Road Atlanta is a testing, undulating road course built in the heart of NASCAR country. It was a mainstay of North American road racing (hosting Trans-Am, Can-Am, Formula 5000, and IMSA among others) since opening on 13 September 1970. An annual highlight from 1970 to 1995 was the weeklong SCCA run-offs, an end-of-season festival for amateur championships from across the land. But the circuit fell into decline and disrepair in the 1990s, and filed for bankruptcy in 1993. Although Road Atlanta continued to operate under new owners, it was not until entrepreneur Don Panoz acquired it in December 1996 that a programme of modernisation restored it to the forefront of American sports car racing. Uniquely, Road Atlanta now features pit lanes on either side of the starting straight to accommodate more competitors. Panoz also inaugurated the 1000-mile Petit Le Mans race in 1998 as the centrepiece of his new championship, the American Le Mans Series. The event is now firmly established as the late-season highlight of the sports car year.