In its history of more than 50 years, Atlanta Motor Speedway has seen no shortage of memorable NASCAR moments and iconic drivers. So it comes as little surprise that AMS has significantly impacted the newly announced 2015 NASCAR Hall of Fame class.
For starters, there's Bill Elliott. Atlanta was, for all intents and purposes, the home track for Awesome Bill from Dawsonville and his legions of North Georgia fans due to the track's proximity to Elliott's hometown.
Elliott enjoyed a high level of success at Atlanta. Not only did he win a total of five races on the Cup level at Atlanta, but he is also one of five drivers to sweep both races in a single season at AMS, joining Marvin Panch, Bobby Allison, David Pearson and Carl Edwards. Elliott is the only driver to pull off an Atlanta season sweep twice, doing so in 1985 and 1992.
Perhaps the apex of Elliott's career came at Atlanta in 1988 when he clinched the season championship.
Wendell Scott's career marked by perseverance and standing firm against long odds included Atlanta. He posted consecutive top-ten finishes in the 1965 and 1966 events here. In addition, Atlanta was one of three tracks at least 1.5 miles long that Scott started more than 10 events at during his career.
Before his career was ended prematurely due to an untimely death, Joe Weatherly was one of the top drivers to contend against at Atlanta. In the final three events that he competed in here, Weatherly, driving for NASCAR Hall of Fame owner Bud Moore, finished no worse than fifth.
There was a common thread between Weatherly and two other 2015 Hall of Fame inductees in the early 1960s. In 1963, Weatherly led the second-most laps in the Atlanta 500, a race won by Fred Lorenzen. Weatherly finished second in the 1962 Dixie 400 to Rex White.
A frequent visitor to Atlanta Motor Speedway during event weekends, Fayetteville resident Rex White is NASCAR's oldest living champion, having won the title in 1960.
White's victory in the 1962 Dixie 400 at Atlanta came during a time in which he was one of the most dominant drivers in NASCAR. From 1960 to 1962, he won a combined 21 events.
The 1962 victory at Atlanta came against a who's who of NASCAR legends. Rounding out the top five that day were Weatherly, Panch, Richard Petty and Lorenzen.
Before the likes of Cale Yarborough and Bobby Labonte asserted themselves as the driver to beat at Atlanta, there was Fred Lorenzen.
Atlanta was one of just three tracks that Lorenzen won at least four events at during his career.
During a stretch that spanned from 1961 to 1964, Lorenzen, teaming with the legendary Holman-Moody race team, was one of the most dominant drivers in the field at Atlanta. During an eight-race stretch, he won four times, at one point claiming victory in three out of five events. Other than the 1961 Dixie 400 in which Lorenzen failed to finish after being in an accident, he finished no worse than fifth.
His most dominant effort came in the 1964 Atlanta 500. Lorenzen dominated from the outset, winning the pole position and leading 206 laps en route to victory.
Atlanta Motor Speedway and NASCAR legends are intertwined. Be here Labor Day Weekend to see the sport's top drivers carve out their own storied legacy as NASCAR night racing returns.