Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS) is one of the six original tracks in the NASCAR racing empire. Built in 1960, and renovated several times since, AMS boasts some of the top speeds in racing as restrictor plates are not required on the cars. The facility can hold upwards of 116,000 race fans in its grandstand and infield areas. In addition to its race oriented facilities, AMS also has 45 luxury condominiums and 137 luxury suites. The Atlanta Motor Speedway is located in Hampton, Georgia which is approximately 25 miles south of Atlanta and only 15 miles south of Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
AMS hosts one major NASCAR Sprint Cup each year, the QuikTrip Folds of Honor 500, but the track is busy almost every weekend with a variety of racing competitions. These include the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Friday night drag racing, truck races and speed tests for cars in development. The Richard Petty Driving Experience is a unique opportunity to give the general public a chance to drive a car around the track at near race speeds (only after instruction by trained professionals). The track has also hosted concerts, the state fair, and a Christmas light show. Atlanta Motor Speedway also served as a shelter for thousands of people in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
NASCAR is not known for providing a gourmet dining experience. Unless you are in a corporate suite utilizing the track's exclusive caterer, you can expect the usual stadium fare. The food stands line the entire concourse area underneath the grandstands so your view of the race will be limited to the TV monitors lining the area. You can expect to find softs drinks ($4 - all Coca-Cola products, you are in Atlanta, after all), water ($4), turkey legs ($9), chicken tenders w/fries ($8), Philly cheesesteak ($7), Italian sausage ($7), nachos ($6), hot dogs ($5), peanuts ($4), pretzels ($4), popcorn ($3), and beer ($6 for domestic brands and $8 for imported brands). The infield area of the track offers these same selections at the same prices.
A major consideration in the food and beverage section is that you are allowed to bring in your own food (only limitations are that it must not include any glass containers and must be able to fit in a 14"x14"x14" cooler). If you are in a camping area overlooking the track, in the infield or in an RV your food/drink options are whatever you choose to bring. There are some pretty amazing set ups for NASCAR's version of tailgating. Camping or staying in an RV can save you a tremendous amount of money and time waiting in the concession or restroom lines.
In a facility designed to handle more than 100,000 fans you have a wide variety of seating options to choose from. A vast majority of the seating is found in the grandstands, which are all situated along the finish line/pit row side of the track. The grandstands are named for various members of the racing elite such as Elliott, Earnhardt, and Petty and feature separate entrances and concessions.
Once you enter through the concourse into the stands overlooking the track you will find two tiers of seating. The rule of thumb is the closer the seats are to the track the less expensive they are. These lower priced seats feature bench seating with seatbacks and can range in price from $39-$69 depending on what section of the track you are on. Beginning with the 26th row, you move into another price range ($69-$99) which also provides you with individual seating in a cushioned chair.
If you are interested in an elevated, climate-controlled experience for enjoying the race, 1,000 seats are available in Club One. These seats are on the upper level of the track, feature theatre style seating and have their own designated concession area in the rear, and go for $300 a seat.
One thing to remember when you are at a NASCAR race is that you will probably be standing up for 50% of the race. Wear comfortable shoes with good support.
NASCAR is one of the few sports where you can bring your seat and accommodations with you. AMS offers a wide variety of camping/RV options for fans. These options include infield locations, reserved and unreserved areas outside the speedway, and campsites overlooking the track. Probably the most unique (and priciest) option is the Trackside Terrace, where RVs park directly behind the fence/wall running around the track and provide full utility hookups. The Terrace area goes for $3,500 a day.
In addition to these seating areas, there are several other areas of the complex you will want to check out. These include the Richard Petty Garden which salutes "the King" of NASCAR and the main gift shop which carries an unbelievable amount of souvenirs for both NASCAR and individual drivers.
One "must do" at AMS is a visit to the Fan Zone. This area features non-stop entertainment including concerts, NASCAR trivia contests, free giveaways from corporate sponsors, question and answer sessions with some of the NASCAR greats from the past, autograph sessions, interactive games, and driving simulators. It can best be described as a state fair midway, NASCAR style.
