Local NASCAR historian Gordon Pirkle said the loss of Atlanta Motor Speedway’s spring race will not only affect Georgia fans but businesses as well.
“It’s a huge, huge loss for Georgia,” Pirkle said. “It’s sad for local fans, but it’s also going to affect our economy, with the money that race brought in from travelers.”
Last week, officials with Atlanta Motor Speedway announced in a news release that the facility will not have its traditional March event beginning in 2011.
The 1.5 mile oval track will still hold the annual Labor Day race, but it will be the only remaining Cup event held there.
The Labor Day date is a fairly recent addition to the park’s lineup, being held there for its second year.
Atlanta Motor Speedway President Ed Clark said in a statement that the park “remains one of the drivers’ favorite tracks and we will continue to build a platform that sets this one date apart from the rest.”
Pirkle said the Labor Day race has indeed been “a huge success.”
One of the issues, he said, with the other races is their placement on the calendar.
“Part of the problem is they got all the bad dates,” Pirkle said. “March is always bad weather. It’s either raining or cold, then the fall race is usually too hot.”
An announcement is expected this week about where the spring race will be held, while there is speculation about the event moving to Kentucky Speedway.
Pirkle said Atlanta has been struggling for some time with its spring race, so it comes as no real surprise.
“We’ve been expecting this for a while,” he said. “It’s still a shame.”
Clark stated that the facility will continue its “commitment to the racing fans who have been the heart and soul of Atlanta Motor Speedway through these years.”