Three local gold medalists from the 2012 Olympics visited Atlanta Motor Speedway Sunday for the AdvoCare 500. DeeDee Trotter (Ellenwood, Ga.), Vincent Hancock (Eatonton, Ga.) and Jamie Lynn Gray (Columbus, Ga.) will spend race day at AMS taking pace car rides, touring Victory Lane, attending the Speedway Children’s Charities memorabilia auction and taking in tonight’s spectacular racing action.
Trotter was a member of the 4x400 relay team that won the gold medal this summer in London, and she also won a bronze medal in the 400 meters. She was also a member of the 2004 4x400 gold-medal relay team, a three-time World Champion in the 4x400 relay and a three-time 400 meter USA Champion. She attended Cedar Grove High School and just flew back home Friday from Europe, where she had three more competitions following the Olympics.
“Of course, NASCAR is huge, so you can’t not know anything about it, but I’ve never experienced it at this level,” Trotter said. “But I love cars, and obviously I have a need for speed, whether it’s using my feet or in a car, and I definitely feel the adrenaline already. My heart is starting to pound because it’s just going to be so fast. I’m looking forward to being so close to the action.”
Another NASCAR rookie, Gray set an Olympic record en route to a gold medal in the 50-meter three-position Women’s Rifle event. She lives near Columbus, Ga., and is an assistant rifle coach for the Columbus State University Rifle Team.
She’s been around the speedway all weekend, participating in Speedway Children’s Charities events such as the skeet shoot and track walk.
“I had no idea what a big production a race was,” Gray said. “I knew it was cars going in a circle, but I had no idea everything else that was going on. To see what is happening behind the scenes is amazing.”
For Eatonton, Ga., native Hancock, racing has always been part of his family’s vernacular, so the spectacle of this weekend’s AdvoCare 500 is nothing new. In fact, as a two-time gold medal winner in skeet shooting (2008 and 2012), Hancock was welcomed as a guest at AMS after his first gold four years ago. But that doesn’t make his visit any less exciting for this avid race fan.
“I grew up on racing and have been to several tracks, but Atlanta is my favorite,” Hancock said. “I love how fast this place is.”
A 23-year-old sergeant in the U.S. Army, Hancock hopes to meet five-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson during his visit this weekend.
“He treat fans so well, and it’s amazing all that he’s won and all that he’s done,” Hancock said. “That takes a lot of mental toughness, and I definitely appreciate his accomplishments.”
Atlanta Motor Speedway PR