason Massey on the point. On lap 14 Kyle Plott moved into the lead and was driving to the season opening win when his younger brother Kason spun, bringing out the caution and setting up a green-white-checkered sprint to the finish. In the closing stages of the race, Kyle Benjamin grabbed the lead from Kyle Plott with the white flag in the air, only to relinquish it on the last lap back to Plott, creating a thrilling photo finish.
The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup garage will transform into an auto auction arena on Saturday, Nov. 10 as Atlanta Motor Speedway hosts the second Classic Auto Auction, Swap Meet and Car Corral. The speedway's version of the famous Barrett-Jackson Auto Auction seen on ESPN2 and Speed TV will feature nearly one hundred classic, custom, restored and original automobiles, trucks, hot rods, race cars, dragsters and motorcycles. The auction will also include a swap meet vendor area and a car corral.
"We hosted the first auction this past January and it was a huge success," said AMS vice president of Events Brandon Hutchison. "There were a lot of beautiful cars that many of us dream of owning along with some cars that turned out to be real bargains."
Atlanta Motor Speedway's three-day Pep Boys Auto 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race weekend was extended two days, allowing teams to participate in a Car of Tomorrow test at NASCAR's fastest track.
More than 50 cars were on hand to fine-tune the NASCAR race car that will make its Atlanta Motor Speedway debut during the March, 2008 Kobalt Tools 500.
"The Car of Tomorrow does drive differently, there's no question," said veteran driver Jeff Burton. "But probably not as differently as one would assume. The struggles that we have with the current car are similar to the struggles we have with the new car. The new car makes overall less grip, so that tends to magnify the problem more. But if I read the comments from what I said on Sunday during the race, they're very similar to what I'm seeing today."
Kyle Busch posted the fastest lap during the two-day test with a circuit around AMS' 1.54-mile quad oval in 29.632 seconds, (187.095 mph).
The drivers' and teams' hard work during the Monday and Tuesday test will come to fruition at AMS during the March 7-9 Kobalt Tools 500 Sprint Cup Series race.
Jimmie Johnson survived a wild ending in Sunday's Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway to emerge with his second straight victory and close to within nine points of standings leader and teammate Jeff Gordon with three races remaining.
Johnson grabbed the lead on lap 322 of the scheduled 325-lap event when leader Denny Hamlin faltered on the restart following the 12th caution flag. During that four-lap caution period, Hamlin didn't pit, but Johnson did and was one of five drivers who took two tires. When they lined up for the restart, Johnson was second. It was then that he noticed Hamlin weaving his Chevrolet as the field exited turn four for the single-file restart. Hamlin then moved down, leaving the outside lane open as they approached the green flag. When the flagman waved the green flag, Hamlin's car stalled. Johnson saw the cars stacking up behind him, swerved to the outside and into the lead. The melee that erupted behind him eliminated Martin Truex Jr., who led the most laps, setting the pace on five occasions for 135 laps, and took Hamlin and Kyle Busch from victory contention.
Driving with one hand for about 10 laps, Kyle Busch staved off a window net problem in the latter stages of Saturday's EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 200 to defeat Ron Hornaday, Jr. for his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series win this year.
Meanwhile, Hornaday's runner-up finish returned him to the standings lead by four points over Mike Skinner with three races remaining in the season. It was the fifth time in the last six races there has been a change in the standings lead.
"That is OK for now, but after the final event is when I will be jumping up and down," Hornaday said. "I am sure Skinner will get it back next week and I will try and get it back the week after. To have two great teams battling and changing the points lead each week is unbelievable."
With about a dozen drivers left to qualify Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway during Georgia-Pacific Qualifying Night, Greg Biffle knocked Kurt Busch off the pole to claim his first No. 1 starting position of 2007 during time trials for Sunday's Pep Boys Auto 500.
"A first for Atlanta, a first for the season. That was a lot of firsts," Biffle said after grabbing the pole with a 28.807-second, 192.453-mph lap in his Roush Fenway Racing Ford on the 1.54-mile track. "I'm kind of surprised we don't have a pole here. We run very well at Atlanta and enjoy coming here and racing."
Even though it was Biffle's first Bud Pole at Atlanta, it was his fourth top-10 start in 10 races at the speedway that opened in 1960, but was reconfigured in the late 1990s after Speedway Motorsports Inc. acquired ownership.
Celebrating the 30th anniversary on the hit 1980's TV show "The Dukes of Hazzard," DukesFest & Hazzard County Fair will feature a full slate of county fair-related activities. The weekend, produced by John & Elly Schneider, will encompass appearances and autograph sessions from show cast members including John Schneider (Bo Duke), Catherine Bach (Daisy Duke), Tom Wopat (Luke Duke), James Best (Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane), Ben Jones (Cooter Davenport) and Rick Hurst (Clettus Hogg) Sonny Shroyer (Deputy Enos Strate).
"Atlanta Motor Speedway is the perfect venue for the 2008 DukesFest & Hazzard County Fair event," said Schneider. "It is a beautiful facility and after all, it is just miles from where the Dukes were born."
Also scheduled for the weekend is a car show featuring hundreds of world famous 1969 ‘General Lee' Dodge Chargers, trucks and tractors, a demolition derby, stunt shows including an authentic ‘General Lee' jump, craft vendors, lawn mower races, Daisy Dukes contests and a fireworks display. Also local music acts, and a to be announced special guest artist.
Fans will also be treated to carnival rides, a kids' barnyard area complete with a petting zoo, pie eating contests and a question and answer sessions with the entire cast.
Schneider is currently starring on FOX's "Nip/Tuck," and will be featured on a Hallmark mini-series "Shark Swarm" and in the spring, Schneider will co-star on HBO's "12 Miles of Bad Road."
For more information and event details, visit www.dukesfest.com/.
"Our primary concern at AMS is our fans race day experience," said Atlanta Motor Speedway president and general manager Ed Clark. "The demand for smoke free seating has grown over the years and it is our desire to provide fan-friendly amenities to our guests."
Nicorette, the official smoking cessation product of NASCAR, has partnered with AMS to sponsor the new smoke-free sections which will be available for the 2008 Nicorette 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race. Seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Richard Petty and four-time champion Jeff Gordon were on-hand today to unveil the smoke-free grandstands.
In Sunday's Pep Boys Auto 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race, Gordon will be driving a special DuPont / Nicorette Cinnamon Surge paint scheme featuring the newest flavor of Nicorette gum.
Section 156 in the Champions grandstand will be smoke-free on Friday, March 7 and Saturday, March 8. The entire Petty grandstand will be smoke-free on March 8. Sunday's smoke-free sections include section 48 in the Elliott grandstand, section 113 in the Petty grandstand and section 168 in the Winners grandstand.
Martin will run his sixth and final Craftsman Truck race of the season this weekend in the No. 21 Wood Brothers' truck. He has three top-five finishes in five starts, with a best finish of third this season. This will be Martin's third start in the truck in Atlanta, with his best finish of second coming in the spring truck event last year.
"Atlanta is a great racetrack," Martin said. "It's a big, fast racetrack where you can run all over the place. The pavement has aged well over the years and it has given up and made it a really fun place to race. From top-to-bottom, it's one of the best places that we go, and it makes for a great show and a great race."
Gordon, who leads the championship point standings by 53 markers over Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson, won just two weeks ago at Lowe's Motor Speedway, a track similar in design to AMS, driving chassis No. 24-387. Gordon will pull the tarp off the same car for the NEXTEL Cup race this weekend and hopes to pick up where he left off.
Gordon will have added duties when he visits AMS this weekend, serving as the Grand Marshal, giving the command for the drivers to start their engines and get the Pep Boys Auto 500 underway.
"It's an honor to give the command to start engines prior to the race at a track where my Cup Series career began 15 years ago," said Gordon, "For the first time, the entire crowd may actually cheer for something I did. "Or, then again, this may be the first time that the command is booed," Gordon joked.
Johnson, who owns two wins and seven top-five finishes at AMS, has a series-high average finish of fifth at NASCAR's fastest track. Johnson is AMS' most recent winner, claiming victory in the March 2007 Kobalt Tools 500 NEXTEL Cup race.
"On the last lap, if you're chasing someone, you're going where they're not," Johnson said. "That really dictates your move and what you do on the last lap. If you can break the plane of the guy you are chasing and get to his quarter- panel off of Turn 4, the way we side-draft each other even on the 1.5-mile tracks, you will slow him down and you will beat him to the finish line. It's just the cycle of it."
Johnson trails NEXTEL Cup championship points leader and teammate Jeff Gordon by just 53 markers heading into Atlanta Motor Speedway. Johnson will race the same car he has scored either a victory or a runner-up finish in six of the 11 events the car has been raced in.
Best known for his role as Bo Duke in the 1980's hit TV series "The Dukes of Hazzard," Schneider has starred in 14 movies and recorded country music throughout the 1980's. Born in Mt. Kisco, N.Y., in 1960, Schneider grew up in Atlanta and started acting at the age of eight.
"I'm delighted to be singing the single greatest song in front of the single greatest crowd in the world," Schneider said. "NASCAR is more American that hot dogs and hot apple pie."
Pep Boys Auto 500 Fast Facts
Atlanta Motor Speedway
Date: Sunday, October 28, 2007
Time: 2:00 p.m. (ET)
Location: Atlanta Motor Speedway, Atlanta, Ga., 1.54-mile quad-oval with 24-degree banking in turns
Sanctioning Body: National Association for Stock Car Automobile Racing (NASCAR),
Daytona Beach, Fla.
Series: Event No. 33 in the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series
(Race seven of 10 in the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup)
Length: 325 laps, 500 miles
2006 Winner: Tony Stewart (3 hours, 29 minutes, 23 seconds)
2006 Polesitter: N/A
EASYCARE VEHICLE SERVICE CONTRACTS 200 Fast Facts
Atlanta Motor Speedway
Date: Saturday, October 27, 2007
Time: 1:00 p.m. (ET)
Location: Atlanta Motor Speedway, Atlanta, Ga., 1.54-mile quad-oval with 24-degree banking in turns
Sanctioning Body: National Association for Stock Car Automobile Racing (NASCAR),
Daytona Beach, Fla.
Series: NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
Length: 130 laps, 200 miles
2006 Winner: Mike Bliss (1 hour, 37 minutes, 30 seconds; 123.2 mph)
2006 Pole: Mike Skinner (180.993mph, 30.631 seconds)
Fans will get a unique opportunity to walk the fastest track in NASCAR, the 1.5-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway. Prior to the walk, participants can enjoy the first ever Halloween Festival in Souvenir Row, which will feature a driver look alike contest, candy, games, family fun and much more.
The Track Walk is a great way for friends, family and groups to get an insiders view of the fastest, most exciting track in NASCAR. Proceeds from the Track Walk benefit The NASCAR Foundation and the Atlanta Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities, which supports organizations and foundations that provide medical, educational and social services to children in the greater Atlanta area. The NASCAR Foundation and Speedway Children's Charities thanks AutoTrader, a corporate partner in this great event.
Walkers may register online at www.nascar.com/foundation. The Track Walk registration booth will be located near the Speed Channel Stage and Gate 14 on Speedway property.
For just $30 adults can participate in the walk, while children under 14 years of age can walk for free with a paid adult. All participants receive an event shirt.
Additional information about the Track Walk can be obtained by visiting www.nascar.com/foundation or by calling 704-348-9680. Tickets for the entire slate of events during AMS' Pep Boys Auto 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race weekend can be purchased by calling 877-9-AMS-TIX (877-926-7849), 770-946-4211 or by visiting http://www.atlantamotorspeedway.com/.
The posted purse for the Pep Boys Auto 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event is a record $6,156,331 with a minimum $296,475 earmarked for the winner.
Nearly $550,000 is up for grabs in the Oct. 27 EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event. This year's posted awards represent an increase of nearly $150,000 over the 2006 October NEXTEL Cup and Craftsman Truck events at AMS.
In addition to a full slate of racing that includes the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and the NEXTEL Cup Series, approximately 50 teams are expected to participate in a two-day Car of Tomorrow test on Monday and Tuesday following the Oct. 28 Pep Boys Auto 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race.
"We still have a tremendous amount to learn about what we need to do with the Car of Tomorrow," Burton, a 19-time Cup Series winner said. "We'll know more about how the car will handle once we test it at Atlanta Motor Speedway."
NASCAR has constantly been evolving the Car of Tomorrow since it debuted nearly two years ago in a test session, developing a vehicle with safety and ultra-competitive racing as the chief goals.
The jet engine-powered dragster will make its first pass immediately following Georgia-Pacific NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Qualifying, traveling the length of a football field in just over one second, to kick-off the season championship round of the Castrol GTX Friday Night Drag bracket racing. The jet dragster will perform a second run after the conclusion of the final drag race.
