Saturday, August 31, 2013

Atlanta Post-Practice Notes: Jimmie Johnson looks primed to win again

Johnson and Bowyer finished 1-2 during happy hour 
It's been nine races and nearly seven years since Jimmie Johnson last won at Atlanta – and he's yet to win on any of the 1.5-mile tracks already run on this year – but he's still our choice as the top-rated driver to win Sunday night's AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Johnson was already considered the favorite to win this week, but his chances to do so were improved even more after two stellar practices sessions on Saturday where he showed he was fast in all situations. In the early session, Johnson had the sixth-fastest single lap (182.213 mph), while also having the second-fastest 10-consecutive lap average. During happy hour, he had the fastest lap (186.447) and third-best 10-consecutive lap average.

After successive weeks of finishing 36th-place or worse, we think Johnson and his entire crew -- led by chief Chad Knaus -- are going to take things up an extra notch this week. There will be no more talk from the team about being fortunate to have such a big lead in points and simply getting ready for the Chase. Matt Kenseth just passed them in season wins last week, which means more bonus points for them when the Chase starts. That doesn't sit well with this crew.

Although Johnson hasn't won on any of these types of tracks this season, including the 2-mile tracks, this has traditionally been his best type over his career. At Atlanta, he's a three-time winner with an 11.1 average finish.

When Carl Edwards came out blazing with fast lap times on Friday, we reserved judgment on him until Saturday's practices. On Friday, he used mock-qualifying trim in the first practice sessions to roll out the second-fastest lap, and then followed it up by qualifying with the second-fastest lap to start Sunday's race on the front row.

When Saturday came around for practices with race trim, Edwards went out and posted the fastest lap on his first lap ran. Then when happy hour was over, the time charts showed Edwards with the fastest 10-consecutive lap average making him a quality contender for Johnson to deal with on Sunday. Edwards is a three-time winner at Atlanta and is using a chassis that last ran at Charlotte (11th) and recently tested at Atlanta.

Five-time Atlanta winner Jeff Gordon needs to duplicate what he did there last when he finished second and maybe even better to follow up what he did in 2011, which is win. He needs some Chase help, and we think he'll make his own luck with a good run. He didn't have any blazing fast single-lap speeds like Johnson or Edwards had, but he was very good on the long runs, and they'll be plenty of those in this 500-mile race.

Gordon doesn't have a top-five this season on a 1.5-mile track. But what we like about Gordon a little more here is his craftiness of being a veteran and understanding how to save tires on Atlanta's worn out asphalt. There aren't many tracks out there we can say that about because the tracks keep repaving and taking away some of their character. It's been 16 years since Atlanta has been touched, and there's definitely something there to the correlation between Gordon, excellence and the surface.

Kevin Harvick is a driver that should be considered Sunday night, as well. Michigan was the last big horsepower track run at and he finished second. The last high-banked 1.5-mile track run on was at Charlotte and Harvick won that race. He hasn't won at Atlanta since his rookie year in 2001, but it was encouraging to see him with the fastest 10-consecutive laps average in Saturday's early practice session.

Kasey Kahne is also going to be somewhere in the mix Sunday night. He was fast in practice, and he's been good on the 1.5-mile tracks all season -- compiling three runner-ups in five attempts. We also have to like his chances because he's bringing the same chassis that won at Pocono last month and finished second at Las Vegas in March.

This will be an interesting race because it will be run in three stages where there is daylight, dusk and night fall, which creates three vastly different type of conditions for the crews to make adjustments on the fly. After two weeks of misery, we think the No. 48 crew will be up for the challenge most.

Read More Here........Final Atlanta Driver Ratings

Friday, August 30, 2013

Stenhouse Jr. grabs first career Sprint Cup pole at Atlanta

Stenhouse could be in store for best Cup finish Sunday
HAMPTON, Ga.—For Ricky Stenhouse Jr., it’s about time that something good has happened to him in a Sprint Cup car.

In 24 races this year and 29 over his career, he had never won a pole and never has had a top-10 finish.

The rookie knocked one of those feats off that list Friday night as his lap of 189.688 mph earned him the pole for the AdvoCare 500 on Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The two-time defending Nationwide Series champion whose headlines this year have been as much about his relationship with competitor Danica Patrick as about his racing, Stenhouse will have Roush Fenway Racing teammate Carl Edwards (189.021) beside him for the start of the race.

“It’s finally good to get something accomplished this year,” Stenhouse said. “We’ve not got much accomplished of what we thought we should or the goals that we were setting out to get.

“I felt really good about our racecar (in practice).”

It wasn’t a huge surprise that Atlanta would be the place for a solid Stenhouse run. He won the Nationwide race at the track last year and has had good performances on 1.5-mile tracks this year.

