Date: Sunday, September 4th
Time: 7:30 PM ET
Where: Atlanta Motor Speedway
Track: 1.54-mile oval
Laps: 325 ; Miles: 500.5
Radio: PRN/Sirius XM NASCAR
Start Time Temperature: 74° F
High: 85° F; Low: 69° F
Chance of Rain: Day- 20%; Night- 60%
Courtesy of weather.com
Target: Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards, and Matt Kenseth
Avoid: Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, and Jamie McMurray
Analysis: Kurt Busch won the past two races in the now-defunct March race but he’s been strong overall since 2007. If Edwards comes back to form, Atlanta has been one of his best circuits.
Bargain: Regan Smith finished P14 and P17 in 2010. Six of Bobby Labonte’s 21 career wins have come here.
-Following a win in 2006, Tony Stewart responded with three lackluster performances in Atlanta, placing outside the top-10 in all three races. That all changed last year, as he snapped a 31-race winless streak in the Sprint Cup Series at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
-Winless this season, Stewart has nine top-10′s in 24 starts and is 10th on the points list, as the Race for the Chase nears. Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson are tied atop the points list, but eight drivers stand within 81 points of the lead.
-Five of the 12 spots in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup have been clinched. Here’s who’s in: Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick. Harvick has clinched at least a Wild Card spot, and will likely lock up a top-10 spot this weekend.
-Never a serious contender in Atlanta, Kasey Kahne raced to victory in 2009, as he defeated Kevin Harvick for his 11th and last Sprint Cup title.
-Prior to 2009, Carl Edwards had dominated this race, just as Jimmie Johnson has done previously. Edwards defeated Johnson by over two seconds in 2008, winning this race for the second time in four years.
-In 2007, Johnson captured this race for the second time in four years, as he held off Edwards for his eighth win of the 2007 season and the 31st of his Sprint Cup career.
-Originally called Atlanta International Raceway, the track was a 1.5-mile paved speedway, holding its first Sprint Cup race on July 31, 1960. AMS has been re-configured twice, once in 1970 to 1.522 and again in 1997 to its present length of 1.54 miles. There have been 103 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Atlanta Speedway, two races per year except 1961, which had three.
-The pole sitter has only won this race three times, the last coming in 1996 when Bobby Labonte turned the trick. Over the years, the pole winner has won 14 times in Atlanta. Labonte won the 2001 fall race from the 39th starting position, the deepest in the field a race winner has started. Labonte is a six-time winner in Atlanta, the most of all active drivers. The top five starting positions have won 59 of the 103 races, while the top-10 spots have captured 81.
-The 2011 Sprint Cup Series “regular season” concludes on September 10th with the Wonderful Pistachios 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Denny Hamlin won last year’s race there.
All info courtesy of racing-reference.info
#00 David Reutimann (Zephyrhills, FL) Toyota/Aaron’s Dream Machine
#1 Jamie McMurray (Joplin, MO) Chevrolet/McDonald’s
#2 Brad Keselowski (Rochester Hills, MI) Dodge/Miller Lite
#4 Kasey Kahne (Enumclaw, WA) Toyota/Red Bull
#5 Mark Martin (Batesville, AR) Chevrolet/GoDaddy.com
#6 David Ragan (Unadilla, GA) Ford/UPS
#7 Robby Gordon (Orange, CA) Dodge/Speed Energy
#9 Marcos Ambrose (Launceston, Australia) Ford/Kwikset
#11 Denny Hamlin (Chesterfield, VA) Toyota/Charter Communications
#13 Casey Mears (Bakersfield, CA) Toyota/GEICO
#14 * Tony Stewart (Columbus, IN) Chevrolet/Office Depot/Mobil 1
#16 Greg Biffle (Vancouver, WA) Ford/3M
#17 Matt Kenseth (Cambridge, WI) Ford/Crown Royal
#18 Kyle Busch (Las Vegas, NV) Toyota/Pedigree
#20 Joey Logano (Middletown, CT) Toyota/Home Depot
#22 Kurt Busch (Las Vegas, NV) Dodge/Shell/Pennzoil
#24 Jeff Gordon (Vallejo, CA) Chevrolet/Drive to End Hunger
#27 Paul Menard (Eau Claire, WI) Chevrolet/Menards/Quaker State
#29 Kevin Harvick (Bakersfield, CA) Chevrolet/Budweiser
#30 David Stremme (South Bend, IN) Chevrolet/TBA
#31 Jeff Burton (South Boston, VA) Chevrolet/Caterpillar
#32 Mike Bliss (Milwaukie, OR) Ford/FAS Lane Racing
#33 Clint Bowyer (Emporia, KS) Chevrolet/TBA
#34 David Gilliland (Riverside, CA) Ford/A&W All American Ford
#35 Geoffrey Bodine (Chemung, NY) Chevrolet/Luke & Associates
#36 Dave Blaney (Hartford, OH) Chevrolet/Golden Corral
#37 To Be Announced Ford/TBA
#38 J.J. Yeley (Phoenix, AZ) Ford/Vampt
#39 Ryan Newman (South Bend, IN) Chevrolet/U.S. Army Reserve
#42 Juan Pablo Montoya (Bogota, Colombia) Chevrolet/Target
#43 A.J. Allmendinger (Los Gatos, CA) Ford/Best Buy
#46 Scott Speed (Manteca, CA) Ford/Property Masters
#47 Bobby Labonte (Corpus Christi, TX) Toyota/Bush’s Baked Beans
#48 Jimmie Johnson (El Cajon, CA) Chevrolet/Lowe’s
#50 T.J. Bell (Reno, VA) Chevrolet/Green Smoke
#51 Landon Cassill (Cedar Rapids, IA) Chevrolet/Phoenix Construction
#55 Travis Kvapil (Janesville, WI) Ford/TBA
#56 Martin Truex Jr. (Mayetta, NJ) Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts
#60 Mike Skinner (Susanville, CA) Toyota/Big Red
#66 Michael McDowell (Glendale, AZ) Toyota/HP Racing
#71 Andy Lally (Northport, NY) Ford/Interstate Moving Services
#78 Regan Smith (Cato, NY) Chevrolet/Furniture Row Racing
#83 Brian Vickers (Thomasville, NC) Toyota/Red Bull
#87 Joe Nemechek (Lakeland, FL) Toyota/ATBD
#88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Kannapolis, NC) Chevrolet/Amp Energy/Nat’l Guard
#95 David Starr (Houston, TX) Ford/AdvoCare
#99 Carl Edwards (Columbia, MO) Ford/Aflac
For all your post race analysis, continue to follow thepacelap.com, as Branden and I will do our best to make you feel like you are part of the action! Have fun this weekend!