The dragster, which produces a 30-foot flame and rides on NEXTEL Cup tires, uses a General Electric engine creating 6,000 pounds of thrust and 5,700 horsepower; more horsepower than the first three rows of the starting line-up in the Sunday, Oct. 28 Pep Boys Auto 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race.
Admission to watch the final round of the Castrol GTX Friday Night Drags Championship Bracket Race and the jet-powered dragster is included with the purchase of a ticket to Georgia-Pacific NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Qualifying. Tickets are just $20 for the entire evening and can be obtained by calling the AMS ticket office at 1-877-9-AMS-TIX, or by visiting www.atlantamotorspeedway.com
The Kobalt Tools 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race will serve as the marquee event during the March 7-9 triple-header weekend that also includes the NASCAR Nationwide Series, formerly known as the Busch Series, and the NASCAR Truck Series.
"Our partners at Lowe's were exceptional at looking for new ways to brand the facility for Kobalt Tools and interact with our fans," said AMS president and general manager Ed Clark. "The key for them, and eventually our team, was to get people to see and try the newly redesigned tools. We are excited that with the renewed partnership we can continue to build on last year's success."
Trailing rookie leader Willie Allen by just 25 markers, Clanton has only entered 12 of the 20 races held in the 2007 season. A driver's best 14 races are counted towards the Raybestos Rookie of the Year title, meaning Clanton has the opportunity to add two additional race finishes to his total, while Allen and Tim Sauter, who he trails, have already participated in more than 14 races.
One of Clanton's four top-10 finishes in the 2007 season came at Atlanta Motor Speedway, a track that Clanton calls home. Clanton will return to AMS for the Oct. 27 EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race, attempting to add to his rookie point total for 2007.
"I consider Atlanta Motor Speedway my home track," Clanton said. "I like Atlanta because the harder you can drive and the longer you can stand those intense speeds, the better you are going to be at the end of the day."
Clanton grew up racing a 130 horsepower Legends car around AMS' frontstretch quarter-mile oval, the Thunder Ring. Now, Clanton finds himself behind the wheel of a 700 horsepower NASCAR Craftsman Truck racing around the high banks of NASCAR's fastest track, Atlanta Motor Speedway. Ultra-fast speeds don't intimidate Clanton who says his worst wreck came at AMS.
Unadilla, Ga. native David Ragan finds himself locked in a battle with International superstar and former Formula 1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya for the NASCAR Rookie of the Year title, a race that is currently separated by a mere 15 points.
Both drivers will have to be on top of their game to maintain their positions at the top of the rookie standings when the NEXTEL Cup Series rolls into Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Oct. 28 Pep Boys Auto 500.
Ragan and Montoya may have a different dialect, hailing from different parts of the globe, but they agree on the level of importance and prestige that comes with earning the Raybestos Rookie of the Year title.
"Winning the rookie of the year title in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series is certainly one of the biggest goals we sought after this year," Ragan said. "You look at the guys that have won the title in the past, guys like David Pearson, Dale Earnhardt, Rusty Wallace, my teammate Matt Kenseth, those are all guys I look up to. They've all been real strong rookies and certainly showed a lot of promise after winning Rookie of the Year."
Newman and NASCAR legend Buddy Baker are currently tied with seven AMS poles each, but Newman would like to see his number atop not only the scoring tower on Oct. 26, but also on top of the Atlanta Motor Speedway record book.
"It would be an honor to beat Buddy Baker in all-time poles at Atlanta Motor Speedway," Newman said. "Atlanta is a place where I enjoy qualifying and I have a great record there. I am really looking forward to trying to claim the all-time qualifying record."
If Newman were to claim the top-spot for the Oct. 28 Pep Boys Auto 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race, moving Baker to second-place, he would be de-throneing his friend and mentor.
"Buddy and I always drove the tracks backwards because it gives you a different perspective of entry and exit points," Newman said. "It lets you know how to approach those points when you are going the right way. Its something we did at Atlanta when he was teaching me about the track and I have always qualified well there."
Although Newman's remarkable qualifying attempts haven't always translated into great race finishes, his best was a fifth-place finish in 2004, Newman still loves the pure speed that Atlanta Motor Speedway offers.
Charlie Spratt is still pinching himself after learning he has won Atlanta Motor Speedway's "The Call This Fall" promotion, earning him the right to be the voice of driver introductions for the Oct. 28 Pep Boys Auto 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event.
"This was a very cool promotion that AMS did and I'm beyond ecstatic to have won," Spratt said of winning "The Call This Fall. "It still hasn't sunk in; I keep pinching myself, to make sure I'm actually awake!"
A Technical Sergeant for the United States Air Force stationed at Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, Ga., Spratt found out about the unique promotion by visiting the speedway website and with some encouragement from his daughter, decided to enter.
"I accidentally stumbled onto the promotion when I was researching the seating chart for Atlanta Motor Speedway," Spratt said. "I was planning on taking my 17-year-old daughter, Kayde, to her first NEXTEL Cup race at the end of October and I saw the banner for the contest.
The fall race at AMS on Nov. 15, 1992, saw seven-time Cup Series champion Richard Petty take the checkered flag for the final time in his long, storied career and 21-year-old rookie driver Jeff Gordon take the green flag for his first start in a NEXTEL Cup Series event.
"Looking back on that race in November, 1992 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, it was a race that will always be a significant part of NASCAR history," Petty said. "It was my last race, Jeff Gordon's first race and the championship battle came down to just a few points. I will never forget that day in Atlanta and it is an honor to serve at the Honorary Starter in October."
Atlanta Motor Speedway president and general manager Ed Clark went back to school today. He read to third grade students at Luella Elementary school as part of a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new NASCAR racing section in the media center.
Clark, the son of a teacher, read "R is for Race: A Stock Car Alphabet," to the students and participated in the ceremony, enabling students to check-out the racing-related books from library for the first time.
"When I was growing up, I loved to read and I still do," Clark said. "Unfortunately, we didn't have that many books about the racing industry but, these students are lucky to have an entire section of their media center devoted to books directly related to racing."
Luella Elementary school principal Dr. Lois Wolfe understands the importance reading plays in the development of a child and could think of no better way to open the new racing section than with Clark cutting the ribbon.
"At Luella Elementary school and around the world, reading is critical to a child's development so we do everything we can to get kids excited about reading," Dr. Wolfe said. "Any time we can create that excitement and tie it into our community, it becomes real-world for the students. Having Ed Clark from Atlanta Motor Speedway was the perfect way to do it."
Eight-year-old third grade student Gimmetrye Gibbs from Hampton, Ga. was anxious to be one of the first students to check out a book from the new racing section.
"I want to be the first one in line to borrow one of the new books," Gibbs said. "I can't wait to take it home and read it to my little brother."
Earnhardt Jr. and his new No. 88 crew are one of up to 50 teams expected to participate in the full two-day test on Oct. 29 and 30 following the Pep Boys Auto 500 NEXTEL Cup race. Fans who present a ticket stub from the Oct. 28 event will be granted free admission to both days of the test. Gate 14 in the Earnhardt Grandstand will open with the start of testing at 9 a.m. and close at 5 p.m.
Fans in attendance will also have an opportunity to register to win guided garage tours and other prizes each day of the test.
Tickets to the Pep Boys Auto 500 event weekend, including Friday, Oct. 26 Georgia-Pacific Qualifying night and the Oct. 27 EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event are available by contacting the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (877) 9-AMS-TIX
Fans wanting to attend the largest party in Georgia and the seventh of 10 races in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup championship have less than one month left to purchase tickets.
The Pep Boys Auto 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race weekend will feature three days of racing at NASCAR's fastest track. Georgia-Pacific Qualifying for the Pep Boys Auto 500 is slated for Friday night, Oct. 26 under the lights. Saturday, Oct. 27 features the EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race.
Sunday, Oct. 28, will give fans the opportunity to catch the stars of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series battling for 500 high-speed miles in the Pep Boys Auto 500.
Three day ticket packages are available fans starting at just $88. Single day Pep Boys Auto 500 tickets start at just $60.
The March race weekend starts the 2008 season with a NASCAR triple-header. Friday night gets the weekend cranked up with the fastest qualifying session in NASCAR when the stars of NEXTEL Cup series attempt to top the speed charts under the cloak of darkness during a nighttime qualifying session.
Qualifying will be immediately followed by a 200-mile NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race. Saturday features a mixture of NASCAR newcomers and seasoned veterans as they battle for 300-miles in the Nicorette 300 NASCAR Busch Series race. On Sunday, NASCAR's elite drivers will try and tame the Atlanta Motor Speedway for 500 miles in the Kobalt Tools 500 NEXTEL Cup Series race.
For the fall event at AMS, fans will get another weekend packed full of action. Friday night will feature NASCAR NEXTEL Cup qualifying under the lights and Saturday brings the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series back for what is sure to be a thrilling race. Sunday caps off the weekend with the 500 miles of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup side-by-side racing.
Tickets are on sale now for this year's October 26-28 Pep Boys Auto 500 race weekend and can be obtained by calling the AMS ticket office at 770-946-4211, 877-9-AMS-TIX, or online at www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.
The entire weekend's events are free to the public and will include performances by legendary acts Randy Travis and Diamond Rio. Christian rap group Grits and the Christian alternative band Skillet will also perform during the three-day event. Travis will perform on Friday, Oct. 5 with both Grits and Skillet performing the following day. Diamond Rio will close out the show on Sunday, Oct. 7
As a highly recognized Christian speaker, author and leader, show host Wingfield has conducted over 50 city-wide festivals in the United States and overseas, preaching in person to tens of thousands of people in a career that spans 20 years of ministry.
"We are looking forward to coming to Atlanta Motor Speedway," Wingfield said. "We are planning on bringing good news and good music each night, a word of encouragement for today and a message of hope for tomorrow. It is going to be a wonderful event."
With a pre-race pit pass, fans can stroll the pit area and watch NASCAR's top drivers and crews as they participate in the fastest qualifying session in NASCAR on Friday night, Oct. 26. A Georgia-Pacific Qualifying night pre-race pit pass is just $75.
If being behind the scenes on Friday only isn't enough action, fans can be part of the pre-race action all weekend. The Friday-Sunday pre-race pit pass is just $125 and allows fans to see the spectacle of Georgia-Pacific Qualifying, the Saturday Oct. 27 EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race and the Pep Boys Auto 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race.
Like the Friday only pre-race pit pass, the three-day pass grants access to the pit area and garage entrance until 30 minutes prior to the event.
Fans must be at least 14-years-old and have appropriate attire in accordance with NASCAR issued guidelines to enter the pit area. No shorts, skirts, sleeveless shirts or open-toed shoes are permitted in the pit area at anytime.
Pre-race pit passes are not good for gate admittance and must be accompanied by a grandstand ticket. Quantities are limited so fans are encouraged to reserve their pass in advance.
To purchase race tickets or pre-race pit passes to the Pep Boys Auto 500 race weekend, fans can call 877-9-AMS-TIX (877-926-7849), 770-946-4211 or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.
Below is a numerical look at some interesting historical feats, facts and figures at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
.006 seconds: Margin of victory for Kevin Harvick over Jeff Gordon in the spring 2001 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
3 hours, 3 minutes, 3 seconds in the No. 3 Chevrolet: Dale Earnhardt's record time for a 500-mile Cup race at AMS on November 12, 1995.
9: Of the 12 drivers in the 2007 Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup championship are driving Chevrolets.
24: Degrees of banking in turns at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
34: Number of victories for Chevrolet, the most among any manufacturer at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
41: Different winners in Atlanta Motor Speedway NEXTEL Cup racing history.
ACDelco Street Drag Nationals Partners with Cole Bros. Circus
Moving from the big top to the pit stop, elephant racing has been added to the ACDelco Street Drag Nationals schedule for Friday, Sept. 19. The Pachyderm Peanut Pursuit will be held shortly after opening ceremonies for the two-day ACDelco Street Drag Nationals at Atlanta Motor Speedway this Friday and Saturday, Sept. 19 and 20.
Highlighting Atlanta Motor Speedway's ability to serve as a multi-use facility, the track will host both the ACDelco Street Drag Nationals and the Cole Bros. Circus of the Stars concurrently this weekend. Organizers of the events came together to add a special event - a drag race between circus elephants - to the ACDelco Street Drag Nationals schedule.
Following the Cole Bros. Circus of the Stars' Friday performances at 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., the elephants will be transported into the Atlanta Motor Speedway infield where the pachyderms will share the same drag racing space as competitors from across the country.
