Thursday, August 5, 2010
Atlanta Motor Speedway will give up one of its two Sprint Cup dates for the 2011 season, track officials announced Thursday. The move opens the door for Kentucky Speedway to claim a Cup race.
Atlanta will keep its Labor Day race weekend on Sept. 2-4 but will lose its March race weekend.
According to an Associated Press report, the track's owner Speedway Motorsports Inc. will give a Cup race to Kentucky Speedway in July. Kentucky Speedway has scheduled a press conference for Tuesday, when the announcement is expected to be made. On Thursday, the speedway's website said, "Big news coming in 5 days!" with the Sprint Cup Series logo in the background.
Atlanta has hosted two Cup dates since 1960. The track hosted its inaugural Labor Day race weekend last year when the events were moved up from the traditional October date.
"Atlanta Motor speedway has provided top-quality racing entertainment to spectators from across the nation and around the world for 50 years," said speedway President Ed Clark. "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."
The Labor Day weekend Cup event drew one of the biggest crowds in years at Atlanta. The spring date has suffered from declining ticket sales.
"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."
What do you think about Atlanta losing a Cup date? Are you upset to see it go? Or excited about Kentucky getting a Cup race? Let us know in the comments below.
Photo: Kyle Busch stands on his racecar after winning the March 2008 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. (Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)