A handful of drivers came to Atlanta Motor Speedway looking to race their way into position in the Chase for the Championship. While some drivers leave Atlanta in strong position, other depart having been bitten by the tough and challenging racing surface during the AdvoCare 500.
Of all the drivers that came to Atlanta in need of a shot in the arm to aid a bid to qualify for The Chase, perhaps none got a bigger boost than Tony Stewart, who ran up front early and finished third. With a race to go before the Chase field is set, he is in 10th place, 23 ahead of Brad Keselowski.
Although not in the top 10, Keselowski remains in good position after finishing sixth and being the top driver among those in the wild card standings.
Other drivers, meanwhile, did not fare as well. Clint Bowyer was involved in an incident with Juan Pablo Montoya, and his 36th place finish drops him to fifth in the wild card standings. David Ragan, who needed a strong finish to break into the top 20 in the standings, saw his day end early with an engine failure, dropping him to 23rd in the standings.
As it stands now, the top two wild card drivers are Keselowski and Denny Hamlin. Hamlin, who is ahead of Paul Menard in the standings, holds the final wild card spot, but Menard could vault ahead of Hamlin next week in Richmond.
As expected, Atlanta Motor Speedway played a pivotal role in shaping the Chase for the Championship. It’s yet another reason why Labor Day Weekend is one of the top events on the NASCAR schedule each year!