Atlanta Motor Speedway news 2009-03-05

Atlanta Motor Speedway Kobalt Tools 500 News and Notes -- March 5, 2009 AMS Adds Ticket Agents to Assist Walk-Up Crowd Anticipating a strong walk-up crowd due to temperatures in the mid 70s for the Kobalt Tools 500 race weekend, Atlanta Motor...

Atlanta Motor Speedway Kobalt Tools 500 News and Notes -- March 5, 2009

AMS Adds Ticket Agents to Assist Walk-Up Crowd

Anticipating a strong walk-up crowd due to temperatures in the mid 70s for the Kobalt Tools 500 race weekend, Atlanta Motor Speedway has hired additional ticket agents to meet walk-up demands for this weekend's events.

The Speedway is expecting a strong walk-up crowd due to exceptional weather conditions, coming just one week after snow blanketed much of the Northern Georgia area. To prevent lengthy ticket lines, the Speedway has employed a number of part-time ticketing agents to assist customers.

"With sunny conditions forecasted for all three days of the Kobalt Tools 500 race weekend, we wanted to ensure our staff is prepared to adequately serve a large number of walk-up patrons," said Atlanta Motor Speedway president and general manager Ed Clark. "With two outstanding racing events on the schedule, we're encouraging race fans to come out and enjoy the first great weather weekend in the Atlanta area this year while watching NASCAR racing action this weekend."

AMS' 100th Sprint Cup Race Stats and Facts

The 2009 Kobalt Tools 500 will mark the 100th Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Below are a number of interesting and unusual statistics and facts surrounding the 100th running of the Sprint Cup cars at Atlanta Motor Speedway:

- The most lead changes in a single Atlanta Motor Speedway race is 45 in 1982.

- Fireball Roberts won the inaugural pole at AMS with a speed of 133.87 mph. Geoffrey Bodine holds the track qualifying record at 197.478 mph, set in the fall 1997 race.

- Chevrolet leads all manufactures in Atlanta Motor Speedway wins with 35. The cars which accounted for wins in the previous 99 races at AMS are: Chevrolet (35), Ford (30), Pontiac (11), Mercury (7), Dodge (6), Buick (4), Plymouth (4), Oldsmobile (1) and Toyota (1).

- The Wood Brothers lead all owners with 12 victories in Atlanta. Hendrick Motorsports is second with 10 wins, while Richard Childress Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing both have nine wins.

- A driver has won a race at Atlanta from the pole position 14 times, with the most recent occurrence in March of 2006 when Kasey Kahne won.

- Richard Petty has started the most races in Atlanta Motor Speedway history with 65, but Bill Elliott trails close behind and leads active drivers with 59.

- The quickest race in Atlanta Motor Speedway history was three hours, three minutes and three seconds, when Dale Earnhardt won in the fall of 1995 driving car No. 3.

- The most driver to lead in a single Atlanta Motor Speedway race was 17 in 2000.

- The most cautions in a single race was 14 in 2007.

- Atlanta Motor Speedway has witnessed two of the seven closest finishes in NASCAR history, with the closest being Kevin Harvick's .006 second margin over Jeff Gordon in the 2001 Kobalt Tools 500.

Sprint Cup Regulars Set to Battle in American Commercial Lines 200

A pair of Sprint Cup regulars will add star power to Saturday's American Commercial Lines 200 as Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick compete in the door-banging action of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

In 2008, both competitors found their way to Atlanta Motor Speedway's Victory Lane competing in the Truck Series -- Busch as a driver in the 2008 American Commercial Lines 200 and Harvick as an owner when Ryan Newman won the fall's E-Z-GO 200. Now, Harvick and Busch will compete head-to-head in the 2009 American Commercial Lines 200.

In the 2008 E-Z-GO 200, Newman won on last lap pass of Ron Hornaday Jr. and the duo, each racing for Kevin Harvick Inc., traded the lead twice in the final eight laps.