NASCAR facilities as a rule are located away from heavily populated areas due to the noise, the huge crowds and the need for a huge amount of property for parking and support facilities. AMS is no exception to this rule, as it is located in the small town of Hampton, located 30 miles south of Atlanta. The vast majority of services will be found in the Lovejoy area (three miles north of the track) or in the Griffin area (20 miles south of the track).
Restaurants of note within five miles of the track include Bay Breeze, the Finish Line Café, Grand Stand Bar and Grill, and a wide variety of fast food locations. These restaurants can all be found in the Hampton/Lovejoy area.
Hotel and motel choices include Country Inn and Suites, Ramada Limited and Holiday Inn Express and Suites. These hotels are in the Griffin area.
You will find that a vast majority of NASCAR fans prefer to camp or stay in their RV on the Atlanta Motor Speedway grounds for the weekend, or travel down from Atlanta (30 miles) for the day. Another option is one of the many hotels servicing Atlanta's Hartsfield Jackson International Airport, which is only 15 miles away.
The attendance at AMS has seen a drop in the last few years mostly because a loss of one of its two Sprint Cup races (a Labor Day weekend event in the midst of the thick of the Sprint Points chase near the end of the season) due to the addition of new tracks to the NASCAR schedule. The AMS race is now at the beginning of the season in the less than favorable weather month of February. Expect the facility to be at around 80% of capacity.
Whatever is lost in attendance is more than made up by the fan fervor at the race. AMS has some of the loudest and most loyal race fans in the country. Just like other sports, they proudly wear the team colors (usually bearing their favorite driver's car number, car color scheme and the logos of his sponsors) and love to trash talk (in a good natured way) about competing drivers. They stand for long stretches of the race in support of their driver and to get a better view of the action on the track and in the pits.
While AMS fans are appreciative of any driver who shows great skill and is fan friendly on signing autographs, Dale Earnhardt, Jr is by far the fan favorite at this track. The roar when he takes the lead is noticeably louder than for any of the other drivers. You will also notice his team colors and number are predominant in the crowd.
NASCAR fans at AMS races also are a good natured bunch that look forward to seeing each other on an annual basis. There is a feeling of a family reunion, especially in the infield area, where RVers typically reserve the same spot each year so they can visit, eat, and share memories with their friends. They are also a patient bunch, as races are often delayed by an accident on the track or weather, and the traffic after the race is a nightmare.
There are a number of traditions at AMS that create a very fan friendly experience. In addition to the aforementioned Fan Zone, the pre-race period is filled with a short concert by a well-known band, a parade of all the drivers across the stage before they climb into their cars, and an always stirring rendition of the National Anthem with a salute to the military and a flyover by one of the service branch's planes. NASCAR is a uniquely American sport and it proudly wears red, white, and blue on its sleeve. Finally, as the race begins, a celebrity grand marshall rides in the pace car to get the race started.
Atlanta Motor Speedway is located 30 miles from downtown Atlanta, as the space required to hold a NASCAR race drawing more than 100,000 fans simply cannot be held within the city limits. There are three major routes to AMS from 1-75, the major north/south interstate in Georgia. Traveling south on I-75 (from the downtown Atlanta area) you would take exit 235 and take Highway 19/41 for 15 miles. You can also go further down I-75 and take exit 218, then go west on Highway 20 to the track. Coming north on I-75 (from Florida/Macon area) you would take exit 212 and go west on Highway 20.
Once you arrive at the track, you will have no problem finding parking (there are 800 acres of parking) and best of all it is free. Do not be daunted by the seemingly long distance over to the track. Trams will come by constantly to transport fans directly to the track entrance. One word of advice is come early and stay late, as there is no way to get 100,000 people in or out in a speedy fashion. You may decide to make a weekend out of it and camp or bring your RV to miss the traffic jam.
AMS is well designed as far as accessibility once you enter the facility. The concourses are wide and the restrooms are plentiful. One of the unique aspects of auto racing is that it is continuous in nature, so there are not the usual logjams that you would find at halftime or intermissions that are common in other sports. The exceptions to this are delays in racing while an accident is cleared from the track or inclement weather causes a stoppage in the race.
