THE NEXT Nextel Cup RACE
NEWS, STATS and INFO
THE RACE: Golden Corral 500
Nextel Cup Race #4 of 36 for the 2004 Nextel Cup season
Updated: often, leading up to the race
- Race: Sunday, March 14, 2004 in Hampton, GA
- TV: FOX - 1:00pm/et
- Race Re-Air: on Speed Channel
Wednesday, March 17th [Fast Forward] at 4:00pm/et;
Thursday, March 18th [Full race] at 3:00pm/et;
Friday, March 19th [Fast Forward] at 2:00am/et
- Announcers: Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip, Larry McReynolds
- Pit Reporters: Dick Berggren, Matt Yocum, Steve Byrnes, Jeanne Zelasko
- Hollywood Hotel: Chris Myers and Jeff Hammond
- NASCAR on TV and Fox Sports
- Purse/Race Awards: $4,692,401 (was $4,130,954 in 2003)
- Entry List Links:
- 2003 Race Winner: Bobby Labonte, 146.048mph, started 4th
- Race Record: Bobby Labonte, Nov 16, 1997, 159.904mph
- Most Wins - Active Driver: Bobby Labonte, 6
- Most Wins - All Time: Dale Earnhardt, 9
- Most Poles - Active Driver: Bill Elliott, 5
- Most Poles - All Time: Buddy Baker, 7
- Most Top 5s: 26 - Dale Earnhardt
- Most Top 10s: 33 - Richard Petty [65 starts]
- Slowest Race Record: Fred Lorenzen, 1962, 101.983mph
- Oldest Winner: Morgan Shepherd, 51 years, 4 months, 27 days, 3/20/93
- Youngest Winner: Jeff Gordon, 23 years, 7 months, 8 days, 3/12/95
- Most Cautions: 11 - 11/1993
- Fewest Cautions: 1 - 7/9/1961BR>
- Most Caution Laps: 99, 11/6/1977
- Fewest Caution Laps: 7, 11/2/1986
- Most Running at the Finish: 39 - Oct 2002
- Fewest Running at the Finish: 10 - April 1964
- Worst Starting Spot to Win: Bobby Labonte, Nov 2001, started 39th
- Most Lead Changes: 45 - Nov 1982
- Fewest Lead Changes: 6 - 3 times, most recently June 1963
- Most Wins by Manufacturer: 30 - Chevrolet
- Fewest Laps Led by a Race Winner: 1 - David Pearson 9/17/1961
- Most Laps Led by a Race Winner: 308 - Cale Yarborough, 3/30/1969
- Races won from starting pos 1: 13 [of 89] 15%
- Races won from starting pos 2: 9 [of 89]
- Races won from starting pos 3: 8 [of 89]
- Races won from starting pos 4: 8 [of 89]
- Races won from starting pos 5: 13 [of 89]
- Races won from starting pos 6: 2 [of 89]
- Races won from starting pos 7: 4 [of 89]
- Races won from starting pos 8: 5 [of 89]
- Races won from starting pos 9: 6 [of 89]
- Races won from starting pos 10: 1 [of 89]
- Races won from starting pos 11,14,17,20,21: 2 [of 89]
- Races won from starting pos 12,13,15,18,19,22,31,35,37,39: 1 [of 89]
- Races won from the top 5: 51 of 89 - 57%
- Races won from the top 10: 69 of 89 - 78%
- First Career Starts at Atlanta: Rusty Wallace [3/80]; Jeff Gordon [11/92]; Scott Wimmer [11/2000]
- Practice: Friday, March 12th, 11:20am - 1:20pm/et; Saturday, March 13th, 9:30 - 10:15am/et.
- Happy Hour Practice: Saturday, March 13th, 11:10 - 11:55am/et on TV-FX live.
- Qualifying Draw: Friday, March 12th, 10:20am/et
- Qualfying Order: Thatsracin.com - Subway 400 qualifying order or Subway 400 qualifying order - NASCAR.com
- Qualifying: 2 laps for positions 1-38, Friday, March 12th at 3:00pm/et, TV-Speed Channel and live via PRN Radio, XM Satellite Radio and via NASCAR.com's Racecast (paid). Re-aired on Speed Channel at 8:00pm and at 2:00am/et on Sat, March 13th.
- NASCAR Online will have live lap-by-lap coverage of Winston Cup qualifying via the web (NOTE: this is a paid subscription service).
