Atlanta Motor Speedway renames media center in honor of longtime PR director Marcy Scott

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One of the most beloved members of the NASCAR media and public relations community will now be forever immortalized at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

AMS officials announced in a media release Friday that they have renamed the track’s media center in honor and memory of Marcy Scott, the track’s longtime director of marketing, promotion and media relations.

Scott passed away last November after a courageous battle with cancer.

From now on, the building in the middle of the AMS infield will be known as the Marcy Scott Media Center.

“I cannot think of anything more fitting to name in Marcy’s honor than the Atlanta Motor Speedway media center,” AMS president and general manager Ed Clark said in a statement. “Marcy’s charisma, passion for racing and overall outlook on life continue to improve all of us at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

“It’s very appropriate that many of the same people that hold such a high regard for Marcy will be working out of a building named in her honor while they are at Atlanta Motor Speedway race weekend.”

Scott, who worked at the track from 2005 until her passing, also posthumously received the National Motorsports Press Association Spirit Award for the final quarter of 2013 (disclosure: this writer is a member of the NMPA board of directors).

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Hamilton leads damp first USGP practice at COTA, Hartley debuts

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Lewis Hamilton continued his impressive Formula 1 record at the Circuit of The Americas by topping opening practice for the United States Grand Prix on Friday for Mercedes.

A four-time winner of the USGP at COTA, Hamilton set the pace in damp conditions in first practice after rain hit the Austin area in the lead-up to the start of the session.

After initially venturing out on intermediate tires, Hamilton made the switch to super-softs at the halfway point in FP1, ultimately posting a fastest time of 1:36.335.

Hamilton’s time saw him finish over half a second clear of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who he could beat to the F1 drivers’ championship at COTA this weekend should results go his way.

Mercedes got two cars into the top three as Valtteri Bottas wound up third in the second W08 car, six-tenths back from Hamilton, while Max Verstappen ended FP1 fourth for Red Bull.

Felipe Massa led Williams into the top 10 with an impressive lap en route to fifth, finishing ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne.

Vandoorne was left to lead McLaren’s charge after a hydraulic leak sidelined Fernando Alonso for much of the session, limiting the Spaniard to just four laps in total.

Force India managed to get both its drivers up into the top 10 as Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez finished eighth and ninth respectively, edging out Renault’s Carlos Sainz Jr. who was P10 in his first appearance for the team.

Brendon Hartley enjoyed his first run-out in Toro Rosso’s STR12 car ahead of his grand prix debut on Sunday, taking P14 overall.

The New Zealander had not driven an F1 car since a test with Mercedes in 2012, but put in a solid first display in practice, even though his race hopes are set to be hindered by a grid penalty.

Second practice for the United States Grand Prix is live on the NBC Sports app from 3pm ET today.