Atlanta Motor Speedway chief asks NASCAR for different race date

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Atlanta Motor Speedway President Ed Clark has filed a formal request with NASCAR to move his track’s Sprint Cup race date after just one year in its new place on the schedule.

Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president for racing operations, confirmed to NASCAR Talk on Saturday that the sanctioning body has received “a few” formal requests for date changes for the 2016 season.

While O’Donnell confirmed AMS is seeking a new race date, he would not identify the other tracks.

Clark told KickinTheTires.net that he is seeking to move his track’s reassigned date – which this year went from it’s previous spot on Labor Day weekend to the week after the Daytona 500 – to some time after the three-race West Coast swing at tracks in Las Vegas, Phoenix and Fontana, Calif., early in the season.

“Ideally, I’d like to be later and we’ve talked about that,” Clark said. “In an ideal world, I would love to see them go to the West Coast and come back to us.

“There are some blessings to being after Daytona, you are riding the momentum but you know the weather could be less than ideal. But, then again, it could be really nice. The day after the race it was 68-degrees.

“If I could handpick my dates, I would run the last week of April and the last week of September. They are beautiful weather conditions there. But we are roughly 120 miles from Talladega (in late October) and you can’t get those two events close together.”

AMS hosted Sprint Cup races on Labor Day weekend from 2009 through 2014, taking over after Auto Club Speedway hosted race that weekend from 2004-08.

Clark explained how his request for a date change to NASCAR came about.

“The way it works, they (NASCAR) send all the tracks a letter saying, ‘if you desire to change your date, we need to have a formal request back” so, I did that,” he said. “I didn’t ask for a specific date. I just asked NASCAR to look at it. Marcus (Smith, general manager) and Bruton (Smith, CEO) pretty much handle all of that but they knew I was doing it.”

Even though he has put in his request for a date change, Clark is also realistic of his chances.

“I just don’t see it happening,” he said. “If I had to tell you right now, I would say the odds are high that we will be where we were (on the schedule this year). But we have asked, in the formal process, for (NASCAR) to look at it.”

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