Read More Here.....Sporting News

Advocare 500 Starting Lineup

Keselowski fastest in first Atlanta practice session Friday

Three-time Atlanta winner Carl Edwards was second fastest in Friday's first Atlanta practice, behind Brad Keselowski 

Atlanta Advocare 500 First Practice Session Speeds 

Ganssi tabs Kyle Larson to drives No. 42 in 2014, also bringing back McMurray

Kyle Larson with team owner Chip Ganassi Saturday at Atlanta
HAMPTON, Ga. — Chip Ganassi didn’t need to see Kyle Larson win races in the Nationwide Series to know that Larson would be his choice to replace Juan Pablo Montoya in the Sprint Cup Series.

What he needed to see was how Larson raced, and what he saw was impressive enough to put the 21-year-old driver in a Sprint Cup car full time starting in 2014.

“I’ve seen it five or six, eight times where he gives you the impression he’s dilly-dallying about in the middle of the pack kind of not paying attention,” Ganassi said Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

“And in the end, he seems to be where it matters to be. That said something to me. … His level of maturity approaching the racing of the race itself — it looks sometimes like he’s back there coasting but always seems to be in the top-five at the end.”

Larson is eighth in the Nationwide Series standings as a rookie (on loan from Ganassi to Turner Scott Motorsports) and has a Camping World Truck Series win this year at Rockingham. He likely will get at least a few Cup starts this year at Phoenix Racing.

Read More Here....Sporting News

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Atlanta Driver Chassis Selections: 2013 Advocare 500

Kasey Kahne is using winning Pocono chassis from August

#2-Brad Keselowski: Primary Chassis: PRS-861. Last Raced: Brand new chassis. Backup Chassis: PRS-838. Last Raced: Darlington (finished 32nd).

#5-Kasey Kahne: Crew chief Kenny Francis will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-779 for Sunday night's event at Atlanta. Kahne has driven this car four times this season and averaged a 12.5 finish. He notably led 66 laps in this car and won at Pocono Raceway in August. He also led 114 laps in this chassis in March en route to a runner-up result at Las Vegas and later scored an 11th-place finish one month later at Texas Motor Speedway.

#9-Marcos Ambrose: The No. 9 team prepared chassis No. 847. Ambrose brought home a top-10 finish at Charlotte with this chassis earlier this season.

#10-Danica Patrick: Chassis No. 10-794: Chassis No. 10-794 was tested in the wind tunnel May 1 before being used by Patrick in the Coca-Cola 600 later that month at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. Patrick started 24th and finished 29th after being involved in a multi-car accident on lap 320 of 400. After repairs, she managed to finish the race, but completed only 385 laps. The last time Patrick drove this car was in June at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, where she started 29th and finished 23rd.

#14-Mark Martin: Chassis No. 14-736: This car debuted in 2012 in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup opener at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., where Tony Stewart qualified 29th and rallied to lead three laps before finishing sixth. Chassis No. 14-736 made its second career start in October at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, and it had to rally again. After starting 32nd, a lap-16 run-in with Brad Keselowski necessitated numerous pit stops that dropped Stewart all the way to 36th in the 43-car field. But Stewart used Chassis No. 14-736 to claw his way back to a respectable 13th-place finish. The car made its third career start last November at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth where it rallied yet again, overcoming its 21st-place starting spot to finish fifth. With a 2013 Chevrolet SS body honed in the wind tunnel, Chassis No. 14-736 visited Kansas Speedway in Kansas City in April for its fourth career start. It was a quiet outing, with Stewart qualifying 18th and finishing 21st. Its second start of 2013 came in June at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. Finding the right handling package at the bumpy 1.5-mile oval proved elusive, as Chassis No. 14-736 qualified 25th and finished 20th. It gets a chance to redeem itself in its sixth career start this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

#15-Clint Bowyer: Primary chassis 777 finished 20th at Indianapolis. Backup chassis No. 724 has served as a backup several races in 2013, but not raced.

#16-Greg Biffle: Primary Chassis: RK-844 Last ran Kentucky finished 34th. Backup Chassis: RK-817. Last ran Michigan in 2012 finished 1st.

#17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Primary Chassis: RK- 816 - last raced at Michigan finished 16th. Backup Chassis: RK- 827 last ran Charlotte finished 14th.

#22-Joey Logano: Primary Chassis: PRS-862. Last Raced: Brand new chassis. Backup Chassis: PRS-839. Last Raced: Backup at several races (not raced).

#27-Paul Menard: will pilot chassis No. 403 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. This No. 27 Chevrolet SS was run previously this season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Kansas Speedway and Pocono Raceway.

#29-Kevin Harvick: will pilot chassis No. 391 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable in the AdvoCare 500. This RCR-prepared machine was most recently driven by Harvick to a 17th-place result at Pocono Raceway in August. 