Handicap seating and parking are readily accessible. It is a good idea to call ahead and get a handicap pass to speed your way through parking and access to the elevators.
Atlanta Motor Speedway offers a wide variety of seating options, which can run from $3,500 for the Track Terrace all the way down to $39 for a lower tier grandstand seat. Since it is the lone Sprint Car event on the AMS schedule, the fans seem willing to pay the cost to enjoy their favorite sport.
Parking at AMS is free, a benefit that is not available at many other tracks. There is also no charge for the pre or post race entertainment, which often features some of Nashville's top talent.
The concession prices are comparable to most stadiums, arenas and other sports facilities, but you have the ability to bring in your own food and beverage, which is a major plus. As far as lodging, Atlanta area fans can make it a day trip and avoid the cost, while out of towners have the option of reasonably priced hotels and motels , or camping/RVing at the AMS facility itself. Because it offers so many options, we feel that Atlanta Motor Speedway earns a good return on investment.
NASCAR races cannot be held in certain weather conditions for safety reasons. Rainy weather or low temperatures may cause a race to be halted or postponed. AMS offers a Perfect Race Weather Guarantee. This means if the race is postponed to a later date, and you cannot attend on the new date, you will receive a credit to your account for a future race.
Atlanta Motor Speedway also offers fans two unique viewing experiences over and above the usual grandstand seating. The first is public suite seating in Club One, which is atop the Winners Grandstand. There are only 1,000 of these seats per race and they fill up quickly. For fans who want a view of the whole track there is a rooftop sight and sound observation deck which gives you a panoramic view of the track.
For fans who truly want an inside look into NASCAR racing, pre-race pit passes can be purchased, which allows you access to this very restricted area to see up close where the cars pull in for fuel and tire changes. A second option to get "into the race" in a personal way is the rental of a FanVision scanner. This device allows you to see into eight in-car cameras during the race, replays of important incidents on the track and constantly updated statistics on race position and speeds of specific cars.
Atlanta Motor Speedway is located in Hampton, Georgia, which is 20 miles south of downtown Atlanta. The track is home to the Advocare 500 and the Great Clips 300, which take place during Labor Day weekend.
Originally opened in 1960, Atlanta Motor Speedway was one of the original seven superspeedways to host a Cup race. The track didn't take off to new heights until 1990, though. Bruton Smith bought the track that year and made expansions to the grandstand, garages and even the start and finish line.
AMS is now one of the most popular tracks in all of NASCAR, and well over 100,000 fans come to the track during the Labor Day weekend to watch their favorite drivers secure a spot in the Chase for the Cup. How good is the experience for racing fans?
Very affordable tickets. AMS almost always has some type of deal to get good/ cheap tickets. Also a surprising amount to do pre-race so come early. Traffic is pretty bad getting out.
We have been to Atlanta a number of times but this was the first for the early season race. Even though it was comfortable it just did not feel like the race track from years ago.
Getting to the track is very easy--that is if you arrive before Friday-- but just coming over for race day is a headache. There are many cars turning off I75 so the best way is to get on highway 41 somewhere else and either come up or down 41.
There are some nice values in ticket prices at the track and the food selection was one of the better of any track visited.
We parked in a paid campground that was nice and since it was cold at night not much was going on during the evenings. If you come on race day, the free parking is not marked very well so be alert. Most of the cops will be directing you to the free parking as you get close to the track.
Leaving the track is another headache that can make a sane man cry. You might as well sit by the car for at least three hours after the race cause you are going nowhere. This has to be one of the worse traffic problems of all the tracks in NASCAR. The cops do there best around the property but on down the road is where the problems start.
Since the race is early the fans were caught up in the action. Perhaps it was the cool weather but it was one of the most polite and sober crowds I had ever witness. Needs a later starting date.
11440 Tara Blvd
Hampton, GA 30228
96 Woolsey Rd
Hampton, GA 30228
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115 E Greenwood Rd
McDonough, GA 30253