Atlanta Motor Speedway to be repaved for the first time in two decades

Atlanta Motor Speedway announced today that the track will be resurfaced following the March race weekend for all three NASCAR national series.

Atlanta Motor Speedway to be repaved for the first time in two decades
Start: Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford leads the field
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Race action
Overall view of the race action
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet takes the white flag

AMS President Ed Clark said the time was right to update the racing surface that was last paved in 1997.

“We got 20 years out of this surface and we’re getting ready to have our 21st season and that’s about as good as you can get,” Clark told Motorsport.com. “Our staff here at the track worked hard every year and did a great job making sure every crack on the track was sealed and that helped us get our longevity in the surface.”

The track has featured sealant for several years – especially along the grooves where the track was repaved, but the surface had started cracking in different directions securing the need to put new asphalt down.

Clark added the parent company of the track – Speedway Motorsports Inc. – will oversee the awarding of the contract for the work much like it did with the recent repaving of Kentucky Motor Speedway last year. He also wants to make sure the great racing and close finishes AMS is known for remain well into the future.

“We talked to a lot of people in the (NASCAR) garage and the consensus was to keep the track like it is and we’re going to do that,” Clark added. “We just want to put new asphalt down and not change anything about the track. The banking (24 degrees) will stay the same and we’re not changing anything about the banking of the track.”

Clark said as part of the project the track will also place additional safer barrier to the inside wall of the track coming out of Turn 2.

Record speeds?

One question surely to arise once the project, slated to begin in April after the Folds of Honor Quik Trip 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, will be the qualifying speeds.

Geoffrey Bodine turned heads when he qualified at 197.478 mph on November 15, 1997 during Cup qualifying after the most recent repaving at the 1.5-mile facility located south of downtown Atlanta.

“We’re over a year away and we won’t know what the rules package will be for the Cup cars so there’s no way of predicting how fast the speeds will be but we expect them to be quick again,” said Clark. “I remember you could hear a pin drop in the garage after Geoffrey made his lap.”

Not pleasant news to some

Clark adds he knows not everyone will be happy with this announcement.

“One thing I know I’ll have to do is stay away from Carl Edwards,” Clark said with a smile. “Every time I see Carl, whether it’s at the track or in a restaurant somewhere the first thing he says is ‘don’t you touch the track’, but we have reached a point where we had to do something and hopefully Carl will still love our track.”

Once repaving is finished in the spring, Clark added they’ll begin ‘conditioning’ the track.

“It seems like the thing to do now with a resurfacing project is to make the new surface old as quickly as possible,” Clark said. “One thing is for sure, we’re going to do everything we can to ensure the fans will see the great racing and close finishes they’ve come to expect at AMS after we finish this project.”    

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