Originally posted on FOX Sports  |  Last updated 8/30/12
Gettyimage.ashx_url_http_3a_2f_2fcache.gettyimages.com_2fxc_2f99601888.jpg_3fv_3d1_26c_3dewsasset_26k_3d2_26d_3d77bfba49ef878921a343b2c87a49d8f5303e9046849c8a4bd91438e858663a4c2ff9023be3cf76b5
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.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

John Wall warns Lonzo Ball about having target on his back

Eric Bledsoe raises suspicion with tweet

Browns select empty seat to win prize

Hue Jackson critical after DeShone Kizer stayed out late Friday

Carson Palmer to miss eight weeks with broken arm

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Mitchell Trubisky leads Bears to win despite completing just four passes

Red Sox confirm Alex Cora as new manager

Joe Thomas misses his first career snap after injuring arm

Dolphins fans cheer after Jay Cutler leaves with injury

Browns bench DeShone Kizer again, bring in Cody Kessler

Bills fans boo team off field after hatchet job to end half

Most prominent sports bans on the 5th anniversary of the Lance Armstrong ban

Sports & Politics Intersect: Cubs owner up for Heritage Foundation post

The 'Like Mike, only better' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Dodgers finish Cubs while Astros find pain in the Bronx

The 'Some call me the Rocket, some people call me Maurice' quiz

Kyrie Irving must lead Celtics through a disaster in search for happiness

Jacoby Brissett: The forgotten up-and-comer

NFL Week 7 Predictions

The 'Can I have a quick sword with you?' quiz

College football 2017 Week 8 predictions

NFL Referee Hotline Bling: Austin Seferian-Jenkins drops a call

Blackhawks get extra depth on defense with newbies Rutta and Forsling

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Most prominent sports bans on the 5th anniversary of the Lance Armstrong ban

Houston Astros hold off Yankees, forcing Game 7

Sports & Politics Intersect: Cubs owner up for Heritage Foundation post

The 'Like Mike, only better' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Dodgers finish Cubs while Astros find pain in the Bronx

The 'Some call me the Rocket, some people call me Maurice' quiz

Kyrie Irving must lead Celtics through a disaster in search for happiness

Jacoby Brissett: The forgotten up-and-comer

NFL Week 7 Predictions

College football 2017 Week 8 predictions

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker