Found August 30, 2012 on
So we leave the short track of Bristol Motor Speedway behind and now head to the 1.5-mile fast Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Labor Day weekend.
There are a few guys that I am going to be keeping my eye on this weekend.
Brad Keselowski is the first that comes to mind. I think he will be strong at Atlanta. Carl Edwards has his back to the wall and has to win to even possibly make the Chase for the Sprint Cup. You have Jeff Gordon rolling into Atlanta with momentum on his side, plus this has always been a good track for Jeff.
He is in somewhat the same boat as Carl, even though Jeff already has a single win. Jeff needs that second win to move past all the other single-win drivers and put him into position to get that second wild-card spot.
On the other end of the points and Chase spectrum is Jimmie Johnson and that Lowe's team. With Atlanta being the headquarters for Home Depot, you just know that No. 48 bunch would like to pull off the win there and rock the Home Depot folks' world.
Really it could be anybody's race at Atlanta. There are guys securely in the Chase that can afford to gamble to try to pull off a win and get those three extra Chase bonus points that will be awarded when the field is set after the race at Richmond International Raceway. Then you have guys, like the ones we mentioned above, that have one win and desperately need another to all but guarantee them a Chase spot.
If that isn't enough, then there is the group of drivers who still haven't won a race this year. A win this weekend then vaults them into the Chase equation leaving only Richmond next Saturday night as their last possible shot of making it into the title-determining field.
The thing I like about Atlanta is it's big and fast, but you have multiple grooves to run on. The racing surface has aged, which at times makes it hard to keep grip on. If you are a driver that likes to slide around and go fast, then Atlanta will be your cup of tea.
It really is a great place to race and I hate the fact we don't race there more.
In addition, the race being run on a Sunday night makes it fun. It makes it unique, similar to running the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May. I know there are probably some fans wishing the race was on a Saturday night so that they could use Sunday to get home and then enjoy their Monday off for Labor Day. It is what it is, however, but it should be an exciting show.
What happens and comes out of Atlanta Sunday night is going to set up for some panicky drivers for Richmond next Saturday night. As a fan, one of the enjoyable parts is watching how these drivers and teams handle the pressure of Richmond week, especially those that are on the outside of the Chase but still have a mathematical chance of making it in.
Richmond will be one of the most unique races, I believe, we have seen, not only this year but in quite a few races there. The mentality for those panicky teams and drivers will be simple - swing for the fence. You have to make it happen. Their preparation, their practice and especially how they qualify will be extremely important.
These drivers and teams will definitely be earning their paychecks these next two weeks. Whoever does wind up getting that final spot in the Chase, that is one driver I definitely want to keep my eye on.
I want to see if they are physically and emotionally spent from putting all the effort into making the Chase so that once it's started, there's nothing left in their collective tanks.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Carl Edwards squelched rumors that he was a candidate for the No. 22 Penske Racing Ford -- at least for 2013.
Edwards called rumors that he could be moving from Roush Fenway Racing to incoming Ford team Penske "impossible," and added the rumblings were so intense that sponsors inquired as to his status.
Edwards, who signed a blockbuster contract to remain with Roush last...
A lot of fans have asked me in recent weeks whether I believe Carl Edwards' Chase of the Sprint Cup dream for 2012 is over since has yet to win a race and there are only two left in NASCAR's regular season.
I don't think Edwards is done.
Last Saturday night, Edwards and his team had a great opportunity to close the gap on their points situation. I don't think they...
NASCAR's only stop at Atlanta Motor Speedway came at just the right time for Carl Edwards.
Last year's Sprint Cup runner-up is struggling just to make the Chase, coming into Sunday night's race 12th in the standings. The top 10 get in, plus two wild cards based on season victories, and Edwards has yet to win this season. He needs a strong performance the next two weekends...
To help SUBWAY® celebrate its 47th birthday, Carl Edwards will run a special SUBWAY® SUBprize Party paint scheme this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The last time Edwards had SUBWAY® as a primary sponsor he ended up in victory lane in the Nationwide Series at Watkins Glen earlier this month.SUBWAY® Restaurants, the world’s largest restaurant chain, announced that it will...
With only three races remaining before the cutoff to the Chase, Carl Edwards took a gamble Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway. The thing about gambling is you never know the outcome in advance. Edwards led 45 laps late in the race and tried to finish the race without pitting, but in the end came up shy on fuel and finished 22nd.
Edwards had his work cut out for him at Bristol...
Brad Keselowski and the Penske Racing Discount Tire Dodge Challenger team will use chassis PRS-228 during Saturday’s NRA American Warrior 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS). Parker Kligerman last raced this chassis to a seventh-place finish at Chicagoland Speedway in July.
The No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger in 2012… Following 23 points-paying events, the No. 22 Discount...
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Fastenal Ford Fusion, has three NASCAR Sprint Cup wins at Atlanta Motor Speedway, including the first of his career in 2005. A win this weekend would help Edwards in his quest to make the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field, which will be determined after the next two races. He spoke about his chances during a national teleconference this...
Carl Edwards has dismissed a rumor that he will join Penske Racing next season.
Edwards brought the rumor up unprompted Wednesday in an effort to silence the discussion. He is in the first year of a new contract with Roush Fenway Racing, but there had been speculation he was trying to negotiate an out to take the opening at Penske.
Edwards says he's never had any discussions...
Two of NASCAR's major stars, Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick, have had crew chief changes take place during this season. I don't care who it is, any time you have something new it is something fresh.
It can tend to energize a team and a driver.
In Kevin's case, it's more like the old is new again. He went back and is paired once again with the crew chief who guided...
Roush Fenway drivers Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth each clinched a spot in the 2012 Chase for the Sprint Cup ‘playoff’ race with their respective finishes last Saturday night at Bristol. Roush Fenway has now placed 24 entries inside the Chase since its inception in 2004. Leading the point standings and now locked into his fifth Chase berth, Biffle says his team can continue to...
The NASCAR Sprint Cup regular season is nearing it's end as there's only two races left starting with the AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday night. It will be the 105th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the track and starting up front is usually key there.
Out of the 105 races, 60 of them were won from the first five starting positions with 14 of them from the...
Brad Keselowski led the way with a lap of 30.889 seconds in the final practice for the NRA American Warrior 300 from Atlanta. Rounding out the top five was Sam Hornish, Jr., Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Kevin Harvick, and Elliott Sadler.
Discount Tire Dodge
Sam Hornish Jr.
Alliance Truck Parts Dodge