#31-Jeff Burton: will race chassis No. 372 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. This No. 31 Chevrolet was utilized three times this season at Bristol Motor Speedway in March, Kentucky Speedway in June and Michigan International Speedway in August. (Strong run)

#39-Ryan Newman: Chassis No. 39-748: Newman will pilot Chassis No. 39-748 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in this weekend's Advocare 500. This chassis debuted at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth last November, when Newman was able to overcome his starting position of 36th and a loose right-front wheel that dropped him from the top-10 to 25th with just 110 laps remaining to record a 12th-place finish. Since then, Chassis No. 39-748 was outfitted with a new front clip and a Chevrolet SS body, and saw its first laps of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. There, Newman overcame a late-race pit road speeding penalty to finish 10th. The No. 39 team turned the chassis around and brought it to Texas again in April, when Newman raced this Chevrolet SS to another 10th-place finish. Most recently, Chassis No. 39-748 raced in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in May, when Newman finished sixth.

#43-Aric Almirola: The No. 43 team has prepared chassis No. 855 for Atlanta. Almirola drove the chassis to a 15th-place finish at Kentucky Speedway in June.

#48-Jimmie Johnson: will drive chassis No. 728 at Atlanta. Chassis No. 797 serves as the backup.

#55-Brian Vickers: Primary 780, Mark Martin led 23 laps at Michigan on Aug. 18 in this chassis.

#88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.: This weekend, crew chief Steve Letarte and the No. 88 team will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-726. Earnhardt, most recently, drove this chassis to earn the pole position and a 12th-place result at Kentucky Speedway in June.

#99-Carl Edwards: Primary: RK- 821 last ran at Atlanta test and CMS. Backup: RK - 831.

- compiled by

Things should be interesting with 2014 Stewart-Haas season

KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — Greg Zipadelli joked Monday that he is preparing a special room for driver meetings at the Stewart-Haas Racing shop next year.

After all, with three drivers who could be considered volatile at times — Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch — as well as Danica Patrick, Zipadelli expects some heated moments and difference of opinions.

As competition director, he will be in charge of a team with three drivers who haven’t always seen eye to eye and who have had their share of emotional outbursts and temper tantrums throughout their careers. Stewart, Busch and Harvick, in fact, could be considered the three most volatile drivers in the sport, with all three having had multiple run-ins with NASCAR, other drivers and the media.

Stewart even reportedly punched Busch once in the NASCAR hauler following practice at Daytona. And Harvick and Busch haven’t always been on the best of terms.

“We built a rubber room upstairs, that's the first thing we did,” Zipadelli said with a laugh.

“When you have four passionate drivers, I would much rather deal with that than to try to figure out how to get them going. You're born with that. The competitiveness that these guys have, that's what you need in this sport.”

Read More Here.......Sporting News

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Kevin Harvick likes the worn out asphalt at Atlanta

Kevin Harvick is 10/1 to win this Sunday night at Atlanta  
Kevin Harvick
No. 29 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS
Event Preview Fact Sheet

This Week’s Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS at Atlanta Motor Speedway
… Kevin Harvick will pilot chassis No. 391 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable in the AdvoCare 500. This RCR-prepared machine was most recently driven by Harvick to a 17th-place result at Pocono Raceway in August.

Freaky Good in the ATL … Jimmy John’s joins Harvick and the No. 29 team for their sixth of eight races during the 2013 Sprint Cup Series season. The California native earned his only Sprint Cup Series victory at the 1.54-mile quad-oval in his first start at the track, in only his third-career Series start during the 2001 season. In addition to his trip to Victory Lane, Harvick has collected five top-five and eight top-10 finishes, holds an average starting position of 18.7, coupled with an average finishing position of 19.2, has completed 97.6 percent (6,927 of 7,100) of the laps contested and is credited with 237 laps led.

Find a Jimmy John’s … Jimmy John’s, known for fresh, quality products and freaky fast service, has two locations within 30 minutes of Atlanta Motor Speedway. Visit to view the Jimmy John’s menu, find your nearest location, order online or download the Jimmy John’s mobile application.

This Just In … Harvick will double as driver and in-race reporter during live coverage of Sunday night’s 325-lap event. The RCR driver will chat with ESPN personalities during the race and provide viewers a unique look from the driver’s seat.

Double Duty … In addition to driving the No. 29 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS in Sunday night’s race, Harvick will pilot the No. 33 Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet Camaro in the NASCAR Nationwide Series event on Saturday, Aug. 31. This race is scheduled to air live on ESPN2 at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time, along with the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.

Race Rewind … Harvick and the No. 29 team captured a fifth-place finish, and clinched a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, after leading 101 laps while battling a tight-handling condition during the 2012 edition of the AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.


Share your thoughts on racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

“Atlanta (Motor Speedway) has been a great race track for us the last few years. The asphalt is really worn out, and the speed of the car changes a lot from the start of a run to the finish of the run. It makes for some good racing as the cars start moving around and sliding around the track.”