Fans looking for a truly unique seating option during Atlanta Motor Speedway's Oct. 26-28 Pep Boys Auto 500 NEXTEL Cup race weekend need to look no further than Club One, AMS' luxury seating option.
A large public suite situated high atop the Winners Grandstand, Club One features a premium bar and menu, a ‘Sight and Sound' observation deck located on the roof and 65 video screens with quality sound to bring the sights and sounds of the race even closer.
"If I wasn't driving in the race, this is where I'd be," veteran NASCAR driver Mark Martin said upon viewing Club One for the first time. "For my money, this is where it is at. Put me in Club One to watch the race, this place is nice."
Club One patrons also receive pre-race pit passes, direct elevator access from the concourse level and an excellent view of the entire track, including pit road. Exclusive Club One parking is also available as well as a Club One RV parking area reserved for Club One patrons.
Admission for all three days of racing excitement including Friday night's Georgia-Pacific NEXTEL Cup qualifying, Saturday's EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 200 Craftsman Truck Series race and the Sunday, Oct. 28 Pep Boys Auto 500 NEXTEL Cup race is just $795. A seat in Club One for Sunday only can be obtained for $595.
A full slate of activities and competitions are on tap for this year's automotive supershow that draws sport compact enthusiasts from across the nation to AMS for the annual event. Hydraulic, drift, burnout, audio and swimsuit competitions are all on the card for this year's event as well as over 7,000 vehicles on display in the car show portion of the event. Atlanta hip-hop artist T.I. will perform on center stage Saturday night.
"The 20th NOPI Nationals Motorsports Supershow, the biggest new generation car and truck show on the planet is upon us again," said Michael Meyers, president of NOPI Motorsports. "With Atlanta Motor Speedway once again hosting the NOPI Nationals, the facilities are nothing but spectacular and this year AMS will be the destination for the finals of the first season of the NOPIDrift Series.
As expected, the list of drivers reads like a who's who of motorsports with names like Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon topping the list, but second year drivers Clint Bowyer, Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. have their eyes on the title and hope to become the first driver since Dale Earnhardt to win a Cup championship in only their second year of competition. With the depth of talent, two additional drivers in the 2007 Chase and the slate being wiped clean for the start of the 10-race shoot-out, it is anyone's Cup to claim.
One important Atlanta Motor Speedway statistic all Chase contenders need to consider is in the last 10 fall races at AMS, Cup champions have combined to have an average finish of 10th. Kurt Busch recovered from a blown engine and a finish of 42nd in 2004 to claim the title and Jeff Gordon notched a 17th-place finish and still won the championship in 1997. Other than those two races, a champion has never finished worse than 11th at AMS in the fall.
Below is a look at the 12 contenders for the 2007 Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and their history at Atlanta Motor Speedway:
A number of camping options are available for Atlanta Motor Speedway's Oct. 26-28 Pep Boys Auto 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race weekend.
Camping spaces remain, in small quantity, in the Mid-State Family Campground, including dry RV spaces. A limited number of camping spaces in the East Turn, Ragu First Turn, and Legends camping lots are available as well. Because of the limited quantities available, fans interested in purchasing a camping space are encouraged to act quickly.
In addition to reserved camping opportunities at AMS, unreserved camping will also be available during the Pep Boys Auto 500 event weekend.
Still available in a very limited quantity are RV parking spots in the Trackside Terrace lot. Fans who purchase a remaining spot in the Trackside Terrace section will receive 10 admission tickets to a private viewing terrace that overlooks the backstretch of the 1.54-mile quad-oval for the entire weekend. The Trackside Terrace RV parking area not only offers a paved premium parking spot, it also comes equipped with water, electrical and sewer connections for RVs.
Camping spaces, as well as tickets to the Pep Boys Auto 500 race weekend, can be purchased by calling 770-946-4211, 877-9-AMS-TIX (1-877-926-7849), or online at www.atlantamotorspeedway.com. Fans can also stop by the AMS ticket office, speak to a staff member about various camping options and purchase directly from the ticket office.
Sophomore drivers Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex Jr. will clinch a spot in the 2007 Chase for the NEXTEL Cup by simply taking the green flag for this weekend's NEXTEL Cup race, their first time ever participating in NASCAR's playoff system.
"I can't even imagine what it means yet," Truex said of making the Chase. "It's still such a dream come true that I'm not even sure if I can put it into words. All I can say is that I'm glad to see all of the hard work and hours spent in the shop pay off for my guys. They all work so hard, so its great to see them get rewarded."
Bowyer shared similar emotions, but has another goal heading into the Chase.
"I want to win," Bowyer said. "We need to get a win. I don't want to be the only guy in the Chase that hasn't won. If we are, certainly that isn't a bad thing. But we just have to pick it up. I think we can do it."
Taylor has accumulated seven wins this season, has clinched the regular season points championship and is the favorite heading into the final round championship bracket race following Georgia-Pacific NEXTEL Cup Qualifying on Oct. 26.
Racing is in the Taylor family history, but not of the drag racing variety. Taylor's father, Jesse James Taylor ran several NASCAR sanctioned races at tracks like South Carolina's Greenville-Pickens Speedway, Lowe's Motor Speedway and the now defunct Lakewood Speedway in Georgia. The elder Taylor even raced at AMS in the 1961 Dixie 400, driving against racing legends like David Pearson, Junior Johnson, Ralph Earnhardt and Fireball Roberts.
"My dad ran in the very early years of NASCAR," Frank Taylor said. "Later in his life, he didn't talk about it all that much though. Racing was a thing in the past for him, but when I expressed interest in racing he did tell me that racing was a crazy way to waste money ... and it probably is. He wasn't really into me racing anything."
Frank Taylor originally had dreams of becoming a dirt track racer, following in his father's circle track footsteps, but quickly found out how expensive it could become just as his father warned him. Being able to race on a budget prompted Taylor to test his straight-line skills and just three years after getting started, he has numerous trophies to back his success.
Michael Anthony Mooney, a 23-year stunt veteran, will be chained behind a Super-Pro dragster and have just mere seconds to escape before the dragster tears down the strip, possibly bringing Mooney with him.
"I have been timing myself for the past two weeks," said Mooney in preparation for the stunt at Atlanta Motor Speedway. "Most of the time, I can get out within the five second limit. I'm going have to be perfect this Friday night."
As part of a season-ending celebration, speedway officials have decided to open the drag strip to motorcycles. Cyclists will be subject to the same rules as the drag racers and must wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt as well as a DOT approved helmet.
"We have had a wonderful inaugural season of drag racing and have been asked about racing motorcycles each week," said AMS vice president of events Brandon Hutchison. "I can think of no better way to end this successful season than to give the motorcycle enthusiast the opportunity to race down the drag strip."
With the championship bracket race to be held during Georgia-Pacific NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Qualifying on Friday, Oct. 26, drag competitors have just one more evening to punch their ticket to the championship round race, to be held in front of an estimated crowd of 40,000.
Starting at just $88, fans can purchase a weekend ticket package to five race events at AMS including NASCAR's fastest qualifying session during Georgia-Pacific NEXTEL Cup qualifying under the lights on Friday, Oct. 26.
Immediately following Friday's qualifying session, the divisional championship bracket races for the Castrol GTX Friday Night Drags will take place as championship contending cars tear down Atlanta Motor Speedway's new eighth-mile pit road drag strip.
On Saturday, Oct. 27, the toughest trucks on the planet will hit the track for the EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race. The Craftsman Truck Series has become a fan favorite on race weekend because of their no-holds-barred racing style and dramatic finishes.
Following the EasyCare 200 Craftsman Truck Series race, the Thunder Ring, AMS' frontstretch quarter-mile oval, will be the center of attention as drivers ranging in age from 8 to 70 will test their skill in Bandoleros, Legends cars and Thunder Roadsters around what many call the most difficult quarter-mile track in America.
Sunday, Oct. 28 will feature NASCAR's best when the NEXTEL Cup Series regulars race for 500 miles Pep Boys Auto 500. The Chase for the NEXTEL Cup will be in full-swing and the on-track action reflects the intensity as teams work a 2007 series championship.
Instant winners will be selected at random with an additional daily winner receiving weekend tickets during the promotion, which ends Oct.15, 2007.
The grand prize winner, selected after the 50 day-long promotion, will receive tickets to Friday night, Oct. 26 Georgia-Pacific NEXTEL Cup qualifying, the Saturday, Oct. 27 EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 200 Craftsman Truck Series race and the Sunday, Oct. 28 Pep Boys Auto 500 NEXTEL Cup Series race.
The grand prize winner will also be entitled to a reserved parking pass and two highly-coveted NASCAR Hot Garage passes. The garage passes, which allow NEXTEL Cup garage access throughout the entire weekend, are not available for purchase and are sure to make the Pep Boys Auto 500 an unforgettable weekend.
Mansfield Ark.'s Bobby Musgrove, recipient of the grand prize ticket package for the March Kobalt Tools 500 race weekend at AMS thoroughly enjoyed his race experience and found it educational, as well as entertaining.
"I have now walked where legends have walked and talked to a few of those I had only seen on television. What a blessing it was to have a life-long dream come true!" he said. "The infield passes and Hot Passes were incredible. I learned a lot from observing and when appropriate, by asking. The passes presented to my wife and I gave us a new appreciation of what goes on behind the scenes. It shall remain in our memories for the rest of our lives."
"This track is just awesome like always," Jeremy Mayfield said after climbing from his car. "This is the same good Atlanta track we're used to. We love coming here."
Kevin Harvick sat atop the speed charts on the second day of testing with a fast lap of 181.176 mph (30.60 seconds). Harvick was followed by Scott Riggs in the No. 9 car, Casey Mears and Jeremy Mayfield.
Teams used the Goodyear tire test to work car on set-up while testing the tires. Series veteran Mayfield said the test has been very beneficial to his team in particular.
"That was the best we have been all year," Mayfield said after completing a morning test session. "We learned a lot yesterday and applied it today. We have something we can be really competitive with here."
NASCAR's elite drivers will attempt to tame the blistering speeds of Atlanta Motor Speedway during the Oct. 28 Pep Boys Auto 500. Great seats are still available and can obtained by calling (877) 9-AMS-TIX or by visiting www.atlantamotorspeedway.com
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers Kevin Harvick, Casey Mears, Scott Riggs and Jeremy Mayfield participated in the first of a two-day tire test today at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Teams tested both the Car of Tomorrow and the current model stock car during the eight-hour test.
"It is good to get out here on the track today," Riggs said. "It's nice to see how the current car and the Car of Tomorrow will handle at AMS and it will let us know what we can expect this October and next March."
Goodyear tested their tires for wear, heat, grip level and load today. Casey Mears topped the unofficial speed charts with a lap of 183.637 mph (30.19 seconds) in his No. 25 Chevrolet followed by Scott Riggs driving the No. 9 car, Kevin Harvick and Jeremy Mayfield.
"The Car of Tomorrow is a half-second slower than the other cars, but that should make more exciting racing here," Kevin Harvick said. "The COT didn't drive bad at all and fans are going to have to come out here in March and see these new cars for themselves at AMS."
NASCAR's elite drivers will attempt to tame the blistering speeds of Atlanta Motor Speedway during the Oct. 28 Pep Boys Auto 500. Great seats are still available and can obtained by calling (877) 9-AMS-TIX or by visiting www.atlantamotorspeedway.com
Blakey, one of the few female Show N' Shine competitors participating in Castrol GTX Friday Night Drags, can be found in the same spot in the AMS garage area every Friday night showing her black 2002 Pontiac Trans Am.
"I had never been into car shows, but I always have had a love for cars," Blakey revealed. "My brother and nephew drag race at AMS on Friday nights and I wanted to be part of the show... without putting the wear and tear of racing on my Trans Am."
Blakey found her niche with the car show portion of the Friday Night Drags program and couldn't be happier, showing her car at every event in 2007 and attending every 2006 event. For Blakey Friday nights are more than a good excuse to show off her beloved Pontiac, it is an opportunity to mingle with like-minded people and enjoy an entire evening of entertainment for a reasonable price.
"Where else in Atlanta can you go for $20 and be entertained for seven hours?" Blakey asked. "It is cheaper than $20 if you sit in the grandstands. Friday nights are a fun, family atmosphere and the people are laid back. I have been able to meet car show enthusiasts and make new friends through AMS. Now I attend several area car shows regularly."
A trauma nurse for several years, Blakey has seen first-hand what irresponsible high-speed driving can do and uses Castrol GTX Friday Night Drags as a platform to spread the word about safe, intelligent driving.
The grudge races will occur throughout the evening, allowing competitors the opportunity to line up against any other competitor they choose regardless of vehicle specifications.
