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

Atlanta Motor Speedway hosts race #5 of the season in the “Chase for the Cup” — on a new spring weekend — 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:

  • NCS, XFINITY, & NGOTS Practice on Friday, March 13, 2019.

  • NCS Qualifying, NGOTS 200-mile race and XFINITY Series 250-mile race on Saturday, March 14.

  • The BIG race, the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500, is on Sunday, March 15.

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!

2020 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 12 years old and under on Friday and Saturday. $10 for kids 12 & under on Sunday.

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Bring the whole family

Sunday’s race starts at 2 PM and is preceded by a pre-race concert staring platinum-selling Country star Chris Lane. Find more information here.

Before the race you can visit the FAN ZONE with vendors, booths, samples, kids zone, displays, etc, and visit the pits!!

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!!

If you miss this opportunity, don’t worry – just a hop, skip, and jump away is Charlotte Motor Speedway with great family fun. Read about this NASCAR experience here!

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Cost for the races

Tickets to Friday’s practice and Saturday’s qualifying and double header are FREE for kids under 12 years old!!

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

Also FREE…parking!

Concerned about Georgia’s freaky weather and the kids? No worries! The SMI Weather Guarantee says if weather postpones a NASCAR race held at a Speedway Motorsports, Inc. Speedway, includingAtlanta Motor Speedway, and a ticket holder fan is unable to attend on the rescheduled date, the SMI Weather Guarantee provides such fans a ticket credit toward a future NASCAR race at any of the SMI Speedways.

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 CVB’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 EARLY to ensure you get a room! You can find a great list of options on the Henry County CVB website.

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. The weather 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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