With the announcement of NASA’s new dual-championship schedule, racers in the East who want to bag a title now will have a much shorter drive than they did in 2013. The first venue to play host to NASA’s Eastern States Championships will be Road Atlanta, which is located in Braselton, Ga., just an hour away from downtown Atlanta and not far from Atlanta’s main reservoir and aquatic playground, Lake Sidney Lanier.

NASA Southeast is the host region for the 2014 Eastern States Championships.
NASA Southeast is the host region for the 2014 Eastern States Championships.

History

Road Atlanta came into being in 1969 when Earl Walker, David Sloyer and Arthur Montgomery bought a piece of farmland outside of Braselton, Ga., to develop as a road racing track. The 2.54-mile course hosted its first race in 1970 and has long been a venue for multiple significant pro and amateur races, including the famed Petit Le Mans that was the final race ever for the American Le Mans Series in 2013. Former Road Atlanta owner Don Panoz brought the track up to FIA standards in 1996 to host more major races by adding a chicane to reduce speeds in the remarkably tricky Turn 12 downhill section leading onto the front straight and also eliminating a treacherous feature called The Dip. Other than that, the track has remained true to its original design. However, even though the big fast drop has been tamed a bit, the course is still a tricky beast full of big elevation changes, blind corners and very high-speed stretches.

Built in 1969, the 2.54-mile Road Atlanta hosted its first race in 1970 and has long been a venue for multiple significant pro and amateur races, including the famed Petit Le Mans that was the final race ever for the American Le Mans Series in 2013.
Built in 1969, the 2.54-mile Road Atlanta hosted its first race in 1970 and has long been a venue for multiple significant pro and amateur races, including the famed Petit Le Mans that was the final race ever for the American Le Mans Series in 2013.

Getting There

Getting to Road Atlanta is remarkably easy by air because Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is one of the most serviced and busiest hubs in the country. Delta is the major carrier at Hartsfield-Jackson, but nearly all other nationwide airlines service the airport. The track is about an hour’s drive from the airport and is easily accessible from Interstate 85, which is one of the major arteries connecting the Southeast with the rest of the nation, so access to Road Atlanta is easy and convenient.

Staying There

When you head to Road Atlanta, there are plenty of options for lodging, ranging from luxurious to humble. At the exits near the track off I-85 and I-985 in Braselton or Oakwood, respectively, there are some serviceable chain hotels, but you can really live it up by staying at the four-star Chateau Élan in Braselton. Built by Don Panoz, Chateau Élan features such niceties as an in-house spa, seven restaurants and even its own vineyard. There is also the option to camp out in the paddock and enjoy the usual fun that is always present at a big NASA weekend like the Championships.

Signature-Winery
Chateau Élan features such niceties as an in-house spa, seven restaurants and even its own vineyard.
Chateau Élan features such niceties as an in-house spa, seven restaurants and even its own vineyard.
Mall of Georgia Interior 5 Copy of Histcthscopy_large
Road Atlanta is located close to other historical features and attractions. If you bring your family and they get bored at the track, there are other things for them to do.
Road Atlanta is located close to other historical features and attractions. If you bring your family and they get bored at the track, there are other things for them to do.

Eating There

Road Atlanta is near two good-size cities, Braselton and Flowery Branch, so there are plenty of the usual national dining options available from fast food to sit-down fare like Chili’s or Cracker Barrel, which are not too far away from the track. Local favorites include La Parrilla in Flowery Branch for Mexican food and Jeffrey’s Sports Grill for more traditional fare.

Driving There

Road Atlanta is a hilly rollercoaster with major climbs that strain the low- horsepower cars and huge drops that make the pit of your stomach slam into the floorboard. You can read the instructional story on how to get around the track quickly elsewhere in this issue. It is very similar in feel to Virginia International Raceway or Sonoma Raceway out west. Turn 1 leads you into a big climb that tops out at Turn 7 where you slingshot around into a nice, long run with the throttle pinned until the chicane at Turn 10A slows you down. You then have a nearly blind drop under the bridge and into Turn 12. As you hang on for dear life coming down the hill, you need to carefully manage your speed and trajectory to keep your fenders off the wall and your velocity at its maximum as you rocket toward the start/finish stripe.

As for services, there are plenty of local auto parts stores along Winder Highway, and the Eastern States Championships will have the usual array of tire and other service providers in attendance. The Atlanta metro area is also not too far away, so nearly everything you might need is within easy reach.

The NASA Eastern States Championships presented by Toyo Tires will take place August 28-31, 2014, so get your plans in place now to make sure you don’t miss out on some good ol’ Southern hospitality Road Atlanta style.

There are supplemental rules for the Championships at Road Atlanta. Download them here: http://www.nasaproracing.com/nationals/Regs_East_Champs2014.pdf
There are supplemental rules for the Championships at Road Atlanta. Download them here:
http://www.nasaproracing.com/nationals/Regs_East_Champs2014.pdf
Road Atlanta rules stipulate long pants only in the hot pits.
Road Atlanta rules stipulate long pants only in the hot pits.

The Facts

Road Atlanta

5300 Winder Highway

Braselton, Georgia 30517

800-849-RACE

www.roadatlanta.com

La Parrilla Mexican Restaurant

3446 Winder Hwy.

Flowery Branch, GA 30542

770-297–0811

www.laparrilla.com

Jeffrey’s Bar and Grill

6332 Grand Hickory Drive

Braselton, GA 30517

770-967-8377

www.jeffreyssportsbars.com

Stonewall’s Barbecue

6072 Hwy. 53, Suite K

Braselton, GA 30517

706-824-9990

www.stonewallsbbq.com

Chateau Élan Resort

100 Rue Charlemagne

Braselton, GA 30517-2207

678-425-0900

www.chateauelan.com

Quality Inn

3469 Mundy Mill Rd.

Oakwood, GA 30566

770-287-1000

http://www.qualityinn.com/hotel-oakwood-georgia-GA124?source=gglocalai1

Jameson Inn-Oakwood

3780 Merchants Way

Oakwood, GA 30566

770-533-9400

www.jamesoninns.com

Hampton Inn & Suites Flowery Branch

4660 Holland Dam Rd.

Flowery Branch, GA 30542

770-965-0357

http://hamptoninn3.hilton.com/en/hotels/georgia/hampton-inn-and-suites-flowery-branch-GVLFBHX/index.html

Holiday Inn Express Braselton

2069 Georgia 211

Braselton, GA 30517

770-867-8100

http://www.ihg.com/holidayinnexpress/hotels/us/en/braselton/bsega/hoteldetail?cm_mmc=GoogleMaps-_-ex-_-USEN-_-bsega

Country Inn & Suites by Carlson

925 Georgia 124

Braselton, GA 30517

770-868-5419

http://www.countryinns.com/braseltonga

Best Western Braselton Inn

303 Zion Church Rd.

Braselton, GA 30517

706-654-3081

http://book.bestwestern.com/bestwestern/US/GA/Braselton-hotels/BEST-WESTERN-Braselton-Inn/Hotel-Overview.do?propertyCode=11101&cm_mmc=PTI-_-local-_-feed-_-11101

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Images courtesy of Brett Becker, Google Earth, Chateau Elan and Explore Gwinnet