Originally created 08/12/97

Indy Racing League adds $1 million race at Atlanta Motor Speedway



INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Indy cars will return to the Atlanta Motor Speedway next year for the first time since 1983.

The Indy Racing League on Monday announced a new race, the Atlanta 500 Classic, which will be run Aug. 29, 1998, and will offer a purse of more than $1 million.

It will be the second race in NASCAR country for the IRL, which last month drew more than 70,000 spectators at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and the third race this season on a 11/2 -mile oval owned by Speedway Motorsports Inc.

"We've had tremendously exciting IRL races this year at our company's tracks in Texas and Charlotte, and we think the Atlanta 500 Classic will be a truly great event," said Bruton Smith, Speedway Motorsports chairman.

The last Indy-car race in Atlanta was the 1983 season opener, won by Gordon Johncock. Nine other Indy races were run there from 1965-82, including five won by Rick Mears and three by Johnny Rutherford, who is now the IRL pace car driver.