<
>

Speedway prez estimates damage at $25-40M

HAMPTON, Ga. -- The Atlanta Motor Speedway looks as if it
was in a high-speed crash after a tornado caused as much as $40
million in damage.

"Everything but the track surface has suffered some kind of
damage," said speedway president Ed Clark, who estimated damage of
$25 million to $40 million from the storm Wednesday night. "There
are some buildings that will have to be torn down."

Entire sections of the grandstand and luxury boxes are shredded.
Oak trees, flagpoles and light towers are snapped. On some of the
speedway's condominiums, the roof is caved in and windows are
shattered.

Every structure at the facility, which hosts NASCAR races and
smaller events, was roughed up by a half-mile-wide tornado spawned
night by the remnants of Tropical Storm Cindy.

While the speedway's races for the next week have been canceled,
NASCAR's Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 -- set for Oct. 30 -- will go on,
Clark said.

"We'll be here and we'll be running the race as scheduled," he
said.

The bowl shape of the speedway helped the tornado form and it
eventually remained on the ground for about four miles, also
hitting the Tara Field airport in Hampton, the National Weather
Service said. Four planes were overturned and two hangars were
damaged at the airport.

Lans Rothfusz, the meterologist in charge at the National
Weather Service's Peachtree City office, said a preliminary
investigation indicated the tornado was a category F-2 with winds
up to 157 mph.