Many drivers say the asphalt at Atlanta Motor Speedway is really worn out, and they like it that way. Do you agree?
“Absolutely. You want the asphalt to be worn out. I don’t know why so many tracks keep repaving without any rocks in them. Rocks wear the tires out and everyone likes to watch the cars slide around when the tires fall off.”

- Richard Childress Racing

LVH Super Book IndyCar Odds: 2013 Grand Prix of Baltimore



Tuesday, August 27, 2013

LVH posts Johnson as 5/1 favorite to win 2013 Advocare 500 at Atlanta

3 stages Sunday: Day, Dusk and Night
Despite finishing 36th or worse in his last two starts, and not winning on a 1.5- or 2-mile track this season, Jimmie Johnson has been posted as the 5-to-1 favorite by the LVH SuperBook to win Sunday night’s Advocare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Over his career, Johnson has dominated on these type of tracks – including three wins at Atlanta – which is the main reason he won five straight Sprint Cup titles, but surprisingly, he has only one top-five finish (Kansas) on the eight 1.5- or 2-mile tracks raced on this season.

The last time we saw action on a 1.5-mile track was at Kentucky on June 30, and the last time we saw a race run on a similar high-banked 1.5-mile layout like Atlanta was at its sister-track in Charlotte on May 26. A lot has changed since then, so from oddsmaking standpoint, a lot more has to be reviewed other than simply looking at the results from Las Vegas, Texas and Charlotte.

If we were looking specifically at the performances from those early seasons races, the easy favorite would be Matt Kenseth, who won on three of the five 1.5-mile tracks. Although he’s never won at Atlanta, Kenseth comes at 6-to-1 odds this week, a number that indicates lots of respect. But so much has changed with the Toyota engine program from then to now that has forced his number below the favored Johnson.

While trying to get a more durable engine ready for drivers expected to be in the Chase, Toyota sacrificed some of their horsepower, and it was noticeable. Kyle Busch won at Texas and Fontana early in the year, but his only win since April 13 came on the road course at Watkins Glen. Despite Busch's mini-drought on horsepower tracks, he’s still listed as the co-third choice to win in Atlanta at 7-to-1 odds.

Kasey Kahne also comes in at 7-to-1 odds this week. He’s a two-time winner at Atlanta, his last victory coming in 2009, and he's shown plenty of horsepower all season long. He has yet to win on a 1.5 mile track this season, but was runner-up in three of the five races, including Charlotte.

Jeff Gordon made his first career start at Atlanta in 1992, the same race at which we said farewell to Richard Petty. Since then, Gordon has compiled five wins at Atlanta with an 11.9 average finish. His last win there came in 2011, and last season, as part of his miraculous Race to the Chase, he finished second. His 10-to-1 odds offered this week look to be the most attractive among the favorites.

Kevin Harvick is also 10-to-1 this week, but it’s not necessarily due to winning at Charlotte in May. The entire Richard Childress stable looked fast during the August 18 race at Michigan. While the set-up for the cars will be different due to the steeper banking at Atlanta, the consistent horsepower showed during that race – where he finished second – suggests he’ll be very fast Sunday night and contend for the win. This place has a special meaning for Harvick because it's the site of his first career win, only weeks after taking over the GM Goodwrench Chevy for Dale Earnhardt in 2001. It remains his only Atlanta win, but he did finish fifth last season.

Denny Hamlin has gone 10 straight races with finishes of 18th or worse, but because of his affiliation with Joe Gibbs Racing and winning this race last season, he’s still a driver to respect, which is why he’s 15-to-1 this week. In most of those poor finishes, he’s qualified well, an indication that his Toyota engine is somewhat sound and capable of running well. He just needs to get over the hump, and a track like Atlanta is the type that could see him bounce back with a big effort.

Read More Here..........Complete List of LVH Atlanta Odds

Kyle Busch shooting for first Atlanta win since 2008

Kyle Busch and Warren Buffet chat it up at Atlanta in 2010 
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (Aug. 27, 2013) – Kyle Busch returns this weekend to the place where it all began – Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), headed to the fourth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race of 2008 aiming to bring home his first win for two new partners at Atlanta – Mars Chocolate North America and Toyota.

After leading a race-high 173 laps, the Las Vegas native captured his first win for Mars’ SNICKERS brand, and also the first win in NASCAR’s top series for Toyota, which was in its second year of Sprint Cup competition and its first year with JGR, as was Busch.

The win also marked the end to a 147-race drought for JGR’s No. 18 team, as well as Busch’s first of 23 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins for JGR. Since then, Busch’s has also totaled 99 overall wins among NASCAR’s top three series driving Toyota vehicles in Sprint Cup (23), Nationwide (49), and Camping World Truck (27). Add 21 overall wins prior to joining JGR at the beginning of 2008, and Busch is at 120 combined Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Truck Series wins and counting.