"We have received a tremendous amount of requests from both competitors and fans wanting to see grudge match racing," said Atlanta Motor Speedway vice president of events Brandon Hutchison. "This is going to add a new twist and the grudge races this Friday night will be some of the most exciting racing of the season."
Championship contending racers wishing to grudge race will be able to do so once they are eliminated from the normal championship rounds of racing in their division.
In addition to the grudge matches, drag race competitors have just three more events to earn their chance to race for the season title in the Championship Bracket Race to be held during Georgia-Pacific NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Qualifying Night on Oct. 26.
To take part in Castrol GTX Friday Night Drags and this Friday's grudge matches, all racers must have a valid driver's license and competitors age 16 and 17 must have a fully-executed minors release form on file at the speedway prior to competition (forms available at the speedway or at www.atlantamotorspeedway.com). Competitors must wear a helmet and have operational seat belts in the vehicle and pass a pre-race safety inspection.
The final two Castrol GTX Friday Night Drag rounds will be held Aug. 31 and September 7. Competitor gates open at 6 p.m. All events include practice drag runs at 6:40 p.m. and elimination runs beginning at 9:10 p.m. Spectator gates open at 6:30 p.m.
Chosen by a select panel of AMS employees, the winner will call the name, hometown, number, car sponsor and car manufacturer of each of the 43 drivers that will start the Pep Boys Auto 500.
"NASCAR racing is all about having fun," said Ed Clark, AMS president and general manager. "This is a chance to bring a fan inside Sunday's activities, let them see what all goes on behind the scenes and have a great time doing it."
In addition to the privilege of being the guest public address announcer, the winner will also receive two pre-race pit passes, a reserved parking pass and two weekend ticket packages, including tickets to Georgia-Pacific NEXTEL Cup Qualifying Friday night, Saturday's EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 200 Craftsman Truck race and the headline event, the Pep Boys Auto 500 NEXTEL Cup event.
"It is an all day affair to go drag racing at other tracks in Georgia and Alabama," Petry said. "But at Atlanta Motor Speedway, it's easy and convenient to go just for a night. It is the perfect way to relax after a long work week."
A Chicago native, Petry moved to Georgia to escape the winter weather more than a decade ago and one of his possessions that made the trek south was his 1983 Cadillac Coup De Ville. Weighing in at a hefty 4,100 pounds, Petry originally purchased the car with no intentions of transforming it into a dragster. After the Cadillac's original motor expired, Petry, a General Motors certified master technician, decided it was time to give the Caddy some speed to accompany the car's good looks.
"I am on my second rear axle, third engine, fourth transmission and 10th driveshaft," Petry said laughing. "I built a fuel injected small block Chevrolet engine that uses many of the same components the Corvettes do."
Petry's modifications didn't stop under the hood.
Every year approximately 4 million Americans need a blood transfusion. To help insure demands for blood are met, Atlanta Motor Speedway has teamed with the NASCAR Foundation and the American Red Cross to host their second annual Blood and Marrow Drive on September 11, 2007.
The drive's goal is 156 donor appointments and each blood donor will receive a commemorative t-shirt, gift bag and a pace car ride around Atlanta Motor Speedway's 1.54-mile quad-oval. Twelve randomly chosen winners will receive a hat autographed by 2007 NEXTEL Cup champion Jimmie Johnson.
The event will be held at Atlanta Motor Speedway from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Those wishing to donate can make an appointment online by visiting www.givelife.org. Upon entering the site, please use the code "Atlanta Speedway" to locate the registration page.
The American Red Cross Blood Services Southern Region, which supplies blood to approximately 130 hospitals in Georgia, must receive 1,200 blood donations each day to meet the needs of patients in the region. Blood donors must be 17 years of age or older and weigh at least 110 pounds. Please call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (448-3543) or visit http://www.redcrossblood.org/ to make an appointment to give blood.
The National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP) helps people who need a life-saving marrow or blood cell transplant by connecting patients, doctors, donors and researchers to the resources they need to help more people live longer and healthier lives. To join the National Marrow Donor Registry, please call 1-800-MARROW2 or visit http://www.marrow.org/ for more information.
Drag racing will return to Atlanta Motor Speedway this Friday, Aug. 17 with drag competitors battling for double points and Show N' Shine participants parading around the 1.54-mile quad-oval prior to the evenings opening ceremonies.
With the recent announcement of the championship bracket race of drag racing to be held during Georgia-Pacific NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Qualifying on Friday, Oct. 26, drag competitors have found themselves scrambling for every possible point in an attempt to punch their ticket to the championship bracket race. This Friday's racing action could create an opportunity for many racers to join the championship bracket race in front of an estimated crowd of 40,000 on October 26.
Fans and Show N' Shine competitors will also be treated to a speedway cruise, showcasing both modern vehicles and classic muscle cars turning several laps around Atlanta Motor Speedway's high banks. Only entrants into the night's Show N' Shine will eligible to participate in the cruise.
To participate in Castrol GTX Friday Night Drags, all racers must have a valid driver's license and competitors age 16 and 17 must have a fully executed minors release form on file at the speedway prior to competition (forms available at the speedway or at www.atlantamotorspeedway.com). Competitors must wear a helmet and have operational seat belts in the vehicle and pass a pre-race safety inspection.
The 2007 Castrol GTX Friday Night Drags Series will run August, 17, 24, 31 and September 7. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. and practice drag runs begin at 6:40 p.m. Show N' Shine car show judging begins at 6:00 p.m. with Championship drag runs starting at 9:10 p.m.
The event will be officially known as the Pep Boys Auto 500. As the headline event for the October 26-28 race weekend, the Pep Boys Auto 500 will feature NASCAR's top stars in the chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.
"Pep Boys and our 19,000 retail, service, distribution and store support center associates are thrilled to partner with Atlanta Motor Speedway to present the Pep Boys Auto 500," said Pep Boys President and CEO Jeff Rachor. "Expanding Pep Boys' long-standing brand into the exciting sports marketing arena is a perfect fit for our Company, as Pep Boys customers are passionate automotive enthusiasts and NASCAR fans. We look forward to providing all racing fans with a fantastic Pep Boys Auto 500 this fall."
"We're proud to have Pep Boys join our family of great sponsor partners," said AMS President and General Manager Ed Clark. "They have a great heritage and brand. We will work hand-in-hand to deliver a great event weekend to fans attending the Pep Boys Auto 500."
The championship bracket race for eligible drag competitors will be held on Friday, Oct. 26, immediately following the completion of Georgia-Pacific NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Qualifying. Speeds of more than 140 mph will be achieved on AMS' eighth-mile drag strip during the inaugural championship night.
The top four drivers in each of the eight divisions will be invited to compete in a bracket race, with each champion crowned at the evening's conclusion. A special ‘Friday Night Drags' ticket package will be available for fans who wish to catch the tire smoking action on October 26. Four tickets to Georgia-Pacific Qualifying and the championship drag runs will be available for the price of three, a savings of $25.
"This unique opportunity will give Castrol GTX Friday Night Drag competitors the chance to race in front of 40,000 fans after Georgia-Pacific NEXTEL Cup Qualifying," said AMS vice president of events Brandon Hutchison. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime occasion for these drag racers and it will be an electrifying show for the fans in the grandstands."
The four-ticket package goes on sale this Friday for $75 and will be sold at Gate 15 only during the final six Castrol GTX Friday Night Drags events.
The Zaxby's Bandits feature began with Davey Matthews as the pole sitter. Chase Elliott, son of NASCAR champion Bill Elliott, passed for the lead on the inside lane on lap seven. Matthews made a challenge but was unable to get around Elliott, who scored his second straight win of the season. Kyle Plott, the 2006 Zaxby's Bandits champion, was crowned the division champion for the second consecutive year.
Points leader Currie Pierce led the field to the start for the Curry's Collision Center Chargers feature. Pierce led every lap, claiming his second win of the summer and locking up the top points spot in the division.
The Back Yard Burgers Roadsters feature opened with Bubba Harry on the point. There were many battles for position behind Harry, however, no one could touch Harry's bumper, as he had a half a straightaway lead over second-place. Harry logged the win, his second in only two Roadster starts this year. The 2005 Tanger Outlet Centers Masters champion, Dwight Pilgram, attained his first Back Yard Burger Roadsters championship in only his first full season competing in the division.
Nelson's bus is powered by a 1,000 horsepower alcohol-injected big block Chevrolet engine. The aluminum and fiberglass bodied school bus measures in at more than 20 feet in length and will attempt a wheel-stand of more than 1,000 feet.
In addition to the concourse activities, intermission spectacles and grandstand games, the on-track racing action continues as drivers have just 20 laps of feature racing left to try and claim a coveted Thursday Thunder division championship.
The 2006 Georgia State Bandolero champion is just one race away from claiming his first Thursday Thunder season title, a feat that in Massey's eyes would rank higher than his state title.
"Winning the Thursday Thunder title would actually mean more to me than the state title," the Winston, Ga. resident said. "Atlanta is a super-tough track and the competition is unreal there. It would be a blessing to win it."
Mayes Massey, Mason's father, is equally excited about the prospect of bringing home another piece of championship hardware.
"Atlanta is the toughest track we race on," the elder Massey said. "Both the competition and the track are the toughest there is. Ask anyone and I think they would agree.
"Winning the Thursday Thunder championship at AMS would rank right up there with winning the Georgia State championship because of the quality drivers you have to beat to do it."
The Fuddrucker's Semi-Pro feature began with Dylan Ames out front. On lap eight, Jeremy Mullinax dove to the inside of Ames to become the race leader. One lap later, Justin Swilling completed the same move to take the top spot away from Mullinax. Swilling jumped ahead of the rest of the pack, with a 10 car-length lead. Leading the remainder of the laps, Swilling scored his third win of the season.
Bayley Currey led the field to the start for the Zaxby's Bandits feature; however, Kyle Benjamin took the early lead. On lap five, Kyle Plott made the pass to steal the top spot from Benjamin. Chase Elliott, son of NASCAR champion Bill Elliott, dove to the inside of Plott to become the race leader on lap 12. Elliott's car was dialed in and he piloted it to his first Bandolero victory of his racing career.
Hampton, Ga.'s Doug Stevens has found the key component to tackling the Thunder Ring, Atlanta Motor Speedway's frontstretch quarter-mile oval and he has the credentials to prove it. Accumulating 27 victories and five Adrenalin Powersports Pro Division championships, Stevens is well qualified to give advice to drivers of all ages trying to capture the checkered flag during Thursday Thunder, AMS' weekly racing series.
"Atlanta is a tough track," Stevens said. "Slower is faster there and that is hard to explain to people. If you want to go fast at Atlanta Motor Speedway in a Legends car, slow down."
Bubba Harry was the pole-sitter for the Adrenalin Powersports Pro feature. Harry had troubles early in the race falling to the rear of the field, with Max Gresham taking over the top spot. Gresham had a strong car, holding off Casey Roderick and Thomas Hartensveld in the closing laps. With one lap to go, Roderick put pressure on Gresham, but was unable to make the pass for the win. Gresham made his third visit this season to victory lane.
The Fuddrucker's Semi-Pro feature opened with L.J. Klemmons on the point. On lap one, the caution flag was displayed due to several cars making contact in turn two including race leader Klemmons. After the caution, Chase Moody inherited the race lead and led several laps with Austin Hill on his bumper. Hill closed in on Moody, taking over the lead on lap 10. One lap later, Jeremy Mullinax sneaked by Hill for the top spot with Hill's car showing distress and falling off the race pace. The top-four cars made contact on lap 16 in turn two, bringing out the caution, sending Mullinax and Matt Norton to the rear of the field and delivering Moody and Daniel Hemric to the garage. Dylan Ames led the field to a green-white-checkered flag finish. On the last lap in turn three, Ames was spun by Justin Swilling with Swilling capturing the win, his second of the summer.
In addition to the concourse activities, intermission spectacles and grandstand games, the on-track racing action continues as drivers try to put themselves in position to win a championship with only three weeks of competition left in the 2007 season. The action continues with week eight on Thursday, July 19, and will run every Thursday through August 2.
Joe Momma Night Presented by Eagle 106.7 FM:
Five lucky fans will have the opportunity to race Eagle 106.7 FM morning drive personality Southside Steve in street cars around the Thunder Ring, AMS' frontstretch quarter-mile oval this Thursday night.
When a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver climbs from the cockpit of his race car in victory lane, it is a safe bet he will credit his victory to several things. Usually among the first to be mentioned are "teamwork" and his car's "set-up."
Custom home builder Ross Mundy has found both of those keys to success apply to the building industry as well as racing in the Fuddruckers Semi-Pro Division during Thursday Thunder, Atlanta Motor Speedway's weekly racing series.
