NASCAR Heads To Atlanta Looking Forward and Backward

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, March 13 2023

Atlanta Motor Speedway provided its share of action in last year’s Cup Series race. (File photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

The NASCAR circuit rolls into Georgia this weekend for a tripleheader on Atlanta Motor Speedway’s revised “Baby Daytona” layout. 

Last season’s highly-successful debut on the 1.5-mile oval provided plenty of drafting and high drama from the intial green flag until the checkered flag waved. 

With NASCAR commemorating its 75th anniversary this season, choosing the greatest race staged at the speedway located just south of Atlanta is a simple task. The 1992 Hooters 500 is regarded as one of the most important races in the history of the sport.

Six drivers – Davey Allison, Bill Elliott, Alan Kulwicki, Harry Gant, Kyle Petty and Mark Martin – entered the 1992 season finale with a mathematical chance to be crowned Winston Cup champion. 

A packed house was on-hand to witness a changing of the guard with the sport’s all-time winningest driver, Richard Petty, calling it a career on the same day an up-and-coming driver named Jeff Gordon was making his debut in NASCAR’s Cup Series. 

But all eyes were focused on the six pack of championship-eligible drivers when the green flag was displayed to send the field off on a 328 lap journey around the 1.5-mile pure oval. 

The race was won by Georgia native Elliott in an incredibly narrow championship battle with the late Kulwicki, who claimed the season title over Elliott by a scant 10 points. Kulwicki won the championship because he led one more lap than Elliott, which awarded the Wisconsin native five bonus points.

Kulwicki became the first owner/driver to win the series championship since Rex White achieved the same feat in 1960.  

Sunday’s Ambetter Health 400 at Atlanta Motor Speedway will include a look back at the history of the sport during pre-race ceremonies. 

Richard Petty, Jeff Gordon and Elliott are scheduled to appear on the AMS Fan Stage together to share their memories of the Atlanta oval. 

AMS president Ed Clark will moderate the forum, which will start at 1:15 p.m. ET. 

The green flag will drop on Sunday’s 400-miler shortly after 3 p.m. ET.

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, March 13 2023
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