STATESVILLE, N.C. -- Georgia native Reed Sorenson returns to his native state this weekend as the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Dodge races on the 1.54-mile oval at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The track celebrates its 100th Sprint Cup race this ...
STATESVILLE, N.C. -- Georgia native Reed Sorenson returns to his native state this weekend as the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Dodge races on the 1.54-mile oval at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The track celebrates its 100th Sprint Cup race this weekend. It opened as Atlanta International Raceway - a 1-5-mile oval - in 1960 before Speedway Motorsports reconfigured it to a 1.54-mile quad-oval while swapping the front stretch and backstretch in 1997. Petty and Crew Chief Dale Inman teamed for six wins at Atlanta and have lots of Atlanta memories.
REED SORENSON-- "Racing in front of my friends and a bunch of family is pretty cool. You always want to do well, but yeah, winning at Atlanta would be a dream come true. But right now we just want to run well. Don't get me wrong I'll do anything to win one of these races and this weekend would be a great time to get that first one."
DALE INMAN - "We won six times there so I guess those were my best six memories of At lanta. But one of the big moments (April 2, 1967) was when Curtis Turner had his big wreck there in Smokey's (Yunick) No. 13 car during practice. Curtis had a Chevelle, I think, and of course he had plenty of motor in it. I guess he lost it in turn three and came all the way around and then started flipping end-over end and side-over-side down pitlane. There was a bunch of us who just happened to be standing there. I saw the car coming and just ran like heck. That car landed about two feet from me after it stopped flipping. The other memory is Richard's last race in 1992. There was a time in my life when I thought he would race forever so that final race was pretty tough. We knew it was all coming to an end. Of course we got in a wreck that day, caught on fire. Richard pulled the car to a stop and asked the fireman to "please put out the fire." We had some great moments there winning those races but the sad race was that last one."
RICHARD PETTY: "One time we went down there, I think it was in the 1970s, we practiced only four laps then we went and qualified. It was just one of them perfect races. We didn't prac tice, we didn't do anything and we just went out there and won the race. Atlanta was the place where I finally won enough money in my career to pass the $1 million-dollar mark. I was the first NASCAR driver to ever do that. Remember, that took winning over 100 races to earn that much money. That was a real big deal back then. Atlanta when it was configured like it used to be was one of the racetracks where you could run the top, middle or bottom. Atlanta wasn't one of our luckier races. We won about six races there but we ran a lot better than our record shows there. I always remember that back then it seemed like it rained in Atlanta no matter when they had it. We even raced in Atlanta back before the Daytona July race and it rained then as well."
Sorenson will drive a new chassis this weekend.