- Track Qualifying Record: Geoffrey Bodine, Nov 1997, 197.478mph
- Race Qualifying Record: Bobby Labonte, 194.957mph, March 1999
- 2003's Pole Sitter: Ryan Newman, 191.417, finished 10th.
- Track Specs:
Track/Race Length: 1.54 mile oval, 325 laps, 500.5 miles
Degree of Banking: Turns: 24 degrees
Straightaways: Banking: 5 degrees; Straights: Frontstretch - 1471 feet; Backstretch - 1380 feet.
Pit Road Speed: 45mph
Grandstand Seating: 124,000
- Track Homepage: Atlanta Motor Speedway site
- Last Year: see my 2003 Atlanta - Race 1 Info Page.
GOODYEAR TIRE NOTES
Goodyear Eagle Speedway Radials (Nextel Cup);
Goodyear Wrangler Speedway Radials (Truck Series)
Number of Tires Required:
Nextel Cup: Left - 1,500, Right - 1,500;
Truck Series: Left - 600, Right - 600
Tire Codes: Left - D-6814; Right - D-6816
Tire Circumference: Left - 87.4 in.; Right - 88.6 in.
Technical Inspection Inflation:
Left Front - 30 psi; Left Rear - 30 psi;
Right Front - 50 psi; Right Rear - 47 psi
Minimum Recommended Inflation:
Left Front - 24 psi; Left Rear - 24 psi;
Right Front - 47 psi; Right Rear - 44 psi
Estimated Pit Window: Every 60-65 laps, based on fuel mileage.
Notes: This is the first time this specific combination of Goodyear Eagles/Wranglers will be used in NASCAR competition . . . the previous combination of left- and right-side tires for Atlanta was in place for the last three Cup races at the track . . . Atlanta is the only track on which Nextel Cup teams are scheduled to compete on these tire codes in 2004 . . . both the Nextel Cup and Craftsman Truck Series teams will compete on the same tires this weekend, though the Cup tires are branded as "Goodyear Eagles" while the Truck tires are branded as "Goodyear Wranglers" . . . as on all ovals longer than one mile, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Atlanta . . . inner liner inflation should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire.
Goodyear Quote -- Mark Keto, Lead Engineer, Stock Car Tire Development: "The track surface at Atlanta has the highest wear
characteristics of any of the one-and-a-half-mile ovals NASCAR goes to, and a unique tire set-up is required because of that. With
Goodyear's new generation of tire, we will bring a softer sidewall construction to Atlanta this year, though the tread compound remains
the same as in the past."
RACE BONUS INFO
- The NASCAR Nextel Cup Leader Bonus is $10,000 at Atlanta Motor Speedway for leading the points and winning the race (Matt Kenseth last won the award, $30,000 at Las Vegas on March 7, 2004). The $360,000 annual award is paid at $10,000 per race to the point leader at the end of each event if the driver is also the winner. The award increases by $10,000 each week the it goes unclaimed. If the point leader is not the race winner at the end of the year, the balance of the award is distributed among the top-10 finishers in the drivers point standings(3-11-2004)
WEATHER, TV/RADIO COVERAGE
LOCAL NEWS, TRACK/FAN INFO
IN-CAR AUDIO SITES
QUALIFYING, PRACTICE and RESULTS
news and links
- Atlanta Race Notes: Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Golden Corral 500 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, scoring his 11th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 151st career start. His last victory came at Daytona, three races ago.
* This is Earnhardt Jr's., fifth non-restrictor plate victory. Earnhardt Jr. has scored victories at Phoenix, Dover Richmond and Texas. His other six victories came at Talladega (four) and Daytona (two).
* This is Earnhardt Jr's., first victory in 10 races at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
* Earnhardt Jr., scored his sixth straight top-10 finish at Atlanta.
* Earnhardt Jr., joins Matt Kenseth, each with two victories in 2004.
* Earnhardt Jr., became the fifth different winner in as many races at Atlanta.
* Matt Kenseth remained the point leader by 82 over second-place Tony Stewart.
* This was the second victory for Chevrolet in 2004. Ford also has two victories this season.
* Jeremy Mayfield (second) scored his first top-10 finish in 2004. It marked his fifth top-10 finish in 17 races at Atlanta and his best
finish since he finished second at Dover last September.
* Rookie Kasey Kahne (third) scored his third top-five finish in as many races.
* It is the fourth straight race in 2004 that a rookie has finished in the top three. Scott Wimmer finished third at Daytona. Kahne finished second at Rockingham, second at Las Vegas and third at Atlanta.
* Jimmy Johnson (fourth) scored his second top-10 finish in 2004. It was his third top-five finish in six races at Atlanta.
