Fifteen NASCAR drivers will pull double duty during the Emory Healthcare 500 race weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway by competing in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series night race on Sunday, Sept. 5, as well as the Great Clips 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series night race on Saturday, Sept. 4.
Of the entries, 14 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regulars will compete in the Great Clips 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race, while one full-time Nationwide Series driver, Jason Leffler, will make his first foray into the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in the 2010 season.
Most notable among the entries in both events are NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points leader Kevin Harvick, the defending champion ofAtlanta's inaugural Labor Day weekend NASCAR Nationwide Series, and Kasey Kahne, the winner the first Labor Day weekend NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. In addition to last year's race winners, the field for both races will also include Kyle Busch, who recently became the first driver to sweep all three NASCAR national-touring series events in one weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway just two weekends ago.
Entries in both NASCAR races held on Saturday, Sept. 4 and Sunday, Sept. 5 include: Clint Bowyer; Kyle Busch; Carl Edwards; Kevin Harvick; Kasey Kahne; Matt Kenseth; Brad Keselowski; Jason Leffler; Joey Logano; Michael McDowell; Jamie McMurray; Paul Menard; Joe Nemechek; Ryan Newman; and Reed Sorenson.
Georgia-Native Elliott Noteworthy Among 47 Atlanta Sprint Cup Entries
Georgia-native and 1988 NASCAR champion Bill Elliott is among 47 entries for the Emory Healthcare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday, Sept. 5 and it appears local fans are guaranteed Georgia's most-famous driver will be starting in race's 43-car starting field.
As the only past NASCAR champion on Monday's entry list without a guaranteed starting spot, Elliott, a part-time driver of the No. 21 for Wood Brothers Racing, will earn a past champion's provisional entry into the 43-car field. Provided another former champion is not added as a late entry, Elliott is guaranteed to garner his 62nd-career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start at his home track, the most of any active driver. Richard Petty holds the all-time record for starts in Atlanta with 66.
While Elliott could qualify for the race based on speed during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying, the issue is a moot point as long as Elliott remains the most-recent past champion without a guaranteed starting spot.
Easing Georgia fan's worries about another past champion earning the provisional entry, former Cup champion Bobby Labonte already holds a locked-in entry with the No. 71 Chevrolet of TRG Motorsports on account of 2010 points.
With 35 drivers automatically entered on points and with Elliott taking the provisional entry, 11 drivers will vie for the final seven entries into the Emory Healthcare 500 during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying on Saturday, Sept. 4. These drivers include: Dave Blaney; Mike Bliss; Todd Bodine; Patrick Carpentier; Landon Cassill; Jason Leffler; Michael McDowell; Casey Mears; Joe Nemechek; Scott Riggs; and J.J. Yeley.
Admission to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying is included with tickets to the Great Clips 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series night race on Saturday, Sept. 4. Additional on-track activities on Saturday include Nationwide Series qualifying and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, in addition to fan activities in the Display Lot and at the Coca-Cola Fan Stage.
AMS 50th Anniversary Marked by Commemorative Sam Bass Program
To commemorate Atlanta Motor Speedway's 50th Anniversary season, the Speedway commissioned NASCAR artist Sam Bass to design a commemorative program cover to honor the historic occasion.
The cover, created by Bass, highlights memorable moments in the track's 50-year history – including the historic 1992 Hooters 500, Dale Earnhardt's photos finish win in 2000 and a classic Atlanta battle between David Pearson and Cale Yarborough – and stories in the program highlight the historic moments in Atlanta Motor Speedway's history that have made the track one of the most-storied facilities in NASCAR.
The Emory Healthcare 500 program will be available at the Speedway for just $8 or fans can purchase a packaged deal for $13 that includes the program, a protective sleeve, an Atlanta Motor Speedway t-shirt and a commemorative die cast car.
"Sam (Bass) has done a marvelous job capturing some of the greatest moments in Atlanta Motor Speedway history," said Ed Clark, president and general manager of Atlanta Motor Speedway. "His cover, along with the historical editorial content, will make the Emory Healthcare 500 souvenir program something that all NASCAR fans will want to have in their collection."
Fans will also have two opportunities to have Bass sign their program. Bass will sign program covers at the Speedway Children's Charities souvenir rig on Saturday, Sept. 4 from 4:30 p.m. through 5:30 p.m. and will also sign program covers following a question-and-answer session at the Coca-Cola Fan Stage at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 5.
"There is so much history at Atlanta Motor Speedway I wish the program cover size was five times as big to fit it all in," Bass commented from his Concord, N.C. studio. "I had a great time researching and presenting the key moments which link yesterday and today."
Mike Wallace Q-&-A Added to Coca-Cola Fan Stage Schedule for Saturday
A question-and-answer session with NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Mike Wallace has been added to the Coca-Cola Fan Stage schedule for Saturday of the Emory Healthcare 500 race weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sept. 3-6.
Wallace will appear the Coca-Cola Fan Stage at 11:45 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 4. Wallace currently ranks 17th in NASCAR Nationwide Series points and is a 21-year veteran of the Nationwide Series with four-career wins, spending 18 of those season also competing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Wallace also has four wins in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Additional Coca-Cola Fan Stage activities during the Emory Healthcare 500 race weekend include concerts by Drivin' N Cryin' and Colt Ford, fan contests, cooking demonstrations by Big Green Egg and question-and-answer sessions with 1960 NASCAR champion Rex White, Miss Sprint Cup and NASCAR artist Sam Bass, among others.
The Coca-Cola Fan Stage is located near Gate 15 in the Display Lot, situated outside of the Earnhardt Grandstand near the main entrance to Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Emory Healthcare to Conduct Free Health Screenings in Display Lot
Emory Healthcare, the title sponsor of the Emory Healthcare 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series night race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday, Sept. 5, will conduct free health care screenings in the Atlanta Motor Speedway Display Lot during the Emory Healthcare 500 race weekend.
Bringing a pit crew of healthcare volunteers to Henry County for the Emory Healthcare 500, Emory will conduct three varieties of screenings on the Atlanta Motor Speedway property, plus provide wellness information on smoking cessation and general health and wellness. These screenings will include blood pressure screenings, body mass index (BMI) screenings, and head, neck and skin cancer screenings.
According to Dane Peterson, chief operating officer for Emory University Hospital Midtown, providing health information and screening services to so many people during the race weekend was a major appeal to Emory Healthcare when discussing partnership opportunities with the Atlanta Motor Speedway.
"When we initially began considering the possibility of partnering with the Atlanta Motor Speedway for this year's race and future events, a key – in fact the key – allure in our minds was being able to extend our services to the many fans who would be attending this race and surrounding events," said Peterson.
"Having this incredible opportunity to reach out to so many men and women to provide potentially life-saving cancer screenings, blood pressure checks, and informative ways to live a longer and healthier life, is a perfect way for us to thank those in our community who have allowed us to serve them over the years, while also supporting this special event that means so much to our region," he continued. "At the end of the day, we hope to make a difference in the lives of more than a few individuals and ensure that they will be able to return for many more exciting Labor Day weekends at the Atlanta Motor Speedway."
The biggest Labor Day party in the USA is at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Emory Healthcare 500 race weekend on Sept. 3 -5. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway Ticket Office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS-TIX, or visitwww.atlantamotorspeedway.com.