HAMPTON, Ga. – The track at Atlanta Motor Speedway was last resurfaced two decades ago and Tuesday, it was announced it will be repaved after the NASCAR race on March 5.
The new blacktop should be ready in time for the green flag for the 2018 race. To the casual observer, this might not seem like a big deal, it happens on the interstates all the time after all, but a new surface changes everything to a track which has become a driver favorite.
Atlanta Motor Speedway has the second oldest pavement on the tour. Goodyear, the official tire of NASCAR, is struggling to make a tire for the track that doesn’t last but for a few laps.
Kentucky Speedway recently repaved and got great reviews especially since the new surface retains some of the characteristic drivers love about racing at a place like AMS.
Believe it or not, AMS President Ed Clark said the track will be faster.
“Just be a newer surface. It’s going to be faster, more grip. And that will increase the speeds,” said Clark.
“If it works, then you know we’ll probably be seeing more of tracks imminent. Atlanta is such a cool track the way it is,” said Paul Menard, Driver #27 Chevy
“I understand things have to be done, but I don’t think Atlanta has to be repaved. I think it’s in great condition the way it is,” said Ryan Newman, Driver #31 Chevy.
“You know the surface is old, but it’s great for racing because the tires do wear out and it’s what the drivers have been wanting for so many years which is ‘tire fall off.’ We want us to go faster for a few laps, the tires fall off and then we slide around,” said Denny Hamlin, Driver #11 Toyota. “So, that is the old-school-type racing. It’s probably one of the last true race tracks like that.”
A lot of the older drivers liken driving on AMS’ track to driving around a “Hot Wheels Track” a kid may have found under their Christmas tree not too long ago. Drivers love the track because it is one where they can put their foot down on the pedal and not let up the whole way around. But they contend with only one race now in Atlanta, the middle of a race isn’t a good time to have the pothole patrol come out to repave or refinish the track.