"To succeed at anything, you have to have adaptability," the 30-year-old Mundy said. "We set our product line to reflect the specific needs of buyers and that applies to each different track we race on. Every track requires a unique set-up and we are constantly changing them."
Mundy also finds that teamwork plays an integral role in his success, both on the track and behind his desk, at the company he founded, Ross Mundy Custom Homes.
"You have to be surrounded by good people to be successful," Mundy said. "I am lucky enough to have a great pit crew that helps me out every time I race. My father Bruce, Bob Rahl and David Noble take care of the car and that allows me to concentrate on driving. They all realize the value of teamwork and that is extremely important.
"The same thing applies to everyone we have working here at Ross Mundy Custom Homes. We have a great crew that keeps things running smoothly and we try and instill the importance of teamwork every day."
Hundreds of street legal drag cars will flock to the Atlanta Motor Speedway, Friday, July 20 for a night of exciting drag racing during the Kuhmo Tires Street Warriorz national tour.
The tour will give event participants the opportunity to strap into their high performance vehicle and rocket down AMS' eighth-mile drag strip. Everything from high-dollar sports cars to barely-running junkers can be found racing down AMS' pit road drag strip.
"To see a national event utilize our drag strip after one year of existence is exciting," said AMS vice president of events Brandon Hutchison. "The Kuhmo Tires Street Warriorz event should offer a unique array of activities for everyone in attendance and AMS is happy to be the host site."
Cars will be paired with like vehicles and there will be no elimination drag races or pre-race technical inspection. Participants will be encouraged to line up against each other for grudge matches.
Tonight's intermission featured a match race between eight area pastors all vying to have the honor of providing the invocation for the upcoming NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Georgia 500 race on October 28 at AMS. With a nun waving the green flag signaling the start of the race, the pastors darted into turn one. The pastors participating were Mike Patterson from Liberty Hill Baptist Church (Hampton), Stan Burrong from Glen Haven Church (McDonough), Chuck Holt from Grace Way Church (Hampton), Tom Summers from Carver Road Baptist Church (Griffin), Paul Dennis from Royal Baptist Church (Newnan), Chuck Lewis from Anchor Community Church (Locust Grove), Michael McNeese from New Brooklyn Baptist Church (Temple) and the defending champion, Brooks Everett from Community Bible Church (Stockbridge).
Eight area pastors will trade their robes for helmets as they participate in the annual "Faster Pastor" race during Atlanta Motor Speedway's Thursday Thunder racing series, this Thursday night.
In addition to the intermission race, concourse activities and grandstand games will also take place throughout the evening. The action continues with week seven on Thursday, July 9, and will run every Thursday through August 2.
Area Pastors to Compete in "Faster Pastor" Race at AMS:
This Thursday night eight local pastors will climb behind the wheel of street cars and participate in an eight-lap, no-holds-barred slugfest, with one Man of the Cloth earning the title of "Atlanta's Fastest Pastor."Each pastor's congregation will bring canned goods to be donated to local food banks and the pastor whose congregation brings the most cans will start on the pole.
Pastors competing include defending race winner Brooks Everett from Community Bible Church, Mike Patterson from Liberty Hill Baptist, Michael McNeese representing New Brooklyn Baptist, Paul Dennis from Royal Baptist, Tom Summers from Carver Road Baptist, Chuck Lewis representing Anchor Community Church, Chuck Holt from Grace Way Church and rounding out the starting field is Stan Berrong who preaches at Glenn haven Baptist Church.
With Atlanta Motor Speedway's 10th anniversary season of Thursday Thunder well underway, veteran driver and Albany, Ga. resident Skip Nichols reflected on the evolution of the series and its growth in the last decade.
The weekly racing series runs 10-weeks through the summer with drivers competing on the Thunder Ring, AMS' frontstretch quarter-mile oval. Drivers as young as eight-years-old test their skills in cars built to the same specifications, putting the outcome of the race in the driver's hands.
"The single largest difference I've seen throughout the years has been the car count," the 58-year-old Nichols said. "It just keeps getting bigger with 100 cars each night becoming normal."
Nichols, the 1999 Georgia state Legends champion in the Masters Division, has amassed an impressive record at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the track where he started his Legends racing career in 1998. Notching an incredible 63 top- five finishes in 68 starts, Nichols is one of the most decorated drivers in Thursday Thunder history.
Climbing in a go-kart and racing for the first time at just seven years old, Nichols moved to two wheels, racing dirt bikes when he was 12. He moved back to four wheels racing a hobby-car just three years later and with the exception of a 15-year hiatus from racing, Nichols has been racing ever since.
"We are happy to give our community a safe environment to enjoy the Fourth of July festivities and a great night of racing as well," said vice president of events and Thursday Thunder race director, Brandon Hutchison. "Hopefully, we've made a few new Thursday Thunder fans that will come join us for the final month of the season."
Chase Elliott brought the field to the green for the Zaxby's Bandits feature. Early in the race, Elliott jumped out to a 12 car-length lead. On lap 13, a three car accident occurred in turn four, bringing out the caution. The caution bunched the field up, eliminating the large lead Elliott had earned. Another caution ensued on the restart, involving first-place Elliott and second-place Mason Massey, sending them both to the rear of the field with Davey Matthews inheriting the lead. Elliott charged through the field, climbing his way to the fourth position in only three laps. After a fourth caution, the field was tightened up for a three-lap shootout to the checkered flag. Davey Matthews held on to log his third win this season.
Featuring a spectacular fireworks display, concession and patriotic souvenir specials and great action on the track, the July 4 edition of Thursday Thunder will be the largest in the history of the 10-week series. The action continues every Thursday through August 2.
Fireworks Extravaganza to Light up the Georgia Sky on July 4:
On Wednesday evening July 4, the Georgia sky will be illuminated with thousands of exploding shells in one of the largest fireworks displays in Atlanta. For just $5, fans can gain admission to the fireworks spectacular and receive a ticket to view an evening of short track racing with children 6-11 $1 and under 5 admitted free. With ample parking, affordable admission prices and concession specials, the unique July 4 edition of Thursday Thunder will be the biggest evening of short track racing in 2007.
Five area drivers competing in Atlanta Motor Speedway's Thursday Thunder Series, are racing past that stereotype and leaving it in a cloud of dust. Senoia's Tina Johnson, Brooks' Leslie Cash, Alpharetta's Paige Monette and Griffin's mother-daughter duo, Melissa Wade and Rasia Nadjkovic are all attempting to become modern day Janet Guthries and show the boys that women have a place in victory lane...holding their own trophies.
"When I was 3-years-old, I would go to the races with my father," said Johnson, who races in the Fuddruckers Semi-Pro Division. "But little girls aren't supposed to dream of fast cars, so I kept my dreams to myself until I shared my secret with my husband.
"We bought a Bandolero and I entered 19 races that first summer and won four of them. I was hooked."
Johnson has been the one in victory lane holding her own trophy on multiple occasions. She claimed one victory in her rookie season at AMS and followed that up with four victories in 2004.
For 13-year-old Nadjkovic, it was watching her mother and father race during Thursday Thunder, AMS' weekly summer racing series that sparked her interest in going fast and turning left.
"I know that most girls don't race, but I didn't care," Nadjkovic said. "I saw my parents race and it looked like a blast, so I wanted to try it."
A boatload of swim suits, campfires, super-soaker water guns, hot dogs, marshmallows, fishing rods and a pool could all be found at tonight's "Camp Counselor Classic" during Atlanta Motor Speedway's 10th Anniversary season of Thursday Thunder. Local camp counselors competed in a match race in camp-decorated junker cars, with the victor taking home a camping tent, courtesy of Bass Pro Shops.
The five camp counselors from Fortson 4-H, Harp Crossing and McDonough Road Church camps ran a five-lap race all eager to be tonight's honor camper. The counselors left their good behavior back at the camps, beating and banging, and spinning each other out, with Jeremy Chaney from Fortson 4-H the victor.
A random draw after the heat races inverted the top six qualifiers in each division for the feature event and the division points leader was relegated to a fifth row start.
Jake Armstrong led the field to the green for the combined Greencastle Dental Young Guns and Morely Company Outlaws feature. On lap three, Armstrong was involved in an accident in turn three, turning the lead over to Ronnie Bassett Jr. Bassett was able to fend off his competitors until lap 14, when Blake Eden took over the top spot. Eden completed the final six circuits to score his second win of the season.
Prior to a May 1, 2007 Tech and Tune session at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Fayetteville, Ga.'s John Richardson had not sat in a drag car for nearly forty years.
It was a warm summer evening in 2006 when Richardson visited the second drag event ever at AMS as a spectator and re-caught the drag racing fever.
"I had never seen so many spectators at a drag race in my life," the 64-year-old Vietnam Veteran said. "I decided right then that I was going to get out of that grandstand, build me a car and go down there and race those boys. I wanted to be down there in it."
Now in the thick of the drag racing action, Richardson is easy to spot from the stands he once sat in. Driving arguably the most unique vehicle on the drag strip, Richardson said his current creation, a 1941 Willys, was built from items he had laying around his shop. A friend saw the car on a flyer hanging at a Super Chevy Show and knew that Richardson collected the rare automobiles.
In addition to the concourse activities, intermission spectacles and grandstand games, the on-track racing action heats up as drivers reach the halfway point for the 2007 season. The action continues with week five on Thursday, June 28, and will run every Thursday through August 2 with a special Wednesday night edition on July 4, including a fireworks extravaganza.
Innaugural "Camp Counselor Classic" to Debut Thursday Night at AMS:
Week five's Thursday Thunder intermission spectacle will be a don't-miss event as eight local summer camp counselors race their way around the Thunder Ring, AMS' frontstretch quarter-mile oval in street cars. Completing the summer camp theme, a jumbo marshmallow, hot dog and simulated camp fire, will adorn the roof of each counselor's vehicle and a fishing rod will protrude through the window.
The first event of its kind at AMS, the "Camp Counselor Classic" will afford local the campers the opportunity to cheer their counselor to victory and earn the moniker of "Atlanta's Fastest Camp Counselor."
Fireworks Extravaganza to Light up the Georgia Sky on July 4:
On Wednesday evening July 4, in conjunction with Thursday Thunder, the Georgia ski will be illuminated with thousands of exploding shells in one of the largest fireworks displays in Atlanta. For just $5, fans can gain admission to the fireworks spectacular and receive a ticket to view an evening of short track racing.
AMS hosts a "Friday Night Drags" series of heads up, street style drag racing. Racing will be held on the one-eighth-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway pit road and the events are open to any automobile and any driver, provided they possess a valid driver's license.
Robert Dial (Ellenwood, GA) in his 1968 Chevrolet Camaro, earned a bye to advance to the nightly championship race of the Pro class squaring off against Billy Clevenger's (Jonesboro, GA) 1977 Chevrolet Vega. In one of the closest finishes of the night, Clevenger edged Dial to earn his first Castrol GTX Friday Night Drag trophy.
In a situation similar to the pro class, Michael Varner (Griffin, GA) in his 1973 Chevrolet Nova SS earned a bye to the final race of the Street Outlaw division. Varner faced off against another first-time finalist Donald Wiles (Peachtree City, GA) in his 1989 GMC S-15. The two put on a great show for the fans with Varner grabbing the top spot and his first victory this season.
Exacting a small bit of revenge from the previous week's finals race, Howard Wolf (Marietta, GA) with his 1999 Corvette swapped finishing positions with Stockbridge, GA's John Morgan in his 1980 Z28 Camaro. This week Wolf grabbed the trophy while Morgan had to settle for the runner-up position. The two are tied for the points lead in the Domestic division having faced one another in the past two finals.
On the first official day of summer action at Atlanta Motor Speedway's weekly racing series, Thursday Thunder, officially shifted into high gear. With plenty of ultra-fast racing and very few cautions, drivers tested their skill against one of the toughest quarter-mile tracks in the nation.
Starting on the pole for the Backyard Burgers Roadster feature, Johnny Rucker (McDonough) jumped out to nearly a two-second lead just one lap into the event. On lap two, Jim Gresham (Stockbridge) and Paige Monette (Alpharetta) tangled, relegating Gresham to a last-place finish. Despite constantly chopping into Rucker's lead, McDonough, Ga.'s Dwight Pilgram couldn't make the pass as Rucker claimed the victory in the Roadster feature.
Judson Kittle (Watkinsville) brought the combined Young Guns and Outlaw field to the green flag, but relinquished his lead just after taking crossing the start line to a hard charging Ronnie Bassett (Winston Salem, N.C.). Bassett claimed the lead with a daring move into Turn One. The lone caution of the event came on lap nine when Dallan Wortham (Woodstock) and Will Prance (Canton) collided, sending both cars spinning in the middle of turn one. Blake Eden (DeLand, Fla.) made the pass on Bassett after the restart and never looked back, claiming the victory among the Greencastle Dental Young Guns. Diggie Bush (Seale, Ala.) emerged victorious in the Morley Outlaws feature.
