How Big Is The Atlanta Motor Speedway? [Facts!]

The Atlanta Motor Speedway is located in Hampton, Georgia and is one of the biggest Speedway tracks in the United States. The current track length is a bit over a mile and a quarter long, which makes it the shortest NASCAR track. Although the speedway opened its gates back in 1939, it was only the second-ever paved track in the sport. That means that the track’s original designers had to improvise a lot to make sure that the cars could still race at breakneck speeds. Today, the track is best known for its unique blend of nostalgia and pop culture references. Moreover, many consider the speedway to be the birthplace of NASCAR. Therefore, it is not surprising that the track draws huge crowds every week. In fact, according to Guinness World Records, the track had the fifth-largest attendance in all of sports in 2015.

The Track’s Short Length

Although the Atlanta Motor Speedway is the shortest of the NASCAR tracks, that does not mean that it is least prominent. To put it into perspective, the shortest NASCAR track, Darlington, SC, is only a fourth of a mile longer than Hampton’s equivalent. This difference in length makes a noticeable difference in how the cars perform. As mentioned, the original designers of the Atlanta track had to make some key changes to account for its short length. Not only does it lack the grandstands that are commonplace at other tracks, but it also has fewer seats. This results in a more intimate atmosphere, which has made it popular with drivers and fans alike.

Nostalgia-Laced Entertainment

With the notable exception of NASCAR events, the Atlanta Motor Speedway rarely offers up nostalgic memories for those who attend the track. That is not to say that there aren’t any moments that draw from the track’s rich history, but it appears that the team behind the scenes have done their best to avoid flooding the venue with references to the golden era of auto racing. For those who have vivid memories of the 1940s and ‘50s, these references can sometimes come off a little jarring. This may be because the track itself was only built in 1939, and the majority of the cars that it hosts were not built until later. Nevertheless, there are some exceptions, such as the Richard Petty Collection, which pays homage to the late, great Richard Petty.

The Popularity Of Nostalgia

It would be a gross oversight to characterize all of the tracks in the NASCAR universe as equal. There is a lot of variation when it comes to amenities, atmosphere, and overall popularity. While it is true that all of the tracks are independently owned and operated, it is not necessarily the case that all of them are created equal. The Atlanta Motor Speedway is a case in point. It is the rarest of the rare instances when a venue truly embodies the spirit of nostalgia, while still being a functional racetrack. The Richard Petty Collection at the speedway pays homage to one of the most prolific and popular drivers of all time. Moreover, it serves as a reminder of a simpler time, when the tracks were less accommodating and the drivers had to earn their keep. For diehard NASCAR fans, it is the ultimate toy box of all time, filled with rare and exciting cars from the 1950s and ‘60s. Whether or not you remember the golden era of the sport, it is hard to deny that the Atlanta Motor Speedway offers up a unique nostalgia-laced experience that is second to none.

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