Mike Helton, president of NASCAR, visited Atlanta Motor Speedway today to survey the damage the track sustained when a tornado struck the facility three weeks ago.

Atlanta Motor Speedway president and general manager Ed Clark took Helton for a tour around the 870-acre facility to view the areas the tornado affected. Following the tour of the property, Clark and Helton addressed the media from AMS's Infield Media Center.

"We have a schedule set up and some areas of reconstruction are ahead of schedule," said Clark. "The cleanup is complete and the insurance company is estimating values. The suites are currently being built back and almost all of the suite demolition is complete.

"One thing that we haven't shared yet is we have targeted October 14 as our completion date," said Clark. “Our biggest challenge right now is coordination of scheduling. This way, we are giving ourselves a buffer in case any project runs over.

“We are also working on additions to the property to improve upon our already great facility, but we have not released those plans yet as they are still pending approval from our chairman, Bruton Smith," said Clark. “We will share them with you in the weeks to come.”

Helton, prior to working for NASCAR worked for various racetracks, including the former Atlanta International Raceway where he once served as general manager. After having an opportunity to survey the damage he stated, “There is nothing I've seen here today that will stop us (NASCAR) from being here in October. Atlanta Motor Speedway has everything that NASCAR needs to run a race here.”

Pictures of Helton’s visit are available upon request.

Great seats are still available for the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 race weekend. Tickets can be obtained by calling (770) 946-4211.