Countless young men and women across America have dreams and aspirations of becoming a star on the NEXTEL Cup Series circuit and writing their name in the record books.
Others are simply racing in local series for a fun and entertaining hobby. Bennett, Ga.'s Carl Chapman is racing because he loves the sport and is spending his spare time at Atlanta Motor Speedway performing odd jobs around the Legends shop and prepping his car to race in Thursday Thunder, AMS' weekly summer racing series.
"I usually spend Wednesday and Thursday at the track," the 18-year-old Chapman said. "I help out around the shop and Dwight Pilgram, who is the chief mechanic in the shop, helps me set my car up. That is all the payment I need for helping out."
Most high school seniors are busy spending their summer lounging by the pool or engrossing themselves in a pointless activity, savoring every second of the day before they have to return for their final year of school. Chapman, a four sport athlete, has opted to spend his summer participating in various camps for football, baseball, basketball and track along with racing at AMS.
"Between the camps and the work out programs, I am staying real busy," Chapman said. "With Thursday Thunder and getting my car ready for that, I have a very full schedule."
Chapman, who drives two-hours one way to AMS to volunteer in the Legends garage, doesn't mind the busy schedule. He looks at it as an investment in his future and plans on racing Legends cars as a hobby long after his high school sports days are over.
"I know that this will be the last year I can participate in organized sports," Chapman explained. "Racing will give me something that hopefully I can do for many years to come."
The cars and stars of the high-powered, tire-smoking Outlaw Racing Street Car Association will make their first Atlanta Motor Speedway appearance this Friday night at the Castrol GTX Friday Night Drags.
The 150-mph ORSCA cars will be the fastest vehicles ever to make the ground shake down AMS' drag strip.
"We have had a lot of our drivers excited about this weekend's activity at Atlanta Motor Speedway," said series president Johnny Fenn. "We will put on a large display for the fans as some of our toughest competitors will be on. We have heard about the large number of fans that turn out for the Friday Night Drags at AMS and we are excited to be a part making Friday night the biggest drag event ever at AMS."
The high-powered dragsters will highlight a night of drag racing that will include eight divisions of Castrol GTX Friday Night Drags competition. Drivers of all ages can bring any vehicle to the event where they will each be placed in a division with similar type cars and trucks with elimination races run until only one driver remains at the end of the night. The speedway has averaged nearly 225 cars competing each night.
The Castrol GTX Friday Night Drags also welcomes show car enthusiasts to compete in the weekly cruise-in Show-N'-Shine competition. Many unique vehicles including cars, trucks and motorcycles will be entered in the event. All participants in the Show N' Shine are invited to participate in the speedway cruise and the pit road display which takes place at 8:00 p.m.
Highlighted by feuding Atlanta area mascots and red-hot racing on the track, Atlanta Motor Speedway's Thursday Thunder weekly summer racing series delivered a knock-out punch during week three's activities.
In addition to the concourse activities, intermission spectacles and grandstand games, the on-track racing action was intense as racers continues accumulating points in search of a Thursday Thunder championship. The action continues with week four on Thursday, June 21, and will run every Thursday through August 2 with a special Wednesday night edition on July 4.
Atlanta Area Mascot Mania Race Results:
Last week, the Aarons Sales and Lease Ownership's Lucky Dog emerged the victor in a three-lap slug fest that Atlanta area mascots participated last Thursday night. Homer, Harry and Thrash, representing the Atlanta Braves, Hawks and Thrashers respectively participated. Georgia Tech's Buzz, Georgia State's Pounce and the Arby's Oven Mitt were part of the action as well.
Homer jumped out to a commanding lead, but in a daring last-lap stunt, Harry the Hawk cart-jacked Homer, relegating Homer to a DNF and forcing speedway officials to disqualify Harry for his antics. Neither Harry nor Homer was able to comment on the race.
In just three starts in a Legends car on the Thunder Ring, Atlanta Motor Speedway's frontstretch quarter-mile oval, the Pierce's have managed to finisher higher in those races than they did in 30 starts at AMS in a Bandolero.
The pair, who resides in Griffin, Ga., garnered nine top-10 finishes, with a best of third in the Bandolero, but has already recorded three runner-up finishes in the Curry's Collision Center Chargers Division.
The younger Pierce, who serves as the wheelman for the Legends car, attributes the early success to several things and among them is his father.
"I credit both God and my father for the strong start to the season this year," Currie said. "Both of them have been instrumental in my entire racing career. My father is my number-one supporter and is there for me and with me every step of the way, no matter what happens on the track."
Atlanta Motor Speedway's summer racing Series, Thursday Thunder, continued its 10th anniversary celebration during week two's festivities. Week three will be highlighted by Atlanta sports mascots racing on the Thunder Ring, AMS' frontstretch quarter-mile oval, for the right to be called the fastest mascot in Georgia.
In addition to the concourse activities, intermission spectacles and grandstand games, the on-track racing action was intense as racers vied to get their 10-week season off to a solid start. The action continues with week three on Thursday, June 14, and will run every Thursday through August 2 with a special Wednesday night edition on July 4.
Atlanta Area Mascots to Race at AMS as Part of Week Three of Thursday Thunder Competition:
Atlanta Motor Speedway's mascot, Monkey Wrench, will serve as Grand Marshal this Thursday, when more than 10 Atlanta area mascots invade AMS for the inaugural "Mascot Mania Race." Freddie, Homer, Harry and Thrash, representing the Atlanta Falcons, Braves, Hawks and Thrashers respectively, are all scheduled to compete. Georgia Tech's Buzz, Georgia State's Pounce, the Aaron's Sales and Lease Ownership's Lucky Dog, Clayton County Water Department's Drippy, the Arby's Oven Mitt and the Backyard Burger are all slated to take the green flag as well in one of the greatest spectacles to hit Thursday Thunder in years.
Featuring a car show, an automotive swap meet, a vendor exhibit midway, track cruise, auto-cross course and a host of other automotive-themed activities, the Goodguys 1st NAPA Southern Nationals is the ninth of 23 national annual hot rod and custom car events produced by Goodguys Rod and Custom Association.
"It was a no-brainer to hold a Goodguys National event at Atlanta Motor Speedway," said Goodguys vice president of event operations Harry Daviess. "Our events fit speedways perfectly. There's lots of room to park and cruise, the garages serve as perfect spaces for the vendor midway and the participants feel at home in these venues. Throw in the track cruise and NASCAR rides and you've got a winning formula which is fun for all participants and spectators."
A random draw after the heat races inverted the top four qualifiers in each division for the feature event and the division points leader was relegated to start in the fifth row.
The Zaxby's Bandits division began with Kyle Benjamin on the pole. On lap three, Davey Matthews took over the top spot. Last week's winner and current points leader, Evan Bell, was on Matthews bumper lap after lap. After contact between Bell and Matthews, Mason Massey passed them both on lap six. Bell bumped Massey allowing Matthews to take over the lead again and the eventual checkered flag.
Prior to the Curry's Collision Center Chargers feature, a local resident wanted to partake in the nightly activities, but unfortunately, his safety was in jeopardy. The AMS operations department had to escort a squirrel off the frontstretch racing surface before the racing could continue, while amusing the crowd.
Cameron Michael brought the field to the green for the Curry's Collision Center Chargers feature. Michael drove away from the field with a half straightaway lead. Despite a late-race challenge, Michael earned his first win of the summer.
With a case full of national championship trophies, most race car drivers would happily recognize themselves for all the success they have experienced at Atlanta Motor Speedway and other race tracks across the country.
Lawrenceville, Ga.'s Casey Roderick refuses to do so and happily places the spotlight on those that helped earn him countless track, national and single event championships and victories.
"You aren't going to be successful unless you have great equipment, take care of the equipment and have good people helping you," Roderick said. "I have unbelievable equipment and our set-up guy, Doug Stevens, and my father are the reason we are experiencing our success."
Roderick is a 14-year-old racing prodigy , who competes in the Adrenalin Powersports Pro Division during Thursday Thunder, AMS' weekly summer racing series. Despite his young age, Roderick slices his way through the field with the precision and ease of a crafty veteran and he has the résumé to back-up the hype. With four AMS track championships under his belt, Roderick could be considered one of the most successful drivers to ever hit the Thunder Ring, AMS' frontstretch quarter-mile oval.
AMS track championships are just the beginning of Roderick's accomplishments, a list that includes the Legends Pro National championship, a victory in the Mason-Dixon Meltdown, a win at the PRI Invitational at Orlando Speedworld and several Pro Division track championships.
In just two nights of competition, Sisk has taken home four trophies: two first-place drag trophies in the Pro class and two pieces of runner-up hardware in the Show N' Shine competition.
Sisk's award-winning Chevelle wasn't in its current immaculate condition when he purchased the car just three years ago. Sisk described the car as a "rust bucket" and had to perform extensive rust repair, including two new front fenders.
"I sold a 1971 Chevelle I restored and wanted to buy a '67," Sisk recalled. "I like the longer body on the '67 and I found my current Chevelle in Clearwater, Fla. I replaced a lot of rusty parts and have done a lot of metal fabrication to get it where it is today."
Friday Night Drags will take a one week hiatus for the Goodguys Rod & Custom show on June 15-17. The street drags and the Show N' Shine car show will return in two weeks on June 22.
Nightly schedule for Friday Night Drags starts with pit gates opening at 6:00 p.m. Grandstand gates at 6:30 p.m. Drag practice runs start at 6:40 p.m. and nightly drag race eliminations start at 9:10 p.m. Entry for drag racing or the Show N' Shine is $20, spectator tickets are $7 for adults and children under six are free. More information can be found at http://www.atlantamotorspeedway.com/.
Hundreds of competitors put on a drag racing slugfest tonight for the fans in the grandstands and standing room only pit road area. Below is a complete list of tonight's winners:
Super Pro: Jeffrey Grizzard (Fayetteville) in a 1972 Vega
Pro: David Sisk (Fayetteville) in 1968 Chevrolet Camaro
Street Outlaw: Thomas Griffin (Newnan) in 1991 Ford Mustang
Pro Four: Sean Miller (Fayetteville) in a 1979 Mazda RX7
Sportsman: Jason Byrnes (Newnan) in a 1985 Ford Mustang
Tuners: Jonathan Hicks (McDonough) in a 1995 Honda Civic
Domestic: John Morgan (Stockbridge) in a 1986 Chevrolet Camaro Z28
Trucks: Wes German (Fayetteville) in a 1982 Ford F-100
Brandon Hutchison, who acts as race director during AMS' weekly summer racing series, Thursday Thunder, has been the man who puts each piece of the grass-roots racing puzzle together since the series' inception in 1998.
Originally an intern at AMS in March 1995, Hutchison was hired as a full-time employee in July of that year and was promoted to director of events just three years later. It was in 1998 that AMS summers would be re-written forever. With Hutchison at the helm, Thursday Thunder was born, giving racers both young and old a place to hone their skills or cut their racing teeth.
"That first evening of Thursday Thunder, we had around 1,000 fans," Hutchison said reflecting. "Now on our larger nights, we will have in upwards of 5,000 people. It is just a testament to how far the sport of Legends racing has come."
The night started out with heat races to determine the starting order for each division's feature event. The Fuddrucker's Semi-Pro division had so many competitors entered that some did not qualify to race in the feature; only 23 of 30 cars advanced. Robert Ridley led the field to the green flag to start the feature, but during the early laps of the race, Matt Stover edged his way up to Ridley's rear bumper. On lap five, Stover made the pass to take over the lead. Stover put serious distance between himself and the other competitors, jumping ahead of the field and eventually snaring the first victory of the night.
Griffin Ga.'s Frank Harris has taken a childhood interest and turned it into a lifelong obsession. Harris boasts a collection of 35 cars, many of them rare, including a 1958 Edsel Pacer that earned him the first runner-up trophy in the Castrol GTX Friday Night Drags Series Show N' Shine car show at Atlanta Motor Speedway two weeks ago.
"I restored my first car, a 1955 Mercury, when I was 16-years-old and I have been doing it ever since," Harris said. "Showing cars has taken me all over the country and has allowed me to meet some very interesting people."
Harris' collection includes 21 Ford Edsels and everything from a twin-turbo Dodge Stealth to a custom Dodge dually truck. Harris moved to the peach state in 1979 from Massachusetts and funds his Edsel addiction through his business, Frank's Head & Engine Service, located in Griffin, Ga.
