USAC bails, NASCAR steps in at Atlanta

Friday, June 30, 1961 – The Festival 250, a 250-mile USAC-sanctioned race scheduled for July 9 at Atlanta International Raceway, was cancelled due to tire concerns and risks associated with competing on the high-banked layout. As a result of the cancellation, track officials were able to obtain a race for NASCAR’s top series to be run on the same date instead.

Firestone officials expressed concern over track temperatures which reached almost 140 degrees when Indy veteran Dick Rathman made laps around the year-old speedway. The tire maker said it had been unable to complete necessary tire tests previously because of paving work taking place at the track. The two tire combinations eventually tested proved to be suitable for the open-wheel cars on the fast, banked speedway.

Atlanta officials said they had done everything they were asked of USAC to prepare of the race, including modifications to the relatively new track.

NASCAR agreed to step in and run an event on the same day with its Grand National series and featuring a purse of not less than $30,000.

The addition gave the series 52 races for the ’61 season.

In 2001, CART officials called off a race at Texas Motor Speedway due to concerns over extraordinary speeds and excessive G forces.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *