Trailing rookie leader Willie Allen by just 25 markers, Clanton has only entered 12 of the 20 races held in the 2007 season. A driver's best 14 races are counted towards the Raybestos Rookie of the Year title, meaning Clanton has the opportunity to add two additional race finishes to his total, while Allen and Tim Sauter, who he trails, have already participated in more than 14 races.
One of Clanton's four top-10 finishes in the 2007 season came at Atlanta Motor Speedway, a track that Clanton calls home. Clanton will return to AMS for the Oct. 27 EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race, attempting to add to his rookie point total for 2007.
"I consider Atlanta Motor Speedway my home track," Clanton said. "I like Atlanta because the harder you can drive and the longer you can stand those intense speeds, the better you are going to be at the end of the day."
Clanton grew up racing a 130 horsepower Legends car around AMS' frontstretch quarter-mile oval, the Thunder Ring. Now, Clanton finds himself behind the wheel of a 700 horsepower NASCAR Craftsman Truck racing around the high banks of NASCAR's fastest track, Atlanta Motor Speedway. Ultra-fast speeds don't intimidate Clanton who says his worst wreck came at AMS.
"I had the worst wreck of my career in a truck at Atlanta," Clanton said. "It takes a couple laps of running wide open to forget about how hard you hit last time, but once you do, you keep the pedal on the floorboard.
"If the truck is handling right, you can run wide open and be aggressive. The more laps you can run wide open, the better off you are. Atlanta's track surface is pretty abrasive, so you have to try and take it easy on the right front tire."
Not abusing the right front tire is something Clanton admits he didn't do a very good job of in the spring Craftsman truck race at AMS, but is prepared to not make the same mistake twice.
"In the spring we were forced to pit early," Clanton said. "We tried to drive back up to the front too quickly and I damaged the right front tire in the process. We won't do that again this October."
Despite Clanton's early misfortunes which included a trip through the infield grass, he was able to salvage the day and score his second top-10 finish of the season. Another top-10 finish would go a long way in helping Clanton secure the Rookie title, a feat he wanted to accomplish before the season started.
"Our goal from day one was to win the Rookie of the Year title," said Clanton. "A win or a top-10 finish in Atlanta will really help us accomplish that goal. If we were to score that win, it would be extremely meaningful.
"I have a ton of laps around the Thunder Ring Legends track there. It's my home track and I grew up six miles from there. Also, I own two Zaxby's stores in Atlanta and Fairburn. Zaxby's is my sponsor and they are running a cool on-line contest. Four winners will be picked from across the country and if I win the Atlanta race, they will each win $100,000. If I win at AMS, there are going to be some very happy people, including myself."
Tickets to see Clanton compete in the EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race are on sale now and are available by calling the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at 877-9-AMS-TIX, 770-946-4211 or by visiting http://www.atlantamotorspeedway.com/