Atlanta Motor Speedway will host just one NASCAR Sprint Cup race in 2011. It marks the first time since the track opened in 1960 that it will not host two Cup events in a season.
The news came Thursday, and there was a last-ditch effort made by Governor Sonny Perdue to keep it -- and keep millions of dollars in Georgia.
Perdue was joined by Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle and House Speaker David Ralston in an emergency trip to Charlotte last week.
Governor Perdue spokesman Bert Brantley says the group told officials at stock car racing’s NASCAR headquarters that the race is a key economic driver for Georgia and the Hampton-area south of Atlanta:
“If there’s any way to keep this race in Atlanta, we all understand how important that is to us. Unfortunately it was just a business decision that the economics of the situation was just something we just couldn’t overcome.”
Racing officials are likely moving the race to the Kentucky Speedway in hopes of drawing more fans and revenue.
Atlanta Motor Speedway will still keep its well-attended and revenue-generating 500-mile Sprint Cup race on Labor Day weekend.
The 1.5-mile quad-oval is owned by Speedway Motorsports Inc., which recently submitted several scheduling requests to NASCAR.