With NASCAR celebrating its 75th anniversary this season, there was little doubt which race at Atlanta Motor Speedway would be recognized. The 1992 season-ending race at the track is considered by many to be the greatest NASCAR race of all time.
The race will be the focus of several events before the Ambetter Health 400 at AMS on March 19 as a look back at the history of the sport. Richard Petty, Jeff Gordon and Bill Elliott will be on the AMS Fan Stage together to share their memories. Retired AMS president Ed Clark will moderate the forum, which will be held at 1:15 p.m. ahead of the 3 p.m. race start time.
The 1992 finale, on Nov. 15, was Petty’s last race as a competitor and Gordon’s first in NASCAR’s top series. It was the 1,184th start for Petty and the first of what would turn out to be 805 starts for Gordon, both Hall of Famers.
The race was won by Elliott amid an incredibly narrow title fight with the late Alan Kulwicki, who claimed the season title over Elliott by only 10 points. Kulwicki won the championship because he led one more lap than Elliott, picking up five bonus points. Kulwicki became the first owner/driver to win the series championship since Rex White in 1960.
“We felt that it was a great opportunity, as we celebrate with NASCAR 75 phenomenal years, to just go back to one of the most iconic races in Atlanta Motor Speedway history,” AMS Executive Vice President and General Manager Brandon Hutchison told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Fans attending the Ambetter Health 400 weekend can see cars from all eras of NASCAR, including the No. 43 car that Petty drove in that final NASCAR start at AMS 31 years ago, courtesy of the Petty Museum. It will be on display at the Bootleggers area, which sits atop Turn 4.
“It didn’t end the race in the same shape it started the race,” Hutchinson said.
Also on display will be the No. 22 car that Red Byron drove in the sport’s early days and Elliott’s No. 11 from 1992, courtesy of the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame.
Tickets are still available for the events Saturday and Sunday of race weekend. The Craftsman Truck Series Fr8 208 and the Xfinity Series Raptor King of Tough 250 races will be held Saturday. The Ambetter Heath 400 NASCAR race will be held Sunday. Tickets for kids are free Saturday and $10 on Sunday.
“We are about as affordable entertainment as you will find in the city of Atlanta,” Hutchinson said.
The Craftsman Truck Series autograph session will return that Saturday. The morning of the Fr8 208 race, Truck Series drivers will be signing autographs in front of the AMS Fan Stage. The event returns for the first time since 2019.
Start your engines
SAG Award-winning actor and producer Jesse Metcalfe, who will appear in Amazon Prime Video’s coming film “On a Wing and a Prayer,” will give drivers the command to start their engines for the Ambetter Health 400.
What’s new at AMS
New to AMS this year is the Peach Park, a walking park as part of the infield, offering those staying the weekend a place to relax. The Peach Pit also will return as a weekend party spot.
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