With that in mind, the driver of the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry for JGR and his entire team will be rolling up their collective sleeves and getting to work this Labor Day weekend in hopes of reaching Busch’s 100-win milestone for Toyota. They’ll hope to rekindle their 2008 magic at Atlanta as the series returns for Sunday night’s AdvoCare 500 Sprint Cup race.

Busch heads into Atlanta fifth in the standings and, with his three Sprint Cup wins, he’s all but assured a spot in the 12-driver, 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship with two races remaining before the Chase begins Sept. 16 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. So, with a Chase berth imminent, Busch and his M&M’s team will look to make the necessary gambles to get another win, which would add another three bonus points at the start of NASCAR’s playoffs.

With the Chase just three weekends away, Busch and Company will undoubtedly be feeling just a bit nostalgic, pondering their 2008 weekend at Atlanta as they look to reach yet another milestone, at the place where it all began.


What kind of race are you expecting at Atlanta this year?

“I don’t think you’re going to see a race any different than what we’ve seen down in Atlanta the last few years. The racetrack has aged really nicely, where it’s probably aged too much, but you can’t repave Atlanta – that would just be stupid. It’s a place where you can run the bottom all the way from the white line all the way to the wall and anywhere in-between. You have to have a good car there, but it’s a neat racetrack with the way you can race around and move around and not get too comfortable running one lane. Dave (Rogers, crew chief) and the guys have brought good cars to the intermediate tracks this year and I’m hoping they give us another good car and we can go for the win with our M&M’s Camry.”

Is your preparation different for a night race?
“For me, yeah, you prepare a little bit differently. It’s a night race, so it’s not so hot. You don’t have to do as much as you might for a day race with cooling and everything inside the car, but it still will be a warm one, for sure. For me, it’s just about the whole week ahead of time. You’ve got to stay hydrated and make sure you keep yourself from cramping up or something like that. With the hot weekends we get out here, that could certainly be a challenging aspect. I’ve done it before and I’ll probably still do it again.”

What are your memories of racing in Atlanta?
“I’ve won a few Truck Series races there. That was fun. I have not won a Nationwide race there. I finished second three or four times, so it’s been an Achilles heel for me, I guess. The Cup races there, I’ve either been really good or mediocre or really bad. There have been times where I’ve been really good throughout the event. I don’t know what it is, but I just can’t seem to keep the grip in my car for the long haul, as long you need throughout a run. I’m really fast for the first five, eight laps. But, after that, I seem to slip more than anyone else.”

What does it take to be successful at Atlanta?
“It takes a lot of things. You have to have a lot of grip, you have to have a lot of downforce, you have to have tire management, a great engine, and fuel mileage, too. There are a lot of circumstances it can come down to at the end and what it will boil down to.”

What challenges does the day-to-night format present at Atlanta in the Sprint Cup race?
“Certainly, we practice all during the day, so the daytime practice is good for the beginning of the race. But as the racetrack picks up speed and gets faster throughout the night, of course, the balance can change a little bit. With the speed getting faster, certainly the loads change a little bit for you, so you have to be conscious of that. The crew chiefs are good at what they do and that’s why they get paid the big bucks – to try to figure out what best suits the cars for nighttime, because that’s when the race ends. Certainly, you want to be good at night.”

What did you think of the speed at Atlanta the first time you raced there?
“My first time there was 2003 in a Nationwide Series car and it was definitely fast. It’s all relative. You run the same speed around everybody and it really doesn’t feel that fast, so it feels like you do anywhere else, whether you’re at Las Vegas or Chicago or Kansas or any of those places.”

- True Speed Communication for Kyle Busch Motorsports

LVH posts Vettel 7/5 favorite to win 2013 Italian Grand Prix



Jeff Gordon looking for sixth Atlanta win Sunday night

Jeff Gordon captured his fifth Atlanta win in 2011
HAMPTON, Ga. (August 26, 2013) - On this opening weekend of college football, Jeff Gordon’s weekend kicks off at the University of Georgia on Thursday. But game day for the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion is not until Sunday night in the AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Gordon, driver of the No. 24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, will visit the University of Georgia on Thursday to view firsthand how The Campus Kitchens Project and the Campus Kitchen at UGA provide healthy meals to older Georgians who struggle to put food on the table.

“I’m looking forward to Thursday’s visit,” said Gordon. “It’s always cool to see communities get involved with this issue, and I think it will be interesting to learn and see what the university and the students are doing.”

On Friday, he will turn his attention to winning his sixth race at the 1.54-mile Georgia track. Along with five wins, Gordon has two poles while leading active drivers with 16 top-fives, 25 top-10′s and 1,280 laps led in 39 starts.