* Ryan Newman (fifth) scored his second top-10 finish in 2004. It was his fourth top-10 finish and best finish in five races at Atlanta
* Matt Kenseth (sixth) scored his fourth top-10 finish in 2004, the only driver to do so. This was his fifth top-10 finish in nine
races at Atlanta.
* Tony Stewart (seventh) scored his third top-10 finish in 2004. This was his sixth top-10 finish in 11 races at Atlanta - all in the last six races.
* Dale Jarrett (ninth) scored his second top-10 finish in 2004. This was Jarrett's best finish since he finished seventh at Bristol last August.
* Terry Labonte (24th) has been running at the finish in the last 46 straight races, a streak that began at Charlotte in October 2002.
* The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Leader Bonus will be worth $20,000 at Darlington Raceway.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(3-14-2004)
- StockCarFans.com - Rumblings - Atlanta: What a difference a week makes! In a turnaround about as far apart as Las
Vegas and Atlanta in distance, Dale Earnhardt Jr and his Budweiser Chevy were a handling machine today. For a guy who couldn't stay out of the garage last weekend, Little E was the dominant car at the end today (leading 52 of the final 60 circuits) at Atlanta Motor Speedway and captured the Golden Corral 500 by daylight (in NASCAR that's about 4.584 seconds). Little E's second victory of the season (and 11th of his Cup career) moves him into sole possession of 45th on the all-time win list. This was win #17 for DEI and was worth $180,078 from the over $4.6M in posted awards.
#19-Jeremy Mayfield (2nd) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Dover last September.
#9-Kasey Kahne should have kept his mouth shut. See what happens when you say you're getting tired of finishing second? You slump to 3rd!
#16-Greg Biffle (8th) had his best finish since he was 7th at Dover last September.
#88-Dale Jarrett (9th) had his best finish since he was 7th at Bristol last August.
#23-Dave Blaney (11th) had his best finish since he was 9th at Pocono last July.
#31-Robby Gordon (17th) had his best finish since he was 12th at Talladega last October.
#32-Ricky Craven (22nd) had his best finish since he was 19th at Lowe's Motor Speedway last October.
#10-Scott Riggs (25th) had his career-best finish today. He was 29th at Las Vegas last week.
STREAKIN....Matt Kenseth has 6 Top-10's in the last 7 races. Tony Stewart has 5 Top-10's in the last 6 races. Jeff Gordon has 4 Top-10's in the last 5 races.
The Rookie Report: Kasey Kahne (3rd) has taken three of the four races so far this season. He was followed by: Brian Vickers (21st), Scott Riggs (25th), Scott Wimmer (27th), Johnny Sauter (30th), and Brendan Gaughan (33rd).
This Week's Elevator....UP: Lonely Matt Kenseth (+24) is Operator of the Week (for the third time already in 4 races!). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Casey Mears (-25), followed by Elliott Sadler (-24), Kevin Harvick (-24), and Rusty Wallace (-24).
Jeremy Mayfield, Casey Mears, and Greg Biffle all led today for the first time this season. We've had 22 different leaders thus far....don't
think we're gonna threaten that 48 number from last year.
No changes at the top of the point standings this week....first and second remain Kenseth & Stewart, though Tony cut 6 points off Matt's lead (not that that means anything anymore). Every other spot in the Top-12 changed hands. The best move forward in the standings was made by Ryan Newman (21st to 10th), while teammate Rusty Wallace accomplished the same feat in the opposite direction (12th to 22nd).(StockCarFans.Com Nextel Cup Newsletter)(3-14-2004)
- Little E wins at Atlanta: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway after a tough race at Las Vegas last week. Evernham Motorsports nosed out great finishes with #19-Jeremy Mayfield 2nd and rookie #9-Kasey Kahne 3rd [two 2nd's and aa 3rd in the last three races]. It is Dale Jr.'s 11th career win, 2nd of 2004, and 5th non-restrictor plate win. The win moves Earnhardt Jr. up to 3rd in the points. #20-Tony Stewart led the most laps, with 127 and finished 7th. There were 8 leaders and 16 lead changes. Only three cautions in the race for 17 laps, two for debris and one for an engine.
Race Re-air: The race will re-air on Speed Channel, a three hour re-air on Thurs, March 18th at 3:00pm/et and in part via Speed Channel's Fast Forward on Wednesday, March 17th at 4:00pm/et and Friday, March 19th at 2:00am/et.
Race results at or NASCAR.com.(3-14-2004)
The Top 10 Finishers:
#8-Earnhardt Jr. (7)(55 laps led)
#19-Mayfield (16)(22 laps led)
#12-Newman (1)(43 laps led)
#20-Stewart (19)(127 laps led)
#16-Biffle (13)(2 laps led)
#24-Gordon (4)(38 laps led)
Cars on the lead lap: 12 (of 43 starters)
Off track/out of race (8):
Laps Leaders Unofficial (8 with 16 lead changes): #12-Newman (43 laps led); #24-Gordon (38); #20-Stewart (127, led most, mid-race leader); #31-Gordon (1); #16-Biffle (2); #41-Mears (37); #8-Earnhardt Jr. (55); #19-Mayfield (22);
Cautions: 3 for 17 laps
Caution 3 - Laps 246 - 251: #42-McMurray smoking, lost an engine.
Caution 2 - Laps 149 - 255: Debris on the back stretch.
Caution 1 - Laps 127 - 132: Debris in turn 1.
Who got a lap back on each caution at Atlanta - The Lucky Dog Pack?: (and their finish)
Caution 3: #0-Burton
Caution 2: #17-Kenseth
Caution 1: #23-Blaney
RACE NOTES: (as noted heard on TV or Radio)
---- final green flag stops occurred in the lap 195-205 range.
---- green flag pit stops for the leaders started around the lap 211 range.
---- #4-Lepage is back on the track around lap 190, after the teram made repairs, not sure what kind, Lepage is 35 laps down.
---- around lap 188, #8-Earnhardt Jr. and #20-Stewart got together when they went three-wide with #12-Newman.
---- around lap 178, #2-Wallace is back on the track with a new transmission, 33 laps down.
---- on lap 165, #12-Newman got loose and went high up the track in front of #8-Earnhardt jr., who bumped Newman when he couldn't slow down, both recovered and drover on, but #9-Kahne rocketed by both of them.
---- on lap 159, #77-Gaughan got too high and bounced off the wall and got a bit into #17-Kenseth, but no major damage and both drove on.
---- #24-Gordon came back to pit and have a rubber put bnack in a spring during the 2nd Caution.
---- #9-Kahne had to come back into the pits during the 2nd caution due to loose lugnuts on the right rear.
---- #2-Wallace lost 4th gear in his transmission and took it to the garage on lap 147.
---- Fox Sports is reporting that #41-Casey Mears has a pinched nerve in his shoulder and it is causing his arm to fall asleep as of the first caution.
---- all the leaders came in during the first caution.
---- on lap 114, #22-Wimmer and #20-Stewart got toether while Wimmer was trying to stay on the lead lap. Neither had much, if any damage.
---- leaders started making green flag stops on lap 106 range, with #16-Biffle being the first.
---- #43-Green made an unscheduled pit stop on lap 77 as the motor was running hot, the crew took a large piece of paper off the grill.
---- #17-Kenseth spun on pit road and did a full spin on lap 57, no damage but took some cones out, but lost a lot of time and had to come back around and do a drive-thru on pitroad under green.
---- lap leaders started to pit around the 55-60 range.
---- #29-Harvick came in after going a lap down on lap 42.
---- #38-Sadler is very loose and lost a lap around lap 30.
---- #80-Hillenburg came back on the track on lap 30.
---- #02-Belmont was told by NASCAR to pick up the pace or park the car on lap 12.
---- #09-Joe Ruttman came into the pits on lap 7 and is off the track.
---- #80-Hillenburg stalled and stopped on the pace lap and was towed to the garage before the drop of the green flag.
---- to the back, none
- TOP FIVE [unofficial] DRIVERS POINTS after Atlanta:
#20-Stewart, 591, -82
#8-Earnhardt Jr., 583, -90
#9-Kahne, 550, -123
#24-Gordon, 543, -130
For driver standings, see NASCAR.com.(3-14-2004)
- Yellow Rule Change: NASCAR made another slight adjustment to procedures under caution, announcing during Sunday's prerace drivers meeting that pit road would remain closed the first time by under each caution. The rule will take effect immediately and for all three of NASCAR's top series - Nextel Cup, Busch and Trucks.
"We're going to leave pit road closed and it's purely to make the environment safer and at the same time keep it fair competitive-wise," NASCAR President Mike Helton said. Helton said the move would help prevent the drivers from feeling the need to speed and catch up with the car in front of them, so as not to lose a competitive advantage when heading to pit road.
"If it means we have to leave it closed two laps, like at Darlington and Bristol, then we'll do that," he said. "So, if we bust you because we think you're going to fast (under caution), then you can't point back at us."