Between the Thursday Thunder weekly racing series and the Castrol GTX Friday Night Drag Racing Series, more than 4,000 drag cars, Legends cars, Bandoleros and Thunder Roadsters are expected to hit the AMS asphalt this summer.
Celebrating its 10th season, Thursday Thunder, a 10-week Legends racing series will take place every Thursday night from May 31 to August 2, with a special Wednesday night edition on July 4 featuring a fireworks extravaganza. Drivers ages eight to 68 compete on the "Thunder Ring," AMS' paved frontstretch quarter-mile oval.
Featuring a full slate of competitive racing, as well as concourse activities, intermission spectacles and grandstand games, Thursday Thunder is an affordably-priced activity that offers something for spectators of all ages. Tickets are just $5 for adults and $1 for children 6-12 (children under 6 are free) for each evening of family fun and grass-roots racing.
Thursday Thunder, a 10-week series, will take place every Thursday night from May 31 to August 2, with a special Wednesday night edition on July 4 featuring a fireworks extravaganza. Drivers will compete on the "Thunder Ring," AMS' paved quarter-mile frontstretch oval.
Featuring a full slate of competitive Legends, Thunder Roadster and Bandolero racing, as well as concourse activities, intermission spectacles and grandstand games, Thursday Thunder is an affordably-priced activity that offers something for spectators of all ages. Tickets are just $5 for adults and $1 for children 6-12 (children under 6 are free) for each evening of fun and grass-roots racing. Every Thursday night fans are encouraged to participate in the festivities by dressing appropriately for that night's theme.
Skinner as well as team owner Bill Davis were both presented with the ACL Leadership Ring, a 14-carat gold ring featuring an ACL crest surrounded by 31 diamonds with a one-carat total weight. The left side of the ring is decorated with the word "Leadership" above a compass design, and the right side features raised lettering scripted with "2007 ACL 200" above an eagle perched atop a globe. The ring is presented in a rosewood display box which includes the ACL logo and is valued at approximately $4,000.
"The ring is a symbol of outstanding dedication, leadership and accomplishment within the ACL organization," said Shayne Ingersoll, Vice President of Human Resources for American Commercial Lines. "Those who have received the ring wear it with great pride.
"With their victory in the inaugural American Commercial Lines 200, Mike Skinner and his team demonstrated the winning spirit that is at the heart of the ACL organization. We are pleased to recognize their success and leadership in the sport by extending this very special award, generally reserved exclusively for our employees."
When they are not spending their Friday evenings at AMS, the two can be found operating Cobb's Auto Repair in Griffin, Ga., a business that has been family-owned for 30-years. It is through Cobb's Auto Repair they can fund their drag racing addiction. An addiction that has been in the Cobb family as long as anyone can remember.
"I knew Arnie was going to be into drag racing from a very young age," Arnold Cobb Sr. said. "When you grow up doing mechanic work, racing gets in your blood and it never gets out. I just would have never guessed that we would be racing cars worth this much and putting this much money into it.
"But, you don't have long here on earth and you can't take any of this stuff with you when you leave, so you better enjoy it while you can," The elder Cobb said.
Points will be awarded each night during the 12-week season with the division winner taking home three points, second-place two points and the rest of the participants will be awarded one point. The competitor with the most points at the end of the season wins the championship title on September 7. In the event of a tie, the competitor with the most wins will be awarded the title.
A packed grandstand and standing room only pit road area watched nearly 300 competitors tear down the drag strip. Below is a complete list of last night's winners:
Offering a wide array of custom, vintage and stock motorcycles, Ride ‘N Rock will merge great music from local and nationally recognized bands, hundreds of motorcycles and countless vendors to create a two-wheel Memorial Day weekend extravaganza.
More than a dozen bands are scheduled to perform throughout the weekend, including several Atlanta-based bands. Numerous celebrities are slated to attend the festival including Sugar Bear, a Los Angeles based chopper-builder who revolutionized the industry when he introduced the "Sugar Bear Springer" front end in 1972.
Stunt man Rhett Rotten will bring his "Wall of Death" to the show. Rotten rides motorcycles inside "The Wall," a large wooden barrel built in 1941. Known as the "Intimidator of Gravity," Rotten travels seven months each year sharing his death-defying stunts with people across America.
The Castrol GTX Friday Night Drags Series returns to the one-eighth-mile drag strip at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Friday, May 18.
Fans and competitors alike are looking forward to getting heads up, street-style drag racing underway, as inclement weather only allowed for practice runs last Friday night. Each competitor that registered on last week was awarded one point towards the season championship title; however no one was claimed the nightly winner as the elimination round was cancelled.
In addition to all the great race action, this Friday night will feature a drag exhibition from the All Harley® Drag Racing Association Tour (http://www.ahdra.com/). These motorcycles will explode down the drag strip at speeds reaching 145 mph.
Classic cars will be on display in the Busch garage when the Show N' Shine car show returns, with trophies awarded to the winner of each of the five classes.
Most testosterone packed, drag racing men are ultra-competitive and look for any opportunity they can find to flex their automotive muscles. From every direction on the compass, drag strips have historically been a refuge for men wanting to go fast and not be under the watchful eye of their wife.
Greg Mitchell has re-written the rule book and couldn't be happier. Mitchell bought his wife of 27-years, Valorie, a pristine 1955 Chevrolet Bel-Air drag car the couple plans to run at Atlanta Motor Speedway's Castrol GTX Friday Night Drags Series. To date, Valorie has inched countless men to the stripe, including Greg.
"We have met four times in either the quarter-finals or the finals and I have lost to her every time, including one at AMS," Greg said laughing. "But we got into drag racing cars so we could do something together and we absolutely love it."
Friends since their early teens, Greg and Valorie have raced just about everything on two wheels, four wheels and even water.
Atlanta Motor Speedway is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individuals responsible for the theft of more than $50,000 in motorized power equipment, tools, trailers, all-terrain vehicles and a truck on Wednesday night, May 7.
The theft occurred between 10 p.m. on Wednesday and 7 a.m. on Thursday. The Henry County Police Department is investigating the burglary and individuals with information can contact Henry County detective Mike Hardy at 770-288-8254 or AMS vice president of events Brandon Hutchison at 770-707-7851.
Fans of Atlanta Motor Speedway's new Castrol GTX Friday Night Drags series will have to wait one more week to get their speed fix. May 18 will now serve as the opening night of the 2007 season as tonight's activities have been cancelled due to inclement weather.
Competitors were able to get their practice runs in, but storms in the area prevented track officials from getting the drag elimination rounds started.
For the 2007 season, points will be awarded each night during the 12-week season with the drag division winner taking home three points, second-place two points and the rest of the participants will be awarded one point. The competitor with the most points at the end of the season wins the championship title to be determined on September 7. All of tonight's competitors who showed up to compete were awarded one point, which will count in the season long battle.
The Show N' Shine contest did take place and trophies were awarded. Tonight's competition showcased everything from new imports to classic muscle cars; even a drag boat was entered.
The 2006 inaugural edition of the Friday Night Drags Series was a tremendous success with more than 1,300 competitors, ranging in age from 16 to 74, participating in the street drags or the car show portion of the event. This momentum led to the development of a full-scale series and the addition of a series sponsor for 2007: Castrol GTX brand engine oil.
"The addition of Castrol GTX to our sponsor family shows the promise this new grass roots level racing series has," said Atlanta Motor Speedway president and general manger Ed Clark. "We are extremely pleased to partner with Castrol GTX to present a summer full of thrilling drag racing entertainment."
The competition will be heads up, street-style drag racing on AMS's one-eighth-mile pit road drag strip. The series is open to any automobile and any driver, provided they possess a valid driver's license. A simple points system will be in place for 2007 and division champions will be crowned at the end of the season. Three points will be awarded for a final round win with two points awarded to the runner-up. A single point will be awarded to every participant.
The show, packed with classic, collector and vintage drag and NASCAR vehicles, will give fans the chance to stroll through 100-years of American automotive history. Motorsports legends such as past NASCAR champion David Pearson, "Miss Hurst" Linda Vaughn, drag racers Butch Leal, Phil Bonner and Arnie "The Farmer" Beswick will be among the celebrities on hand interacting with spectators and signing autographs.
Nostalgic drag and NASCAR Cup Series cars will be showcased with several of the drag cars participating in exhibition drag races down Atlanta Motor Speedway's pit-road drag strip. With vehicles ranging from a one family owned 1919 Ford Model T to a Super Chevy Magazine featured 1962 Chevrolet Impala to several 2009 concept vehicles, all decades of automotive history will be well represented.
Separate General Motors, Ford and Chrysler pavilions will help comprise the Southern Auto Classic, making it one of the largest automotive displays of its kind ever in the southeast. The "War Wizard," a full-scale monster truck, will be present giving fans a ride around the AMS infield. For those with going fast on their mind, Speed Tech auto racing school will be offering rides and drives in a NEXTEL Cup style stock car around Atlanta Motor Speedway's high banks, with several lucky show patrons winning tickets to participate.
Among the vendors, concept vehicles, vintage drag cars and antique automobiles on display during the May 4 - 6 Southern Auto Classic, several stock cars that hold an important piece of NASCAR history will return to the high-banks of Atlanta Motor Speedway, where they once roamed.
The Southern Auto Classic will honor the career of three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion David Pearson. Throughout his 27-year career on the Cup Series circuit, Pearson amassed 105 victories and in 1998 was selected as one of NASCAR's 50 greatest drivers of all-time.
"I've known David Pearson for what feels like forever," said Southern Auto Classic producer and drag racing legend Dick Brannon. "He is the greatest driver of all time and an incredible person. We are excited about honoring the career and accomplishments of such a great driver."
Pearson began driving for the famed Wood Brothers race team in 1972, driving the No. 21 Mercury. Pearson turned his last laps for the Wood Brothers in 1979, tallying 46 victories and 51 pole positions during his seven-year tenure.
"I met Dick Brannon a long time ago through Ford," Pearson said. "He's always been great to me. I went to one of his shows last year and had a great time. I got to see some old drag racing friends of mine and I am really looking forward to this year's show at Atlanta Motor Speedway."
The word Mopar is synonymous with many performance-related items and among them are Hemi engines, plum crazy paint and Plymouth Superbirds. All of these pieces of Americana and more will be on display during the Fifth Annual Landmark Mopar Southern Classic, April 28, at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.
A Plymouth Roadrunner Superbird, made famous by Richard Petty, an original 1966 Dodge Hemi Charger and a L'il Red Express muscle truck are among several famous vehicles on display on the AMS infield. Last year's show included two 1969 "General Lee" Dodge Chargers, from the TV series "The Dukes of Hazzard." Countless vendors will be on-hand and enthusiasts will be able to strap their classic Mopar onto an engine dynamometer and measure their car's horsepower output.
The Dale Jarrett Racing Adventure will be present, providing 160-mph ride-a-long laps around Atlanta Motor Speedway's high banks in a NEXTEL Cup style stock car. Show entrants and vendors will have the opportunity to drive their show vehicle on the track and roundtrip airline tickets and an 18' car hauler as well will be given away.
Expected to draw more than 20,000 RV and camping enthusiasts, the show will feature hundreds of motor homes, travel trailers, fifth-wheels, pop-up and van campers and toy haulers from 17 different RV dealerships.
In addition to the camping and RV related merchandise, a live band, carnival concessions and a rock climbing adventure will be available. The Richard Petty Driving Experience will also be present, offering the opportunity to ride in or drive a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup-style stock car.
Like every other race weekend at AMS, the October 2007 weekend will provide fans with three days of heart-pounding racing excitement, capped off when the stars of the NEXTEL Cup Series take the track and battle for 500 miles on Sunday, October 28.
The green flag will drop on the race weekend Friday night, October 26 for the fastest qualifying session in all of NASCAR. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon and their foes will try to earn the pole position for Sunday's race during Georgia-Pacific Qualifying, under the lights.
Saturday, October 27 will be full of door banging action when the Craftsman Truck Series takes on Atlanta Motor Speedway's high-banks for what promises to be another 200-mile slug-fest.
"We want to thank the Georgia State Patrol, Georgia Department of Transportation and everyone else involved in expediting the flow of traffic following Sunday's race," said Atlanta Motor Speedway president and general manager Ed Clark. "The cooperation of fans made the exit traffic plan execution operate like clockwork and we applaud them and those implementing the plan for a tremendous job."
The record time exceeded last October's exit time of two hours and seven minutes. More than 200 individuals assisted in the event traffic operation.
"I can't say I've ever driven a race car that hard before," Johnson said. "That was a great, great race."
With three laps to go, Johnson had finally managed to edge ahead of Stewart in the side-by-side battle. Stewart surged to the high side, appearing to have enough steam to retake the lead when Johnson squeezed him, and Stewart scrubbed the wall. It was enough to knock Stewart slightly off balance and allow Johnson, driving the No. 48 Lowe's/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, to pull away for his second win at the fastest track in NASCAR.
