Your Complete Guide to Georgia’s Kid-Friendly NASCAR Race Weekend

Atlanta Motor Speedway hosts race #2 of the season in the “Chase for the Cup” — right after the legendary Daytona 500 — and this Georgia event is SUPER kid-friendly and full of FREE fun!

nascar ams

All photos courtesy of Atlanta Motor Speedway unless otherwise noted

Not familiar? Here’s the low-down.

AMS’ NASCAR weekend hosts:

  • Qualifying on Friday, March 3, 2017.
  • A double-header on Saturday with the Camping World Truck Series Active Pest Control 200 truck racing and the XFINITY Series Rinni 250 race featuring the rising stars of NASCAR.
  • The BIG race, the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500, is on Sunday, March 5, 2017.

 

Look, there are a lot of stereotypes about NASCAR fans. We’ve all seen the jokes. But NASCAR is really for everyone…young and old, rich and poor, black and white, men and women. If you’ve been to a race before, you know this. If you haven’t – then it’s time to give it a try!

2017 is a great year for families because there is SO MUCH fun for kids, and because there are free and reduced price tickets for kids under 17 years old.

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Bring the whole family

Sunday’s race starts at 2:30 PM and is preceded by a pre-race concert with Josh Turner at 1PM.

Before the race you can visit the FAN ZONE with vendors, booths, samples, kids zone, displays, etc, and visit the pits!! Jimmie Johnson will have a special kiddo event that morning, too! Lots to see and do!

FAN ZONE is open all weekend Friday – Sunday, and it’s FREE for everyone. The KidZone will include RC and video car racing…I’m guessing our kids will beat us every time!

There will also be military aircrafts on display, the Folds of Honor Stage with national recording artists, driver autograph sessions – and again, it’s ALL FREE!!

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Cost for the races

Tickets to Friday’s qualifying race and Saturday’s double header are FREE for kids under 17 years old!!

Tickets to Sunday’s big race are only $10 for kids 12 and under.  That’s awesome!

Parents, your best bang-for-the-buck is the Jimmie Johnson Q&A package on Sunday. First, you get to Q&A with Jimmie. That’s awesome! But the $48 Jimmie Johnson ticket also includes seats for Sunday’s race!

Also included in a kids ticket is an interactive learning program about the science of racing, led by an expert from NASA, where NASCAR’s youngest fans will get the lowdown on what makes race cars so fast. Plus, a complimentary kids coloring book will keep them occupied when they’re not at the track.

THIS JIMMIE JOHNSON OFFER EXPIRES IN FEBRUARY so get on it!!

Adult ticket packages for the entire weekend start as low as $79. For all the packages and discount details, see the ticket specials page on the AMS website.

Also FREE…parking!

Concerned about Georgia’s freaky weather and the kids? No worries! They also have a “Perfect Race Weather Guarantee” that says that if the maximum high temperature for Saturday or Sunday’s race fails to reach at least 50 degrees in Hampton and you don’t use your ticket (it isn’t scanned) you can request a credit for the total value of the ticket that can be used towards future AMS events or NASCAR weekends.

Photo courtesy of Josh Turner

Photo courtesy of Josh Turner

Details on Josh Turner

Multi-platinum country artist Josh Turner will headline the pre-race party on Sunday afternoon. The full-length concert on the AMS frontstretch begins at 1 p.m. as part of the pre-race festivities leading up to the scheduled green flag at 2:30 p.m.

This concert is FREE if you have tickets to Sunday’s race!

If you want stage access to the concert PLUS Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver introductions then look into a pre-race pass…or splurge on the pre-race pit pass which gives you  the ability to tour the pit area and photograph the 40-car field up-close and personal prior to the start of the race! WOW!

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Make it a weekend!

Perfect! That’s what our family is doing, too.

Join the fun of camping at the speedway. Options include infield locations, reserved and non-reserved areas outside the Speedway and campsites overlooking the Speedway. Checkout the website for more details.

Looking for a comfy bed, a private bathroom, and a little cable TV? Try a stay at one of Henry County’s awesome hotels. There are a number of hotels with expanded suites that work well for families…Courtyard by Marriott, Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites, Country Inn & Suites, Home2 Suites and more…

Here’s the trick though..book EARLY to ensure you get a room! You can find a great list of options on the Henry County website. 

Just hanging out at Kyle Busch's car. No biggie (OMG!!!) #FOHQT500 #NASCAR #nascaronfox #visithenrycoga #GaFamilyTravel

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Tips from a NASCAR mom

OK, maybe calling myself a NASCAR mom is a bit of a stretch…but I am experienced at attending a NASCAR event at Atlanta Motor Speedway! With that, I want to give you a few tips, tricks and heads up ideas about our visit in hopes of making your visit smooth sailing!

    • If you’ve seen the website, you’ll notice that coolers and food/drinks are allowed inside the race track. That is a GOD SEND! Take advantage of that and bring all those things only your kiddos like to eat – it’s especially helpful for picky eaters. You can also sneak some healthy food in and make them “required eating” before splurging on that giant pretzel or Italian ice! Note: Coolers must be 14x14x14 or smaller.
    • Tailgating is where it’s at! We saw families scattered around the parking lots a good 5 hours before the start of the race…warming up their grills, chatting up their neighbors, throwing around the football. Take advantage of the FREE parking and FanZone, and make it a full day of fun.
    • Bring cash. Only a few places accepted credit cards, and about mid-day the ATM machines were empty. Be prepared by stopping for cash before you get there.
    • Wear layers. March in Georgia is finicky; one moment it’s freezing and the next it is warm. As the sun moves across the stands, it can change from moment to moment. Bring layers for the kids and yourself…from t-shirts to sweatshirts.
    • Finding a hotel can be tricky during race time. You don’t have to stay right near the track for a great adventure. We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott in McDonough, which was just about 25 minutes from the track. We liked it because it was located right in the heart of all the shops and restaurants in the area, and it had an indoor pool for the kids. Multiple camping options are available if you want to go that route, too!

    • If you’re going up early, I recommend having dinner at 15th Street Pizza. Great pizza – incredible LOCAL beer selections…and a wonderful outdoor space for giving the kids a little “breathing room.” We enjoyed playing corn hole while waiting on our pizza, too!
    • Don’t forget ear protection for the kids. Those cars are loud…in fact, I’d say to bring some for yourself as well. We gave our kids foam earplugs, and then also covered them with the headset from FanVision for extra protection.

  • Speaking of FanVision, this is something worth splurging on! The kids picked their three favorite racers, and they could hear the drivers and pit crew AND see the racing action from inside the car…all on a little tablet-like device. We were able to use a single device with multiple headsets, too. Tip: Reserve your device ahead of time and save some dough!

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