If you’re a car fan who also enjoys gambling, then you’ve probably already considered traveling to Georgia for this October’s NASCAR race. The excitement of the sport combined with the allure of gambling in the Peach State have made it a popular destination over the years. And since 2004, fans have been able to wager on the race itself, along with many other sporting events, from college football to NBA basketball, at Atlanta’s newest casino, the Georgia World Speedway. But now, with the pandemic halting the world of sports, is it time for the Atlanta Motor Speedway to close its doors for the last time?
Quiet Since 2004
The Atlanta Motor Speedway originally opened its doors in October of 1973. For the first 20 years of its existence, the speedway’s oval track hosted NASCAR racing events. But since 2004, the track has been used mostly for concerts and other sports activities, like college football and basketball. It’s previously been reported that the track made a profit in excess of $8 million in 2011, which was roughly the same amount of money it lost in 2005. Between 2005 and 2011 the membership at the track dropped from 4,400 to just 2,000. As of 2015, there are no motorsports events being held there, and it currently sits dormant, awaiting future development.
A New Opportunity
With the closing of the Atlanta Motor Speedway comes the opportunity for a new beginning. The site has been dormant for nearly six years now, and with the right development, it could be transformed into a magnificent entertainment complex. In fact, in November of 2019, representatives from the city of Atlanta visited the site to view the progress of the project, which is being led by Speedway Rebuilds. The redevelopment plan includes a hotel, restaurants, shops, and a concert venue. The group also plans to install an 18-hole golf course on the property. They plan to begin construction this September and have the venue ready for guests by August of next year.
Road To The Future
The Atlanta Motor Speedway opened its doors on a small scale in October of 1973. Over the years, it has grown to host some of NASCAR’s biggest events, including the Cup Series and the Xfinity Series. Along with its sister track Talladega Superspeedway, it makes for one of the sport’s most historic venues. Although it may never recover from the pandemic, the Atlanta Motor Speedway is undoubtedly the heart and soul of NASCAR. It will be missed, but its impact on the sport will be remembered for years to come.