“This has always been such a fun race track – one we always slide around on,” said Gordon, who made his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut here in the 1992 season finale. “The surface – with its abrasiveness – provides the teams and drivers with a huge challenge.

“And that challenge is what makes it so fun.”

Another challenge facing Gordon is securing one of the 12 spots in the “Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.” After a seventh-place run at Bristol last weekend, Gordon chopped 15 points off the deficit to 10th and is only 11 points out of that guaranteed berth with two races remaining before the field is set.

“We just need to do our job and get the best results possible these next two races and see how things shake out,” said Gordon, who has 12 top-13 finishes in his last 13 starts at Atlanta including a win in 2011 and a runner-up finish here last year. “We’ll go out every practice and try to get everything out of the car.

“You’ll have ‘ups’ and you’ll have ‘downs’ throughout race weekends. It’s how you manage the peaks and valleys that allow you to stay focused.”

And that focus is firmly set on a Chase spot.

- Performance PR Plus

Surpsingly, Matt Kenseth has never won at Atlanta

Matt Kenseth has done well on all 1.5-mile tracks this season
Matt Kenseth / No. 20 Home Depot Husky Toyota Preview
AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway

No. 20 Home Depot Husky Toyota News and Notes:

KENSETH BY THE NUMBERS: In 24 Sprint Cup Series career starts at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Matt Kenseth has an average finish of 12.7, has completed 7,407 of 7,750 (95.6 percent) career laps. Kenseth has earned eight top-five and 14 top-10 finishes at Atlanta earning his best finish of second in March of 2010.

JOE GIBBS RACING AT ATLANTA: Joe Gibbs Racing has 81 Sprint Cup Series starts at Atlanta Motor Speedway earning 10 wins, 25 top-five, and 37 top-ten finishes. The organization has led for a total of 2,362 laps, has an average start of 17.1, an average finish of 15.4, and has completed 25,237 of 26,181 (96.4 percent) laps at the 1.54-mile track located in Hampton, Georgia.

KENSETH TIME: This week Citizen Eco-Drive introduces the Matt Kenseth Limited Edition Primo. Each box set features interchangeable genuine leather straps and a unique case back with the signature and racing number of Matt Kenseth, two-time DAYTONA 500® Champion and Citizen Eco-Drive Ambassador. Red accents on the watch are complemented by a checkered flag pattern on the back of the strap and etched on the case. Production limited to 5,000 pieces. For more information go to

RACE INFO: The AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway (1.54-mile) begins at 7:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, September 1st. The race will be broadcast live on ESPN, Sirius XM Channel 90 and PRN Radio.

From the Cockpit:
Matt Kenseth:
“Atlanta’s surface is really, really worn out but I think that these new cars are going to be the same and fast there just like everywhere else so far this year. I think you’ll see with new tires, the real fast runs have close to qualifying speeds, but the track is so worn out that a lot of it depends on the tire and the weather conditions. I think you’ll have a lot of fall off, and at the end of the run, everybody will be slipping and sliding. Everyone will be pretty slow, which is really good and it’s really great for racing.”

From the Pit Box:
Jason Ratcliff:
“We did the tire confirmation test a few weeks ago at Atlanta for Goodyear, and I think that things went ok. I feel like we had a few questions answered going into the test with the new tire we’re running there this weekend. We were able to learn a little bit about this entirely new tire and what the differences might be in order, to quantify that compared to what we ran there in the past. We didn’t leave Atlanta pounding our chests, but I feel confident going back that we’ll be better than we tested. We left there knowing that we had some work to do before we returned this weekend. I just want to be better than what we tested, but it was really good for us to get some laps there leading into this weekend.”

About Husky Tools:
With over 85 years of experience building the toughest hand tools, air tools and tool storage products, Husky Tools is rebranding. In an effort to become the complete, one stop shop “garage brand” for The Home Depot customers, Husky’s new product line can outfit an entire garage workshop with quality and affordable storage units, tools, work benches and more. With a focus on quality, innovation and value the brand has enhanced product quality, features and durability while continuing to focus on value. Husky delivers national brand performance at an as good or better price. Husky tools have a lifetime guarantee, and the brand has dedicated resources in Atlanta (888) HD-HUSKY and for customers to access.

