Labor Day Weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway is the next-to-last event before the field for the Chase for the Sprint Cup will be set. As a result of Atlanta's placement on the schedule, Labor Day Weekend will represent an incredible opportunity for drivers to salvage their season with a race victory.
The Chase field will first be filled with drivers with a race victory who are ranked in the top 30 of the standings. The remaining slots, if available, will be filled by the highest-ranked drivers in those standings without a race victory. As a result, drivers can solidify a Chase berth and salvage their season with a victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
If the Chase were to be set by the current standings, a list of notable drivers would miss NASCAR's playoff format. These drivers, however, have found varied levels of success at Atlanta, making Labor Day Weekend an even more compelling event on the NASCAR schedule.
A three-time Atlanta winner, Stewart knows all about the importance of Labor Day Weekend. In 2011, Stewart's top-five finish at Atlanta was just his third top five of the season. That finish, however, provided a major spark for Stewart, who went on to win five of the season's final ten races en route to the season championship.
A two-time Atlanta winner, his win in the inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup Series night race here in 2009 locked him into the Chase. Like Stewart, he knows plenty about Atlanta's importance for drivers seeking a spot in NASCAR's playoff format.
He has found success at Atlanta in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, winning twice. Although no victories in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, McMurray's success shows that he knows how to get around Atlanta Motor Speedway very well.
Martin Truex Jr.
He led in the closing laps in 2012 and his two best finish of his career at Atlanta, both top fives, came in the two most recent Labor Day events.
Atlanta has been a house of horrors for Bowyer. In his past six races here, he has just one top-ten finish and has failed to finish two of the past three events.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
The second-year NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver showed off his prowess for speed a year ago, winning the pole position for last Labor Day Weekend's event.
When NASCAR comes to Atlanta Labor Day Weekend, there will be no shortage of highly talented drivers with first-hand knowledge of how to get around Atlanta Motor Speedway's fast and tough surface at a high rate of speed.
When you combine those abilities with a sense of urgency, the stage will be set for the most exciting place to be on Labor Day Weekend.