GORDON MAKES IT 750 - When Jeff Gordon takes the green flag for Sunday's Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, it will mark a momentous, full-circle occasion, as Gordon makes his 750th career start.
Gordon began his storied NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career at Atlanta for the final race of the 1992 season. In the 22 years since that first race, Gordon has amassed four Sprint Cup championships, 91 wins and 76 pole positions. He has gone from the young kid with the mustache to the elder statesman with the graying temples.
"It seems like just yesterday that it started right here, over 20 years ago," Gordon said. "I love this track, love racing here, so it's pretty cool to have 750 happening here."
DAD IS GREAT, GIVES ME COOKIES LATE - Kevin Harvick had a special guest with him during Friday's Wind Creek Hotel & Casino Qualifying Night post-qualifying interviews: his 2-year-old son Keelan. The toddler was well-behaved throughout the 10-minute media session, sitting quietly munching a cookie next to daddy, who was describing his pole-winning qualifying run. Keelan did, however, inspire a room-wide chuckle when he stuffed most of that cookie in his mouth and started swiveling his head back and forth experimentally.
As Harvick heard the chuckles he looked over at his son, adorably wagging his head back and forth, cookie still firmly in his jaw.
"I'm already in trouble… giving him a cookie at 8:00 at night," Harvick said.
AGUILAR WINS USCS RACE - Running a car that had until this week been in storage for more than three years, Joey Aguilar started on the pole, led every lap and came home victorious in the Wind Creek Casino & Hotel Wetumpka Sprint Car Shootout Friday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Aguilar said for reasons that he didn't understand, his previous car owner took his car away last Saturday night. His crew scrambled to get the other car out of storage and race-ready in three days.
"We yanked it out of there, wiped the mothballs out of it, put our good motor in it and all my cast of characters came here and won the race," Aguilar said.
Morgan Turpen, a 21-year-old female from Cordova, Tenn., wrapped up the USCS "Road to Atlanta" Asphalt Thunder Tour pavement championship with a fourth-place finish. Turpen becomes the first female champion in any division in USCS sanction history.
TURTLE POWER - The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will invade Atlanta Motor Speedway, with Chris Buescher sporting the turtles on his NASCAR Nationwide Series Cars for Saturday's Great Clips 300 to benefit Feed The Children. There will also be a TMNT-themed kids' area in the AMS Fan Zone, located adjacent to the main gates of the speedway, featuring costumed characters, a photo station, micro-stock car racing, an obstacle course, cooling lounge and more.
"It's really cool to have the Turtles on board," Buescher said. "We've gotten a really positive response out of it. The kids love it."
CMS COUNTRY JAM - Charlotte Motor Speedway is known for its over-the-top pre-race festivities, but this year's event could put the rest to shame. The Band Perry will headline a three-hour pit-road entertainment festival prior to the Oct. 11 Bank of America 500.
"It's above and beyond what we've ever done before for the fans," Smith said. "This is going to be the biggest country music festival and pre-race party ever."
In addition to The Band Perry, there will also be concerts by Parmalee and Jimmy Wayne. NASCAR drivers Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will make appearance. There will be Q&A sessions, pit crew demonstrations, games and photo opportunities.
Fans can get close to the action with the purchase of a pre-race pit pass or driver introduction pass. To share information about the pre-race event, tweet #CMSCountryJam.