- Joe Gibbs Racing

Atlanta Track Facts: 2013 Advocare 500

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2013 Top 12 at Atlanta Motor Speedway
 DriverRacesPolesWinsTop FivesTop 10sDNFsAverage FinishDriver Rating
1Jimmie Johnson21031113211.1108.3
2Clint Bowyer120005118.283.0
3Carl Edwards1503810315.199.8
4Kevin Harvick220158419.286.4
5Kyle Busch150134116.992.8
6Matt Kenseth2400814312.796.4
7Dale Earnhardt Jr.2521811212.593.3
8Kasey Kahne162268318.688.9
9Greg Biffle181039216.092.6
10Joey Logano60000026.056.5
11Brad Keselowski40012117.583.7
12Kurt Busch220349317.294.6

PosDriverWinsPts PosPointsPts From 10thStartsPolesT5sT10sDNFs
1Martin Truex Jr.114663-22240593
2Ryan Newman115659-262414105
3Tony Stewart119594-91210580
4Brad Keselowski011681-42417111
5Kurt Busch012679-62416112
6Jeff Gordon013674-112405105
7Jamie McMurray016647-38241150
8Paul Menard017638-47240161
9Aric Almirola018616-69240154
10Jeff Burton020592-93240252
11David Ragan126452-233240113
The top-10 drivers will make the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.  Positions 11 and 12 in the 12-driver Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup are Wild Cards, and will go to drivers outside the top 10 with the most wins, as long as they are ranked in the top 20 in points. If multiple drivers outside the top 10 tie for wins, the tie-breaker will go to the race winner with the highest points position.
Atlanta Motor Speedway Data
Season Race #: 25 of 36 (09-01-13)
Track Size: 1.54-miles
Banking/Turn 1 & 2: 24 degrees
Banking/Turn 3 & 4: 24 degrees
Banking/Frontstretch: 5 degrees
Banking/Backstretch: 5 degrees
Frontstretch Length:  2,332 feet
Backstretch Length:  1,800 feet
Race Length: 325 laps / 500.5 miles

Top 12 Driver Rating at Atlanta
Jimmie Johnson....................... 108.3
Jeff Gordon.............................. 104.8
Tony Stewart............................ 100.2
Carl Edwards............................. 99.8
Denny Hamlin............................ 99.7
Matt Kenseth............................. 96.4
Kurt Busch................................. 94.6
Dale Earnhardt Jr...................... 93.3
Kyle Busch................................ 92.8
Greg Biffle................................. 92.6
Martin Truex Jr.......................... 90.8
Kasey Kahne............................. 88.9
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2012 races (14 total) among active drivers at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Qualifying/Race Data
2012 pole winner: Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 186.121 mph, 29.787 secs. 09-01-12

2012 race winner: Denny Hamlin, Toyota , 142.020 mph, (03:32:45), 09-02-12

Track qualifying record: Geoffrey Bodine, Ford, 197.478 mph, 28.074 secs. 11-15-97