NASCAR also gave the drivers another warning regarding inappropriate language, citing a recent radio station's fine for airing profanity on a talk show. "If those things happen in our sport, we will not pay the fine. We'll pay it, but then we will come collect it," he said.()(3-14-2004)
- Happy Hour : [the final practice] for the Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway is over, the fastest were:
Slowest were #80-Hillenburg at 171.233 and #02-Belmont at 173.597, no speed for #09-Ruttman.
For speeds see NASCAR.com - practice 3.(3-13-2004)
- Saturday's first practice is over for the Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The fastest were:
Slowest were #02-Belmont at 171.058 and #09-Ruttman at 177.210.
No speed listed for #98-T Bodine, #80-Hillenburg, #72-Shelmerdine.
#25-Vickers lost a drive shaft, which took out his oil tank, then the shaft got into #45-Petty's car, doing some damage to the nose of the #45 Dodge, which was repaired in time for Happy Hour.
For speeds see or NASCAR.com - practice 2.(3-13-2004)
- Fastest to 20 Poles: with his 20th pole in 84 races, #12-Ryan Newman is the 2nd fastest driver to get to 20 poles, the list of the top 15:
Fonty Flock 68 race
Ryan Newman 84
Fred Lorenzen 87
Dick Hutcherson 91
Herb Thomas 104
Tim Flock 120
Rex White 135
Fireball Roberts 138
Buck Baker 157
Bobby Isaac 162
Jeff Gordon 171
David Pearson 180
Alan Kulwicki 180
Geoffrey Bodine 181
Bill Elliott 191
(NASCAR Statistical Services)(3-13-2004)
- Last time two drivers ran 1st and 2nd in two consecutive races [as #17-Kenseth and #9-Kahne did at Rockingham and Las Vegas] was in 1998 when Jeff Gordon won at Rockingham and Atlanta and Dale Jarrett finished 2nd.(FX Happy Hour Coverage), last time it was done 3 races in a row? also in 1998, when Jeff Gordon won at Pocono, Indy and Watkins Glen and Mark Martine was the runner-up in all three races.(3-13-2004)
- Largest after three races: #17-Matt Kenseth has the largest points lead after three races [88 points] since 1977 when Cale Yarborough had a 91 point lead.(FX Happy Hour Coverage) however, as we all know, after 26 races any points lead a driver will have, will be only 5 points.(3-13-2004)
- StockCarFans.Com - Ramblings - Atlanta: #12-Ryan Newman hasn't got any let up in him.....and I don't guess we should have expected any, huh? Newman grabbed his second Bud pole of the season for Sunday's Golden Corral 500 [Friday] at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and (as is often the case) it wasn't even close. His speed of 193.575 mph (28.640 sec) was 14/100th's of a second quicker
than #25-Brian Vickers.....almost able to be measured by an hourglass in a business where 1/10th of a second is an eternity.
Newman's top-spot was his second of the season and 20th of his brief Cup career. It was also his third in a row at AMS. If you're keeping score at home (and we know you do) his PPP (Phenominal Pole Percentage) is now up to .238. Ryan will be joined on the front-row by Brian Vickers, who equaled his career-best starting spot today. He had the outside pole last year at Rockingham in October and Phoenix in November.
#88-Dale Jarrett (6th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 6th at Talladega last October.
Welcome Back....Todd Bodine makes his first start of the season (it wasn't that long ago we had more Bodine's than we knew what to do with), and Andy Belmont makes his first Cup start since the Southern 500 in September of 1992! He started 32nd and finished 35th that day (he made 8 starts that year, btw), but he'll always be remember in this corner as the driver who brought a car to the Lehigh Valley Medical Center when Davey Allison was recovering from that horrible accident at Pocono in July of 1992 so that the doctors could help fit him with a cast on his shattered hand in order to start at Talladega the next race.
STREAKIN....Ryan Newman has 9 Top-10 starts in the last 10 races.
44 cars on hand...the lone Trouble Train occupant is Morgan Shepherd. Provisionals went to: Johnny Sauter, Joe Ruttman (I trust that team has a pit crew this week), Andy Belmont, Kirk Shelmerdine, and Andy Hillenburg.
This is a fast place (as though you needed to be reminded of that when the pole speed here is 5 mph faster than Daytona was)....and you've gotta worry when the spread from the Pole to the end of the field is over 20 mph. Couple that with a fairly narrow groove and we could be in for a lot of excitement come Sunday.(StockCarFans.Com Nextelcup Newsletter)(3-14-2004)
- Last time two drivers ran 1st and 2nd in two consecutive races [as #17-Kenseth and #9-Kahne did at Rockingham and Las Vegas] was in 1998 when Jeff Gordon won at Rockingham and Atlanta and Dale Jarrett finished 2nd.(FX Happy Hour Coverage), last time it was done 3 races in a row? also in 1998, when Jeff Gordon won at Pocono, Indy and Watkins Glen and Mark Martine was the runner-up in all three races.(3-13-2004)
- Largest Points lead after three races...since: #17-Matt Kenseth has the largest points lead after three races [88 points] since 1977 when Cale Yarborough had a 91 point lead.(FX Happy Hour Coverage) however, as we all know, after 26 races any points lead a driver will have, will be only 5 points.(3-13-2004)
- Back-up car:: #97-Kurt Busch wrecked in Friday's practice and had to go to a back up car for qualifying, unless the team changes engines, Busch will start where he qualified.(3-12-2004)
no engine change, so Busch will start 20th, where he qualified.(3-13-2004)
- Atlanta Qualifying Notes:
* Ryan Newman won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Bud Pole for the Golden Corral 500, lapping Atlanta Motor Speedway in 28.640 seconds at 193.575 mph. Geoffrey Bodine holds the track-qualifying record of 28.074 seconds, 197.478 mph, set Nov. 15, 1997.
* This is Newman's 20th career Bud Pole in 84 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races. His most recent Bud Pole came at Rockingham two races ago. It is his third straight top-five start this season.
* It is Newman's third consecutive Bud Pole at Atlanta. He has started sixth or better in all five of his Atlanta races. This is the first time that a driver has won three straight Bud Poles on a superspeedway since Kyle Petty won four straight at Rockingham (1991-1992).
* Brian Vickers had the second-fastest time with a qualifying lap of 28.780 seconds at 192.634 mph and will join Newman on the front row. It is his career-best start. It is his second start and second top-five at Atlanta.
* This is third Bud Pole for Dodge in 2004. Ford has the other Bud Pole this season.
* Jimmie Johnson (third) posted his second top-10 start in 2004 and his third in six races at Atlanta.
* Jeff Gordon (fourth) posted his second top-10 start in 2004. It is his 12th top-10 start in 24 races at Atlanta but only his second in
the past six races here.
* Elliott Sadler (fifth) posted his second top-10 start in 2004 and his third in 11 races at Atlanta, all in the past three races here.
* Johnny Sauter, Joe Ruttman and Andy Belmont used provisionals while Kirk Shelmerdine and Andy Hillenburg completed the 43-car field based on attempts. One driver failed to qualify for the Golden Corral 500: Morgan Shepherd.
* This will be Belmont's 11th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race, his first since Darlington in September 1992.
* No driver has posted a top-10 start in every race this season.
* Bodine's qualifying speed of 197.478 mph remains the fastest qualifying lap on a non-restrictor-plate track in the history of NASCAR.
* There have been 10 different Bud Pole winners in the 14 races at Atlanta since the track size changed in the fall of 1997. Only Dale Jarrett (March 2000 and 2001) and Ryan Newman (both races in 2003 and spring 2004) have scored multiple Bud Poles on the new configuration. Qualifying was canceled due to weather in October 2002.
* Thirteen races at Atlanta have been won from the Bud Pole. Nine drivers have won from the second-place starting position giving 25 percent of the victories posted there to the front-row starting spots. Fifty-one victories have come from the top five.
* The last spring race that was won at Atlanta by the Bud Pole sitter dates back to 1979 (Buddy Baker). The last time a race was won by the Bud pole winner at Atlanta was in November 1996 (Bobby Labonte). The best finish by a Bud Pole winner on the new track size was second by Jerry Nadeau in November 2000.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(3-13-2004)
- Newman wins pole at Atlanta: #12-Ryan Newman was the first driver out to qualify and held on thru the other 43 attempts to win the pole with a speed of 193.575mph at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Golden Corral 500. It is Newman's 20th pole in his 84th start. It is Newman's third straight pole at Atlanta Motor Speedway as he swept both poles in 2003. #25-Brian Vickers starts on the outside pole with a speed of 192.634. One driver failed to make the race, 3-time Atlanta winner, #89-Morgan Shepherd. Both he and #80-Andy Hillenburg have made 3 attempts in 2004, but Hillenburg had more owners points. #98-Todd Bodine made the race, qualified 38th.