Loaded Entry List Increases Intrigue for Georgia Power Qualifying Night

Qualifying at Atlanta Motor Speedway has always been significant, with 14 race winners coming from the pole position. But with 49 entrants for this year's Georgia Power Qualifying Night and home-state hero Bill Elliott in the field, qualifying for the 2009 Kobalt Tools 500 may prove to be one of the most entertaining nights of qualifying on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit.

Because the Kobalt Tools 500 falls within the first five races of the 2009 season, the top-35 drivers from the 2008 season are locked into the Kobalt Tools 500 field, leaving eight open positions for 14 competitors.

Among those 14 teams vying for eight spots is Elliott, the six-time race winner at Atlanta Motor Speedway who calls the facility his home track. After Elliott's mesmerizing qualifying effort before in Daytona earlier this season -- the 53-yard old, part-time competitor posted the fifth-quickest time (187.739 mph) -- the local legend may be prepped for another outstanding qualifying effort during Friday's Kobalt Tools 500 race weekend.

Sunscreen a Necessity for Kobalt Tools 500 Race Weekend

With weather forecasts calling for the first spring-like weather of the season during the Kobalt Tools 500 race weekend -- sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s -- Atlanta Motor Speedway is encouraging fans to plan to bring sunscreen or purchase theirs at the track. Atlanta Motor Speedway souvenir stands have been stocked with additional sunscreen supplies to meet the anticipated demand during the weekend.

Employee Numbers Increase From 50s to 5,000 for Race Weekend

Hosting a NASCAR Sprint Cup race weekend is no easy task, evident by the temporary staff increase at Atlanta Motor Speedway as the track prepares to host the Kobalt Tools 500.

A yearly staff of 56 employees bulges to more than 5,000 on race weekend, as the track contracts and hires many part-time employees to meet the needs of more than 100,000 fans on Sunday, March 8. Among the largest additions to the Atlanta Motor Speedway staff are the hiring of concessionaires, security, ticket agents, ushers and trash management.

Flyover Announced for Kobalt Tools 500

Atlanta Motor Speedway has announced four T-38 Talons will conduct the flyover prior to the March 8 Kobalt Tools 500.

Four T-38 Talons, the primary jet trainer for the United States Air Force, will conduct Sunday's flyover for the Kobalt Tools 500. Conducted by the 12th Flying Training Wing, the T-38 Talons will be routed from Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.

Quotable and Notable Driver Quotes on AMS and the Kobalt Tools 500

Mark Martin, driver of the No. 5 Kellogg's/CarQuest Chevrolet Impala SS:

"I love Atlanta. The track drives just like the short tracks I raced on back in Arkansas. The track is like a monster, but it's really like a short track. I've always liked this track since the first time I raced it in 1982. I've been fortunate to run well there. I've never not been comfortable at Atlanta. I've never felt like we had a bad car. It's just one of those tracks that I instantly enjoyed racing on."

Jeff Burton, driver of the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet Impala SS:

"Atlanta is one of my favorite racetracks. I really enjoy going there and I'm excited about running there this year. It's one of those places where I think we have a good shot of winning. To me, it's a great challenge. The difference between qualifying and racing there is so big. The track gets so slick during the race and becomes a blast to drive on. You have to get up on the wheel and drive the car. It's so much fun. As a race car driver, that's the kind of racing you hope for."

Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger:

"Your car may be good on the bottom early in the race, but as the track changes the car may work better up top. It's important to move around to make sure you are running the quickest line. A line that didn't work early may be the right line later in the race. Just because another driver is having success with one line doesn't mean the setup you have in your car will automatically produce the same kind of results."

Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 DEWALT Ford Fusion:

"Atlanta is a track where you not only race your competitors, but you race the track. It's really high banked and fast. You start off fast and the track gets slick, so you're always looking for a different groove and for more grip. The cars are tougher to drive and they move around a lot more than the old cars. When the track gets slick, you've got to have a good-handling car, so that you can change your points and get into the corners. I always have a lot of fun racing at Atlanta, because it is always a challenge.

-credit: ams

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Burton , Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Geoffrey Bodine , Kevin Harvick , Ryan Newman , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Richard Petty , Kasey Kahne , Kyle Busch , Mark Martin
Teams Hendrick Motorsports , Joe Gibbs Racing