Track race record: Bobby Labonte, Pontiac, 159.904 mph, (03:07:48), 11-16-97

Atlanta Motor Speedway:
·        Originally called Atlanta International Raceway, the track was then a 1.5-mile paved speedway.
·        The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta was on July 31, 1960, won by Fireball Roberts from the pole.
·        The track was re-measured to 1.522 miles in the spring of 1970.
·        It was renamed Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1990.
·        The track layout was reversed and the track was re-configured to 1.54 miles between the two races in 1997.
·       There have been 105 NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Atlanta Motor Speedway since the first race there in 1960. Until 2010 there have been two races per year except 1961, which had three. This year marks the third season with only one event.
·        540 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway; 363 in more than one.
·       Richard Petty leads the series in starts at Atlanta with 65. Terry Labonte leads all active drivers with 55 starts, followed by Mark Martin with 52.
·        Fireball Roberts won the inaugural Coors Light pole at Atlanta in 1960 with a speed of 133.870 mph.
·        46 drivers have Coors Light poles at Atlanta, led by Buddy Baker and Ryan Newman with seven each.
·        Winning consecutive Coors Light poles has happened eight times at Atlanta, among six drivers.
·        Ryan Newman holds the record for most consecutive poles at Atlanta with six; spring of 2003 through 2005.
·        Youngest Atlanta pole winner: Terry Labonte (3/15/1981 – 24 years, 3 months, 27 days).
·        Oldest Atlanta pole winner: Harry Gant (11/14/1993 – 53 years, 10 months, 4 days).
·      43 different NSCS drivers have won at Atlanta Motor Speedway, led by NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardtwith nine wins. Bobby Labonte leads all active drivers with six; followed by Jeff Gordon with five.
·     11 drivers have posted consecutive wins at Atlanta Motor Speedway: Marvin Panch (1965 sweep), Bobby Allison (1972 sweep), David Pearson (1973 sweep), Richard Petty (1974 fall, 1975 spring), Cale Yarborough(1980 fall, 1981 spring), Bill Elliott (1985 sweep; 1992 sweep), Dale Earnhardt (1989 fall, 1990 spring; 1995 fall, 1996 spring), Bobby Labonte (1997 fall, 1998 spring), Jeff Gordon (1998 fall, 1999 spring), Carl Edwards(2005 sweep), Jimmie Johnson (2007 sweep).
·        Youngest Atlanta winner: Kyle Busch (03/09/2008 – 22 years, 10 months, 7 days).
·        Oldest Atlanta winner: Morgan Shepherd (03/20/1993 – 51 years, 5 months, 8 days).
·        Wood Brothers has the most wins at Atlanta in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with 12: Cale Yarborough(three), David Pearson (three), Marvin Panch (two), Neil Bonnett (two) A.J. Foyt (one) and Morgan Shepherd (one).
·        Nine different manufacturers have won in the NSCS at Atlanta; led by Chevrolet with 37 victories; followed byFord with 29. Toyota has two wins at Atlanta.
·        14 of the 105 (13.3%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Atlanta have been won from the Coors Light pole; the most recent was Kasey Kahne in 2006.
·       The fifth starting position is the most proficient starting position in the field, producing more winners (15) than any other starting position at Atlanta Motor Speedway; the most recent was Jeff Gordon in 2011.
·        26 of the 105 (24.7%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Atlanta have been won from the front row: 14 from the pole and 12 from second-place.
·        60 of the 105 (57.1%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Atlanta have been won from a top-five starting position.
·        83 of the 105 (79%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Atlanta have been won from a top-10 starting position.
·        Seven of the 105 (6.6%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Atlanta have been won from a starting position outside the top 20.
·        The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Atlanta is 39th, by Bobby Labonte in the fall of 2001.
·        No driver has swept the weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway across the three NASCAR national series.
·        Dale Earnhardt and David Pearson lead the series in runner-up finishes at Atlanta with seven each; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with five.
·        Dale Earnhardt leads the series in top-five finishes at Atlanta with 26; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 16.
·        Richard Petty leads the series in top-10 finishes at Atlanta with 33; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 25.
·        Ryan Newman leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average starting position at Atlanta with a 7.100.
·        Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average finishing position at 11.095.
·      All 12 of the 13 active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winners at Atlanta Motor Speedway participated in at least one or more races before visiting Victory Lane. Kevin Harvick won at Atlanta in his first appearance (2001). Carl Edwards won in his second appearance (2005).      
·       Ken Schrader competed at Atlanta Motor Speedway 13 times before winning in the spring of 1991; the longest span of any the 13 active NASCAR Sprint Cup winners.
·      Among the 13 active NSCS Atlanta winners Ken Schrader (13), Denny Hamlin (12) and Mark Martin (11) all made 10 or more attempts before their first win.
·      Terry Labonte leads the series among active drivers with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup starts at Atlanta without visiting Victory Lane at 55.
·        Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory (MOV) in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Atlanta Motor Speedway was the March 11, 2001 race won by Kevin Harvick over Jeff Gordon with a MOV of 0.006 second. It is the fifth closest finish scored by electronic scoring in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
·       There have been three NASCAR Sprint Cup races resulting with a green-white-checkered finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway (Scheduled No. of Laps/Actual No. of Laps): fall of 2007 (325/329); spring of 2010 (325/341) and fall of 2012 (325/327).
·      Qualifying has been cancelled due to weather conditions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Atlanta Motor Speedway five times; most recently the fall of 2010.
·      One active driver has posted his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light pole at Atlanta Motor Speedway: Terry Labonte (3/15/1981).
·      Two active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers have posted their first career start at Atlanta Motor Speedway: Jeff Gordon (11/15/1992) and Martin Truex Jr. (10/31/2004).
·       Two active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers have posted their first career win at Atlanta Motor Speedway:Kevin Harvick (3/11/2001) and Carl Edwards (3/20/2005).
·        Cale Yarborough leads all drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in laps led at Atlanta with 3,283 laps led in 47 starts. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers in laps led at Atlanta with 1,280.    
·        Three female drivers have competed at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Janet Guthrie, Shawna Robinson and Danica Patrick.
Starting Position
Finishing Position
Janet Guthrie
Janet Guthrie
Janet Guthrie
Shawna Robinson
Danica Patrick
NASCAR in Georgia
·        There have been 164 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races among12 different tracks in Georgia.
Track Name
Atlanta Motor Speedway
Augusta International Speedway
Lakewood Speedway
Savannah Speedway
Middle Georgia Raceway
Central City Speedway
Valdosta 75 Speedway
Jeffco Speedway
Oglethorpe Speedway
Augusta International Raceway
Columbus Speedway
Hayloft Speedway
·        176 drivers in NASCAR national series history have their home state recorded as Georgia.
·        11 of the 176 have posted at least one victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
·        Bill Elliott (five wins) is the only Georgia native to have won at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Bill Elliott
Tim Flock
Jack Smith
Sandy Springs
Fonty Flock
Bob Flock
Frank Mundy
David Ragan
Gober Sosebee
Harold Kite
East Point
Sam McQuagg
Jody Ridley
Reed Sorenson
Peachtree City
Buckshot Jones
Ronald Cooper