Atlanta Motor Speedway officials have announced that the facility's 2011 event schedule will include one NASCAR racing weekend – Sept. 2-4 – next year. An announcement is set for Tuesday in Sparta, Ky., at which time it is expected that Kentucky Speedway officials will announce the track will take over Atlanta's Cup Series date for 2011. The 1.5-mile tri-oval halfway between Louisville and Cincinnati will host NASCAR's top series in early July. Like Atlanta, Kentucky Speedway is owned by Bruton Smith's Speedway Motorsports Inc.
One of the sport's original superspeedways, AMS has played host to two event weekends for 50 years, including the upcoming Emory Healthcare 500 slated for Sept. 5.
"Atlanta Motor Speedway has provided top-quality racing entertainment to spectators from across the nation and around the world for 50 years," speedway president Ed Clark said. "While our schedule will change, our commitment to the racing fans who have been the heart and soul of Atlanta Motor Speedway through these years will be stronger than ever. Our entire staff will be even more driven to produce the top annual sporting event in Georgia for many years to come."
AMS played host to its inaugural Labor Day racing weekend in 2009 when the events were moved forward on the schedule from the speedway's traditional October date. Atlanta's spring race has struggled in attendance in recent years.
"We were thrilled with the acquisition of the Labor Day date two years ago and are proud to host such a prestigious, historical date on the NASCAR schedule," Clark said. "This track produces some of the greatest racing the circuit sees, it remains one of the drivers' favorite tracks and we will continue to build a platform that sets this one date apart from the rest."
Speedway Motorsports Inc. purchased the speedway from the original ownership group in 2008. SMI owner Bruton Smith said his main goal was to bring the track a long-coveted Cup date. The original owners filed an antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR and International Speedway Corp., contending they tried to exclude the track from the Cup Series.
SMI owns eight tracks on the NASCAR schedule: Atlanta, Bristol, Charlotte, Infineon, Kentucky, Las Vegas, New Hampshire and Texas.