"Nobody ever likes to hit the wall," Stewart said. "I wish he'd have given me a little more room. I don't think I ever pinched him. He had a faster car, and he probably would have gotten around us anyway, but at least I'd like to have the chance to race him for it."
Burton held off fellow NASCAR NEXTEL Cup regulars Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards and Casey Mears, who rounded out the top-five. Busch dominated most of the race, leading 143 of 195 laps, before a pit miscue on 169 forced him to come back through the pits.
"The 5 (Busch) was the class of the field today," Burton said. "The way things cycled out, I don't think we could have ever beat him. But part of racing is putting yourself in position. You put yourself in position long enough, and you never know what's going to happen, and that's what happened with us today. Our guys had great pit stops and kept getting us in the front, and we were there when needed to be there and took advantage of someone else's problems."
Busch was heartbroken about the way his day concluded, saying that this loss was actually worse than last week's final-lap spin.
"We had to beat Clint Bowyer who is a trick artist," said Skinner. "We didn't even have the best truck all night. The No. 30 truck was the best truck. Two weeks in-a-row, we have won with a second-place truck, but we have lost a lot of these with a first-place truck though."
AMS hasn't been too kind to Skinner in the past, only netting him two top-10 and one top-five finish in his career, but all that changed after Skinner tailgated front-running Bowyer, eventually moving him to capture the top spot.
Todd Bodine followed in Skinner's tire tracks, passing Bowyer to claim the runner-up spot and in the process sending Bowyer to a fifth-place finish. Matt Crafton finished third and Rick Crawford, making his 250th-career start finished the American Commercial Lines 200 in fourth.
"I've been around the track with him backwards and forwards and he's showed me what to do and what not to do," said Newman, who first toured the high banks of Atlanta with Baker in a passenger car, learning the nuances from a master. "It's gratifying, it's rewarding; I couldn't think of a better person to share the record with than Buddy Baker."
Newman won six straight poles at Atlanta from 2003-2005, but that streak was snapped last spring when Kasey Kahne stole the spot.
The function included NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion and ESPN analyst Rusty Wallace, Cup drivers Kevin Harvick and David Ragan, Busch driver Steve Wallace, Craftsman Truck drivers Bill Lester, Chase Miller, Joey Clanton and Truck team owner Billy Ballew.
Fans in attendance were treated to a parade lap around the State Capitol that saw Gov. Perdue, Harvick and Wallace turn laps on the streets of Downtown Atlanta in NEXTEL Cup style stock cars.
Toyota fans and drivers all hope the road to victory starts on the 1.54-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway during the March 16-18 race weekend. All seven of Toyota's drivers will attempt to qualify for Sunday's Kobalt Tools 500 NEXTEL Cup race and hopefully provide a much needed boost to their season.
The only man driving a Toyota ranked higher than 40th is past Cup Series champion Dale Jarrett, in 32nd. Jarrett, who is guaranteed a starting spot in the Kobalt Tools 500 because of a past champions provisional, knows the key to Toyota's success is better handling race cars.
"We've got to get some more downforce in these cars," Jarrett said. "We are just not capable of doing the things that these other guys are doing with their cars. That will help us more than anything, then we can show how good the pit crew is and that we've got smart guys. Downforce will make a lot of difference, so we've got to get back and work on our bodies."
After Dale Earnhardt died in the season opening 2001 Daytona 500, team owner Richard Childress tabbed Harvick to drive the GM Goodwrench Chevrolet. With a new white paint job and No. 29 replacing the famed black No.3, Harvick, in just his third NEXTEL Cup start, beat Jeff Gordon to the finish line by a breathtaking 0.006 seconds.
"The circumstances that we won that first race under... we won't ever forget that moment just because of everything that went on," Harvick said. "When I start thinking about it, it brings those same chills back that I got at that particular time of winning my first race. I know that I can't do that again and that's obviously because of the circumstances.
"Those are the kind of situations as professionals that you dream about," Harvick remembered. "You look for the opportunity to take those moments and try to capitalize on them."
Since his first victory, Harvick has struggled at Atlanta Motor Speedway, recording only one other top-10 finish, a third-place run in the fall of 2001.
"We've won in Atlanta, so the performance is there," Harvick said. "Maybe we used our luck up in the beginning, but we have been good in past years performance-wise and just got caught up in a wreck. So I think from a performance aspect we should be fine, it's just a matter of making all the right moves and having a whole day come together."
When NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams converge at Atlanta Motor Speedway for next week's Kobalt Tools 500, they will have a different piece of hardware in their 3,400-pound machines. The NEXTEL Cup cars will be outfitted with a smaller fuel cell than the units used in 2006.
"The Cup cars raced approximately a 22.5-gallon fuel cell last year at Atlanta," said David Hoots, NASCAR managing event director. "The 2007 fuel cell holds approximately 18 gallons, plus the filler neck and vent tube."
FOX and TNT television analyst and former NASCAR NEXTEL Cup crew chief Larry McReynolds foresees a possible change in the outcome of Sunday's Kobalt Tools 500 because of the new cell.
"NEXTEL Cup cars average 4.5 miles-per-gallon," McReynolds said. "With the 22-gallon cell the teams ran in 2006, they were getting between 64 and 66 laps before having to come to pit road. Now, with the smaller cell, these guys will be running 52-54 laps, about 10 or 12 laps less than last year."
McReynolds thinks that formula will place an extra emphasis on the crews' performance during pit stops.
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion and ESPN analyst Rusty Wallace, Cup drivers Kevin Harvick and David Ragan, Busch driver Steve Wallace and Craftsman Truck drivers Bill Lester, Chase Miller, Joey Clanton and owner Billy Ballew will be on hand for the day's festivities. The public is invited to attend this midway of activity which will include a fan zone of showcars on Mitchell Street outside the Capitol.
Gov. Perdue will host a news conference at 11:45 a.m. outside the State Capitol. In addition to the NASCAR drivers, Gov. Perdue will show his support for the nationwide NASCAR Day on May 18, 2007.
Atlanta Motor Speedway's two NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race weekends contribute an estimated $455 million annually to the Atlanta area economy. Atlanta's races also attract fans from all 50 states and as many as a dozen nations, while another 10 million fans tune in worldwide.
Immediately following Worley's concert, FOX television racing analyst and former NASCAR crew chief Jeff Hammond will be delivered to the AMS infield dangling 50-feet below a Black Hawk Helicopter as part of a tribute to America's servicemen and women and in particular, 12 Special Operations Forces Warriors that have recently served in the Middle-East.
Also included in the exhibition, conducted by the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, headquartered at MacDill Air Force base in Florida, will be two Little Bird and two Black Hawk helicopters. In addition, 12 U.S. Army Black Dagger skydivers and a Chinook helicopter will offload the official Atlanta Motor Speedway pace car in the infield.
Jack Sprague and Rick Crawford will both reach a milestone during the March 16 American Commercial Lines 200 Craftsman Truck Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway when they start their 250th career Truck race.
Between them, Sprague and Crawford share nearly 300 top-10 finishes, 33 wins, more than 80,000 competition miles driven, and as soon as the green flag drops on March 17, 500 career starts.
"I didn't realize it was going to be my 250th career start in the Craftsman Truck Series until someone said something to me the other day," Sprague said about his feat. "That is pretty darn cool. What are the odds of myself and Rick Crawford doing it at the same time?"
Run under the cloak of night after Georgia Power NEXTEL Cup Qualifying, the American Commercial Lines 200 will set the stage for a historical race for two of the Craftsman Truck Series' most seasoned veterans, both of which are still searching for their first Atlanta win.
"When the sun sets at Atlanta for a Truck race, crazy things seem to happen," Crawford said. "I am sure with my 250th start coming at that track, it will be one to remember and I hope I am out front when the checkered flag falls."
Martin, who is racing a partial NEXTEL Cup Series schedule for Ginn Racing, will run the first four races in 2007 before handing over the reigns of the No. 01 Chevrolet to rookie and teammate Regan Smith for the next two events.
Starting on Feb. 14, 1988 in the Daytona 500, Martin's current streak of NEXTEL Cup starts includes 35 wins and 376 top-10 finishes. Martin is in elite company, sitting fifth on the all-time consecutive start list, behind Ricky Rudd (789), Rusty Wallace (697), Terry Labonte (655) and Dale Earnhardt (648).
Martin plans to attack the Kobalt Tools 500 with the same ferocity and tenacity that he had when he started his first NEXTEL Cup race at the now defunct North Wilkesboro Speedway in 1981.
Lester, still searching for his elusive first Truck Series victory, will be coming to Atlanta with a new team in Billy Ballew Motorsports and a rejuvenated outlook on his racing career.
"What Billy Ballew has given me as far as people and equipment is top-notch, and I think that we're going to gain that first win for me, personally, this year, and I'll be very happy and honored to do it with Billy Ballew," Lester said. "The teams I have driven for in the past were multi-truck teams so the focus was a bit different."
Both Lester and Ballew call Georgia home and like Lester, team owner Ballew is optimistic about their fortunes in 2007. Ballew has experienced success at AMS, going to victory lane with Kyle Busch behind the wheel of his Chevrolet in October, 2005.
"It is great to have such a combination of experience between our team and Bill," said Ballew. "With Bill Lester behind the wheel, we believe we have the opportunity to get Bill his first career NCTS win. He is a dedicated racer and has untapped talent."
Lester will not only have the experience of starting every Truck Series race at AMS, he also started the March 2006 NEXTEL Cup race at AMS, becoming the first African-American to start a Cup race in nearly 20-years.
Club One, a large public suite, is situated high atop the new Winners Grandstand and features a premium bar and menu, a 'Sight and Sound' observation deck located on the roof and 65 video screens with quality sound to bring the sights and sounds of the race even closer.
Club One patrons also receive pre-race pit passes, direct elevator access from the concourse level and an excellent view of the entire track, including pit road. Exclusive Club One parking is also available.
The Open House will feature pace car rides around Atlanta Motor Speedway's high banks, refreshments and one-day-only buying incentives. The function is open to the general public and will run from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday and from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday. This unique event will offer fans the opportunity to personally select their seat, tour Club One and see first-hand the finest amenities in NASCAR.
NASCAR drivers competing in the March 18 Kobalt Tools 500, the March 17 Nicorette 300 and the March 16 American Commercial Lines 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races at Atlanta Motor Speedway will be battling for nearly $7 million in posted prize money.
The awards for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck Series events are part of a $6,609,084 purse announced for the three days of racing that comprise the March 16-18 Kobalt Tools 500 race weekend schedule of events.
This exciting weekend of racing will kick off Friday night, March 16 with Georgia Power NEXTEL Cup Qualifying night, immediately followed by the American Commercial Line 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race, where the tough trucks of NASCAR will hit the 1.54-mile quad-oval and battle for more than half a million dollars.
Racing action will heat up on Saturday, March 17 when the NASCAR Busch Series regulars try and beat select NEXTEL Cup drivers in the Nicorette 300, with $1,115,577 up for grabs.
On Sunday, the stars of the NEXTEL Cup series will take on the high banks at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the Kobalt Tools 500, racing for a record purse of $4,957,097.
Great seats are still available for the Kobalt Tools 500 race weekend, March 16-18. Contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office by calling 877-9-AMS-TIX (877-926-7849) or 770-946-4211.
Unadilla, Ga., native David Ragan knows proper training and preparation today will lead to a long and successful career in NASCAR's elite divisions. Part of that training will take place on Ragan's home track, the Atlanta Motor Speedway during the March 16-18 Kobalt Tools 500 race weekend.
Coming off a fifth-place finish in the season opening Daytona 500, Ragan will draw on two starts in the Craftsman Truck Series on Atlanta Motor Speedway's 1.54-mile quad-oval to hopefully propel him to his first NASCAR victory.
"It's going to be an emotional day," Ragan said of his first start at AMS in a Busch and Cup car. "Atlanta is going to be special, with family and friends, and being so familiar with the surroundings. I grew up in south Georgia, lived in Stockbridge for a number of years, so we've really got a lot of friends coming."
Ragan has a sixth-place finish in last October's Truck event to his credit, but unlike most drivers competing with him, Ragan can boast 10 Legends and Bandolero victories on the "Thunder Ring," Atlanta Motor Speedway's frontstretch quarter-mile oval, and a track championship in 2000.
"Atlanta is a track I grew up racing on, not on the big track, but on the small track," Ragan remembered. "It's certainly going to be emotional to walk across the stage, and hopefully we'll get a big round of applause and run well for the hometown crowd."