When the green flag drops for the Pep Boys Auto 500 on Sept. 6 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, history will be made when Atlanta hosts its first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series night race in the track's 50 years of operation. One driver, however, won't just be making history - he'll also be chasing history.
Kurt Busch will attempt to become the third driver since 2005 to sweep both NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the same season. The act has become a biennial occurrence, as Carl Edwards won both Atlanta races in 2005 with Jimmie Johnson accomplishing the feat during the 2007 season.
Busch will be hoping for a repeat of his dominant performance in the March race in Atlanta, the Kobalt Tools 500 where he led 234 of 330 laps en route to the win.
"Winning Atlanta earlier this year really validated all that we did in the off-season to advance our program," Busch said. "We looked at some of last year's set-ups and basically just wadded them up in a ball and threw them in the trash, because we've so learned much this year by popping new ideas into the car."
The victory springboarded Busch and his team to greater things as they are currently sit sixth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points standings.
It also helped Busch put the 2008 season in the rear-view mirror, one in which he finished 18th in the final points standings.
"I always laughed at guys who got the most-improved award, because that means that they screwed up something the year before," Busch said. "It's great to be back in the game."
Another strong outing at the Pep Boys Auto 500 could give Busch another springboard - this time into the Chase for the Championship with the race in Atlanta being the next-to-last race prior to the Chase field being set. A second win at Atlanta in 2009 would give Busch 10 additional bonus points when entering the Chase.
"Labor Day weekend is a special weekend because it really kicks us into our fall races. It's a three-day weekend for our fans. Racing on Sunday night, and they've got Monday to get home safe," Busch said. "Racing at night, it's much more enjoyable on the track temperature-wise and in the car temperature-wise. And of course, enjoyable for our fans as well."
History will be made this September during the Pep Boys Auto 500 on September 6 as Atlanta Motor Speedway hosts its first NASCAR Sprint Cup night race. Fans can be a part of history by calling the AMS ticket office at (877) 9-AMS-TIX, (770) 946-4211, or by visiting www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.