Goodyear Tire Outlook for Kobalt Tools 500

After experiencing tire issues during the 2008 Kobalt Tools 500, the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company will return to Atlanta Motor Speedway with a much-improved tire design for the 2009 edition.

Goodyear conducted two tire tests in Atlanta preceding the fall's Pep Boys Auto 500 and tested once more in January to ensure a better tire for the Kobalt Tools 500. Compared to the tires from last fall provided by Goodyear, the left side tire for the Kobalt Tools 500 will feature a new compound to improve grip. Additionally, construction changes to both the left-side and right-side tires should improve handling during the Kobalt Tools 500.

"I am extremely happy with the tire that Goodyear has brought here to test," said Biffle following the January tire test. "They have a new left-side compound that puts a lot of driveability into the car.

"The old tire [in March of 2008] lost grip running on the bottom after five to eight laps," Biffle continued. "But this tire really hooks up to the bottom of the track for an extend run and you're not sliding all over the place. It's more like the old Atlanta that all of [the drivers] like."

"PRN Up To Speed" at AMS to Feature Kurt Busch, Allmendinger, Stremme

Kurt Busch, A.J. Allmendinger and David Stremme will headline the "PRN Up To Speed" event at Atlanta Motor Speedway, a question-and-answer session at the SPEED stage in the Display Lot near gates 13 and 14 on Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

Born as a partnership between SPEED and Speedway Motorsports, Inc., the parent company of Atlanta Motor Speedway, "PRN Up To Speed" allows fans to directly ask questions to some of NASCAR's biggest stars. The Performance Racing Network's on-air personalities will emcee the question-and-answer session.

Busch, the 2004 Sprint Cup champion, is the only driver of three to win at Atlanta Motor Speedway, taking the checkered flag in the 2002 Napa 500.

Each Speedway Motorsports, Inc. track will host a "PRN Up To Speed" session during their respective race weekends. Each question-and-answer session will take place at the SPEED stage at each facility, always located in an area free of charge at SMI tracks.

Spectacular Weather Forecast for Kobalt Tools 500 Race Weekend

With sun and temperatures in the 70s forecasted for all three days, it's arguable the weather forecast for the Kobalt Tools 500 race weekend could not be better.

According to www.weather.com , the Weather Channel's official website, the Hampton area is predicted to have outstanding weather for the Kobalt Tools 500 race weekend. Friday's forecast includes an afternoon high temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit in sunny conditions with a zero-percent change for precipitation. Saturday and Sunday both call for partly cloudy conditions and a slim, 10-percent chance for precipitation, with afternoon high temperatures of 73 and 76 degrees Fahrenheit respectively.

Georgia Natives Abundant During Kobalt Tools 500 Weekend

In addition to Georgia-born drivers Bill Elliott, David Ragan and Reed Sorenson, a number of NASCAR crew members from the Peach State will descend on Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Kobalt Tools 500 race weekend.

Including the three Sprint Cup drivers from Georgia, 16 participants in the Kobalt Tools 500 race weekend are competing at their home-state track. Below is a list of Georgia natives participating in the Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck Series races:

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Georgia Natives

Name Hometown Team Position
Bill Elliott Dawsonville No. 21 Driver
David Ragan Unadilla No. 6 Driver
Reed Sorenson Peachtree City No. 43 Driver
Jason Jones Rhine No. 5 Pit support
Brian Taylor Cuthbert No. 14 Mechanic
Shannon Keys Byron No. 8 Front tire carrier
Adam North Sonoraville No. 31 Jack man
Dion Williams Stone Mountain No. 5 Rear-tire carrier
Dwayne Moore Griffin No. 55 Rear-tire carrier
Matt Skeen Stone Mountain No. 88 Pit support
Larry Hart Chatsworth No. 1 Transport driver
Jayme Christianson Marietta No. 83 Media relations
Chip Wile Atlanta No. 12 Media relations

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Georgia Natives

Name Hometown Team Position
Scott Brook Carrolton No. 15 Mechanic
Jerel Dawson Danielsville No. 6 Pit support
Billy Ballew Atlanta No. 51 Owner

Three Autograph Sessions Announced Preceding Kobalt Tools 500

A pair of driver autograph sessions have been announced for the Kobalt Tools 500 race weekend featuring Tony Stewart and Travis Kvapil. In addition, the cast of CMT's Trick My Truck will be signing autographs at the Trick My Truck season five premier screening in the Atlanta Motor Speedway infield following Georgia Power Qualifying Night.

Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet Impala SS, will sign autographs from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 5 at the Office Depot in McDonough. The event is open to the public and 650 wristbands will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis beginning at 8 a.m. In addition, fans making purchases at the Office Depot will receive free No. 14 merchandise. The McDonough Office Depot is located at 121 Willow Lane.

Travis Kvapil, driver of the No. 28 Golden Corral car, will sign autographs at the McDonough Golden Corral on Friday, March 6 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. In addition to signing autographs, the first 200 fans in line will receive an autographed hat.

Celvin, Ryno and Rob from CMT's Trick My Truck will be signing autographs during the screening of the season five premiere of Trick My Truck in the Atlanta Motor Speedway infield. Hosted by the National Guard, the screening will take place immediately following Georgia Power Qualifying Night at the National Guard and CMT transporters adjacent to the Nationwide Garage.

Jimmie Johnson to Visit Lovejoy HS for Tough Tools for Cool Schools

Defending back-to-back-to-back NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson will visit Hampton's Lovejoy High School to donate a set of Kobalt Tools as part of the Tough Tools for Cool Schools program on Friday at 10:00 a.m.

Lowe's, Kobalt Tools and SkillsUSA have partnered to provide approximately $300,000 worth of Kobalt Tools to more than 500 SkillsUSA Building and Construction Trade Classes and Labs across the county.

Johnson is a three-time winner at Atlanta Motor Speedway, with his most recent win coming in the 2007 Pep Boys Auto 500.

Bobby Labonte to Visit Cotton Indian Elementary in Stockbridge on Friday

Prior to qualifying at for the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bobby Labonte will give a deserving fifth grader a ride to school before presenting Cotton Indian Elementary in Stockbridge with a computer donation on behalf of Ask.com and the Safe Search School program.

The Safe Search School presentation featuring Bobby Labonte, a six-time winner at Atlanta Motor Speedway, will take place on Friday, March 6 at 7:30 a.m.

Launched in the Atlanta area last month as a partnership between Ask.com, Web Wise Kids and NASCAR, the Safe Search School Program promotes internet safety education and awareness. Local Atlanta teachers and students participated in the program by visiting www.safesearchschools.com , conducting Internet safety lessons and submitting their own ideas for how teach fellow students to be safe online.

Cotton Indian Elementary was selected from nearly 200 entries by a Blue Ribbon Panel, comprised of Jim Safka, chief executive officer of Ask.com; Mike Helton, president of NASCAR; Judi Westberg Warren, president of Web Wise Kids; and Bobby Labonte, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver.