HAMPTON - Eight days after the Folds of Honor/Quik Trip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS), NASCAR held its first Cup Series dirt track race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee, which converted from pavement to dirt over the off-season.

But while the cars were playing in the dirt at Bristol, AMS was getting ready to host its own dirt track race as Feld Entertainment Inc. brings the 2021 Monster Energy AMA Supercross series to Hampton for races on April 10, April 13, and April 17.

This week, workers are hauling an estimated 10,000 cubic yards of dirt onto the infield grass on the front straightaway at AMS in preparation for the races.

"Over the past two days we've been bringing in about 1,000 truckloads of dirt that is being dug out from speedway property north of the track (on Mt. Pleasant Road) and being brought in to the speedway infield," said Supercross Tour manager Bill Heras on April 6. "This is the first time ever in Atlanta Motor Speedway history, from what I understand, that they've ever had this much dirt brought into their infield. This is a new venture bringing all this dirt in and bringing Supercross to Atlanta Motor Speedway."

AMS joins a small list of venues in Atlanta to host Supercross dating back to 1977 at Fulton County Stadium. The April triple-header will be a first for the speedway and a first for the Atlanta market.

Heras said it will be unique for the competitors as well.

"Traditionally we're in stadiums, like Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta," he said. "So this is a little unique that we're doing it down here in Hampton at Atlanta Motor Speedway. We're excited about it. It will kind of be a little bit different kind of racing on a much bigger track than we're used to, with almost double the amount of dirt that we typically use. The track will be a little bit of a hybrid, where it won't be as tight as it would be inside a stadium. So we might see a little bit higher speeds and bigger jumps, which is always going to make the racing more exciting.

"The track is on the grass of the infield," Heras added. "It goes a little bit on the apron of the NASCAR track and a little bit is right on the edge of pit road. A lot of it is on the grass, and the way it is laid out, you can still see grass in between some of the track lanes. When the fans walk into the grandstands, it will definitely look pretty cool sitting out there."

The starting gate will be near the entrance to pit road coming out of Turn 4, and the finish line will be right across from the start/finish line for NASCAR races. The track continues almost to the exit from pit road near Turn 1.

"Today (Tuesday) they are finishing up shaping the track and the jumps and the turns, and we're starting to build some of our structures at the finish line and getting the start gate ready to go in," Heras said. "You'll see the foam blocks that are set out around the track to mark the track lanes. There are a bunch of guys out there trying to get this track ready for Saturday."

The final Supercross race is on Saturday, April 17, but Heras said most of the dirt will remain on the infield and be reshaped for Monster Jam on April 24-25. After that, said Heras, the dirt will be removed.

"When we're through with it, we'll truck the dirt back out to where we got it, put it back in and shape it so it looks like it was never disturbed, and then grass and weeds will grow back over it," he said. "Maybe next year we'll be back here again digging the same dirt back out again and building the track again."

Tickets for both the Monster Energy AMA Supercross races on April 10, 13 and 17, and Monster Jam on April 24-25 are still available at ticketmaster.com.

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Senior Reporter

I've worked in community newspapers for 30 years, including Editor of the Jackson Progress-Argus from 1993-1999. Started at Rockdale Citizen/Newton Citizen in January 2016. Started as Senior Reporter at the Jackson Progress-Argus in December 2019.

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