For qualifying results see my Jayski's Atlanta Qualifying Page.(3-12-2004)
- Pole Progression at Atlanta: (who had the pole first, who got it next and who ended up with it)
#12-Ryan Newman, 1st out to qualify, 193.575mph, starts 1st
- Rookie of the Year Candidates: how fast were they and where do they start:
#9-Kasey Kahne, 190.811, starts 12th
#10-Scott Riggs, 190.156, starts 17th
#22-Scott Wimmer, 186.912, starts 37th
#25-Brian Vickers, 192.634, starts 2nd
#30-Johnny Sauter, 186.171, starts 39th prov
#77-Brendan Gaughan, 189.642, starts 25th
- Some Qualifying Notes:
#24-Jeff Gordon and his crew cheif are both under the weather at Atlanta.
Noticed: No YokeTv.com decals on the #4 Morgan-McClure Chevy, no idea why.
- Fastest Qualifier by Manufacturer::
Chevy: #25-Brian Vickers, 192.634, starts 2nd
Dodge: #12-Ryan Newman, 193.575, starts 1st
Ford: #38-Elliott Sadler, 191.344, starts 5th
Pontiac: #02-Andy Belmont, 172.630, starts 41st prov
Toyota - oops, not yet.......(3-12-2004)
- Friday Practice is over at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Golden Corral 500. The fastest were:
Slowest were #02-Blemont at 165.983 and #80-Hillenburg at 171.944
#98-Todd Bodine was the listed driver in the #98 car [? no idea what happened to Larry Gunselman].
Most laps ran was #45-Petty with 25, least amount was #88-Jarrett, #02-Belmont and #38-Sadler with 6.
For full speeds see or NASCAR.com - Practice 1 speeds.(3-12-2004)
- Qualifying Order links are posted. 44 drivers/cars listed. First driver scheduled out is #12-Ryan Newman [fastest in practice so far], last driver scheduled out is #02-Andy Belmont. See above for the links.(3-12-2004)
- Qualifying for the Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway is scheduled to start at 3:00pm/et and be televised live on Speed Channel, via radio at PRN Radio and XM Satellite - NASCAR Radio, live via NASCAR.com.(3-12-2004)
- Entry List links are is up, see above for links, 44 drivers are listed, including Andy Belmont in Hermie Sadler's #02 [no Carl Long?], #09-Joe Ruttmann [pit crew?], #23-Dave Blaney, #72-Kirk Shelmerdine, #80-Andy Hillenburg, #89-Morgan Shepherd and #98-Larry Gunselman.(3-10-2004)
- No Racing to the Caution Rule and Q&A
- Jayski's - 2004 Winston Cup Race Results Page
- How to Calculate Track Speeds: use the formula Speed = Distance divided by Time. Distance is Track Length, and Lap Time into Hours. Once hour is 3600 seconds, so the calculation for a 48 second lap at Daytona(2.5 miles) would be: Speed = 2.5 x (3600/48), = 2.5 x 75 = 187.500mph. For a 19 second lap at Bristol(.533 miles): Speed = .533 x (3600/19), = .533 x 189.474 = a speed of 100.990mph
- How to break a tie during qualifying?(same speed/time) When drivers are tied for a starting spot during qualifying, it is broken by owners points standings(not drivers).
