Kurt Busch Aiming for Season Sweep at Atlanta and Chase Bonus Points
Appearing comfortable in his Chase position, Kurt Busch will attempt to attack Atlanta Motor Speedway in an effort to secure needed bonus points entering the Chase for the Championship.
Sitting sixth in the standings with a 158-point cushion over 12th place, the final spot earning a Chase berth, Busch and the No. 2 team enter Atlanta with the goal of winning to earn 10 bonus points entering the Chase. A win would also make Busch the third driver in five years to sweep both NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the same season.
"We're going to go there and try and win the race and clinch our spot in the Chase so that we don't have anything to worry about in Richmond, so that we can try and go up there and get some bonus points there too," said Pat Tryson, crew chief of the No. 2 team.
Nearly locked into the Chase, the No. 2 team refuses to look ahead to the Chase and plan long-term strategy, but is instead focused on winning this weekend.
"I think the biggest advantage right now would be not so much focusing on the Chase tracks, but focusing in on trying to get yourself bonus points to get further up in the standings. I think that everybody, even the marginal guy, has already put some effort into focusing in on the Chase tracks," explained Tryson. "Anything can happen. We're fairly comfortable with our position, but hopefully this weekend we'll take care of business, get some bonus points and lock ourselves in."
Sprint Cup Driver Quotes on Atlanta Motor Speedway
Many drivers are eagerly anticipating the first NASCAR Sprint Cup night race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Here is a selection of driver quotes previewing the upcoming Pep Boys Auto 500:
Carl Edwards, a three-time winner at Atlanta Motor Speedway on the track:
"I just really like the race track, said Edwards. "It drives like a half-mile dirt track. The way you drive around it feels a lot like the tracks I grew up racing on, even though it's completely different it still gives me that same sense of the momentum so I really like that.
"Between the surface, tires and car moving around, you have to really drive the car and I enjoy that," Edwards continued. "That's probably why I run well there. All those things, plus I love going there; it's a fun place to race."
Jeff Burton, on Atlanta's date change to Labor Day weekend:
"I think it's good for the race track," explained Burton. "A night race on Labor Day weekend makes a lot of sense to me. It makes sense to move this race out of California because it was always hot when we went there. Atlanta is giving up a Chase race but, at the end of the day, better weather and night racing is going to be a huge advantage to the race track."
Kyle Busch, winner of the 2008 Kobalt Tools 500 at AMS, on his game plan:
"Win," said Busch with a laugh. "Atlanta, we have a little bit of work to do. We weren't as good as we needed to be there this spring. We'll just try to be better. We'll try to work as hard as we can to make the car do what it needs to do.
"There's not going to be any time for me to sit with Steve [Addington, crew chief] at Atlanta," Busch continued. "It's all a one?day show for Nationwide. I'm going to be running back and forth all over the place. That's not going to be much fun for Steve and I trying to communicate. We'll just have to get together Saturday night after Nationwide or Sunday morning [and] talk about what we've got, see what we can do to make it better ... I think my biggest concern is going to be Atlanta, just trying to get through Atlanta with a solid top?10 finish. If we can do that, I think we'll be okay."
Brian Zuckerman, senior VP, to serve as Pep Boys Auto 500 Grand Marshal
Pep Boys Auto has selected Brian Zuckerman to serve as Grand Marshal for the Pep Boys Auto 500 on Sunday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Zuckerman serves as Pep Boys' Senior Vice President for General Counsel & Secretary. He joined Pep Boys Auto in 1999 as a staff attorney.
Atlanta's PRN Up-to-Speed to Feature Truex, Jr. and Sadler on Speed Stage
Martin Truex, Jr. and Elliott Sadler will headline "PRN Up to Speed" at the Speed Stage in the Atlanta Motor Speedway Display Lot on Sunday, Sept. 6.
Sprint Cup stars Truex, Jr. and Sadler will join Performance Racing Network hosts Doug Rice and Brad Gillie for a question-and-answer session with fans prior to Atlanta's first Sprint Cup night race, the Pep Boys Auto 500. "PRN Up to Speed" will take place from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. on the Speed Stage.
Ed Clark Has a History of Night Race Promotion
While bringing a night race to Atlanta was a new endeavor for many at Atlanta Motor Speedway, track president and general manager Ed Clark had a bevy of experience to fall back on.
Clark worked at both Bristol and Lowe's Motor Speedways when each track first added night racing. Now, Atlanta Motor Speedway will run the Pep Boys Auto 500 under the lights on Sunday night.
"Night racing is heralded in the NASCAR community and I'm thrilled we will be racing under the lights this Labor Day weekend," said Clark. "The Pep Boys Auto 500 represents the beginning of a holiday night racing tradition in Atlanta and the return of Labor Day weekend NASCAR Sprint Cup racing in the Southeast. The response from fans and competitors within the NASCAR industry has been overwhelming. We look forward to hosting what may well be the top sporting event in Atlanta this year."
A number of NASCAR drivers will be making local appearances around the Atlanta area prior to the Pep Boys Auto 500 race weekend. Below are a few driver appearances preceding Atlanta Motor Speedway's first Sprint Cup night race:
On behalf of Prilosec OTC, Clint Bowyer will sign autographs at the Walmart located at 11465 Tara Boulevard in Lovejoy on Thursday, Sept. 3 from 7:00 through 8:00 p.m. Two hundred tickets will be distributed at 5 p.m. on a first-come, first-serve basis.
David Reutimann will be making an appearance at Dick's Sporting Goods at 1855 Jonesboro Road in McDonough on Friday, Sept. 4 from 5:00 to 7:00 PM.
Casey Mears will kick off a month-long celebration of Jack Daniel's birthday by signing autographs Friday night at Southside Steve's from 7 to 9 p.m. at 715 Industrial Blvd. in McDonough, Ga. On race day, Mears will sign autographs and meet fans at the Jack Daniel's merchandise trailer from 4:30 to 5:00 p.m. in the Display Lot. A limited number of tickets are available prior to his appearance and issued on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Papa John's Long-Lost Camaro to Appear at AMS with John Schnatter
The founder of Papa John's Pizza will make an appearance at Atlanta Motor Speedway prior to the Pep Boys Auto 500 to meet fans and display his beloved 1971 Chevrolet Camaro Z28.
"Papa" John Schnatter will greet fans and sign autographs at the Papa John's display in the Speedway's Display Lot on Sunday, Sept. 6 at 2:30 p.m. The Papa John's display area, including the Z28 Camaro that will be on display throughout race weekend, is located near Gate 15 on Speedway property.
Schnatter's beloved Camaro was the subject of a search-and-rescue mission that was played out on national television and resulted in the awarding of $250,000 to Jeff Robinson who transferred the title to Schnatter. Schnatter originally sold the car in 1983 to help his father's tavern stay afloat and, later, begin Papa John's.