For those who like making continuous left-hand turns, it’s the place to be. One of the oldest stops on the NASCAR circuit, the Atlanta Motor Speedway, held its first race on this day in 1960. A crowd of 25,000 watched Glenn “Fireball” Roberts ride to victory lane.
The racetrack was built in the wake of the first running of the Daytona 500 in 1959. Convinced that Atlanta could succeed as well, a group of real estate developers, led by Garland Bagley, built the 1.5 mile track 25 miles south of Atlanta in Hampton. The speedway struggled with financial problems until 1990, when Bruton Smith turned what was then the Atlanta International Raceway into a state of the art racing facility. Legendary driver Dale Earnhardt holds the track record with nine victories there in his storied career.
One of the most popular raceways in the country held its first race on July 31, 1960, Today in Georgia History.
Today in Georgia History is a joint collaboration of the Georgia Historical Society & Georgia Public Broadcasting.