Walter Mitty Challenge at Road Atlanta preview

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BRASELTON, GA (April 25) -- A spectacular variety of race cars will compete at Road Atlanta this weekend in the 34th annual Walter Mitty Challenge, as nearly 50 years of American road racing history will be featured in one of the largest...

BRASELTON, GA (April 25) -- A spectacular variety of race cars will compete at Road Atlanta this weekend in the 34th annual Walter Mitty Challenge, as nearly 50 years of American road racing history will be featured in one of the largest historic events of the year.

Sanctioned by Historic Sportscar Racing (www.hsrrace.com), the Walter Mitty Challenge is a mecca for both race fans and drivers. More than 350 entries have been received for the three days of racing. Friday is primarily practice, with qualifying races and the Rolex Historic Endurance Challenge Saturday. Sunday's schedule includes a special "All Lotus" race and then the feature sprint events.

See the NASCAR Winston Cup cars of Dale Earnhardt and Bill Elliott will among the 28 stock cars competing. Michael Andretti's Texaco/Havoline IndyCar, Geoff Brabham's Nissan GTP and Johnny Herbert's Formula 1 car will be in the field of cars that will reach speeds in excess of 190 mph on the 2.5-mile 12-turn road course.

"Historic racing is every bit as competitive as I remember IMSA GTP racing was in its heydays," says Bob Akin of Ossing, NY.

HSR racing has become so competitive in recent years that Akin no longer brings his 1986 Sebring 12 Hours winning car, the famous #5 Coca-Cola Porsche 962. "The vintage/historic cars are now better than the cars I raced in IMSA," he says. "If I showed up in my Porsche, I would be regulated to mid-pack."

This weekend, Akin will co-drive a 1991 factory Cosworth-Spice, which ran primarily in Europe, with car owner John Littlechild of Boston. Their main event will be the one-hour Rolex Historic Endurance Challenge at 5 p.m. Saturday, a race that includes a mandatory five-minute pit stop for safety checks and driver changes.

"The HSR has really done a magnificent job of making the rules that puts safety first, but produces great racing," Akin says. "Some of these cars are worth a million dollars or more."

In addition to watching the races, fans can enjoy an array of Road Atlanta's "For the Fans" experiences, including the go-karts from Andretti Speed Labs, an auto show and Concours D'Elegance, and the kids center on the midway. Saturday evening a free concert featuring Cedar Hills is scheduled from 6-9 p.m.

Three-day SuperTickets , including free paddock access, are $25 in advance or $35 at the gate. Saturday or Sunday only tickets are $20, and children under 12 are free. Daily parking is $5, and camping is available. Call 1-800-449RACe of visit www.roadatlanta.com for more information.

-HSR-

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