- Links: Practice speeds, qualifying and results can be found at these sites:
- SAFER at Atlanta and Lowe's in the Fall: SMI's Humpy Wheeler and Dean Sicking, who created the SAFER (Steel And Foam Energy Reduction) barrier, said there's not enough time for Lowe's Motor Speedway to have the safety devices before the May 22 all-star race and the May 30 Coca-Cola 600. Wheeler said he expects Atlanta, which had a top qualifying speed of 194.295 mph last year, and Lowe's Motor Speedway will have the barriers for their October races. Wheeler said he questions whether the barriers are needed at Bristol, a high-banked, half-mile track. Kyle Petty suffered rib injuries when his car spun and hit driver-side into the wall at Bristol a year ago, and he missed one start.(Roanoke Times), more info on SAFER on my SAFER/Softwalls page.(3-14-2004)
- Lots of stuff at the Atlanta Pre-Race Show UPDATE: The Air Force Pre-Race show at the March 14 Golden Corral 500 will feature a Hootie, a Delta Boeing 767 flyover, a chorus of uniformed Army soldiers and a couple of lightning-fast Air Force jets. And don’t forget about Arnie. Darius Rucker, the lead singer of Hootie and the Blowfish, will perform Georgia On My Mind during the Air Force pre-race festivities. During Rucker’s vocal performance, a Delta 767 jet will buzz the crowd, announcing its recently announced status as the official airline of Atlanta Motor Speedway. Following Georgia On My Mind, the 82nd Airborne Division’s All-American Chorus will stoke up the crowd with their stirring rendition of the national anthem. The 82nd Airborne Division’s “All-American” Chorus, a non-profit organization, performs throughout the continental United States. Their primary mission is to serve the soldiers of the U.S. Army and Fort
Bragg, but their off-post performances continue to increase, so much in fact that they have become one of the Army’s greatest recruiting
tools. During the performance of the national anthem, the Air Force will showcase its impressive jets with a flyover of four A-10s. Once all the pomp and circumstance of the Air Force pre-race festivities have ended, golfing legend Arnold Palmer will give the famous command for drivers to start their engines, leading off the Golden Corral 500. Waving the green flag for the field of 43 will be James Maynard, the co-founder and chairman of Golden Corral Corporation. Pre-race activities will begin by 9 a.m., so fans are reminded to get to their seats early.(AMS PR)(3-11-2004)
UPDATE: As part of the festivities leading up to the Golden Corral 500, several United States special operations warriors from the Army, Navy and Air Force will be honored for their service. These warriors are all veterans of the global war on terrorism and have
recently served in Iraq or Afghanistan. "We are pleased to have the special operations warriors with us for pre-race festivities for the Golden Corral 500," said Bob McDevitt, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Golden Corral. "At Golden Corral, we recognize the importance of our armed forces veterans, and we celebrate their service, patriotism and love of country each year by serving free dinners at all 470 of our restaurants nationwide." Golden Corral, America's leading buffet restaurant, celebrates the military each year by providing free meals to all veterans and retired and active duty members of the U.S. Military on the Monday following Veteran's Day. On Military Appreciation Night last year, an estimated 252,000 veterans and retired or active duty military enjoyed free dinners at Golden Corral restaurants nationwide. These meals translated into a nearly $2.5-million thank you from Golden Corral. The military theme of the pre-race activities will continue during a modified aviation demonstration that will include an MH-47 Chinook Helicopter, an MH-60 Black Hawk, several MH-6 Little Bird helicopters and an MC-130E Combat Talon aircraft. The demonstration team is comprised of personnel from Army, Navy and Air Force special operations forces. Units represented include the 160th Special Operations Regiment (Airborne), the 75th Ranger Regiment and the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), the 21st Special Tactics Squadron, the 16th Special Operations Wing, and Navy Special Warfare Command.(AMS PR)(3-14-2004)
- Golf Carts, ATVs Not Allowed at Atlanta: Atlanta Motor Speedway officials are reminding fans that golf carts and ATVs will NOT be allowed onto the Atlanta Motor Speedway property for any race weekend, including the upcoming March 12-14 Golden Corral 500 weekend. All golf carts and ATVs brought to the speedway will be impounded upon entrance to the AMS grounds and returned upon exit.
The only exclusions to this new policy are for handicapped patrons using a single-passenger purpose-built motorized scooter. This policy was enacted because of the danger the golf carts and ATVs pose to both the drivers and other patrons, and it will be strictly enforced. As in the past, fans will be allowed to carry coolers or personal bags on property, and should expect to have their bags searched upon entry. No glass is permitted on speedway grounds. Fans with further questions should call the Atlanta Motor Speedway offices at (770) 707-7904 or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.(3-11-2004)
- Tickets Dwindling: Just a few days remain to purchase tickets to the Speed Zone Fan Hospitality tent, which on Sunday morning before the Golden Corral 500 will feature appearances by #99 SKF driver Jeff Burton, #45 Georgia-Pacific driver Kyle Petty and #48 Team Lowe’s Racing driver Jimmie Johnson. Tickets will be available through Saturday, March 13, and a limited number of seats remain. Interested fans should call the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211.
The schedule for the morning’s activities will be as follows:
· 9:10 a.m. – Kyle Petty
· 9:30 a.m. – Jeff Burton
· 10 a.m. – Jimmie Johnson
There are still two different packages available for the race morning Speed Zone fan hospitality tent, including:
Speed Zone – $99 -- See Burton, Petty and Johnson in person on race morning, as they answer your questions and talk about the day’s Golden Corral 500 · Take home a free souvenir program, program car, T-shirt and hat!
Speed Zone PLUS – $199 -- See Burton, Petty and Johnson in person on race morning, as they answer your questions and talk about the day’s Golden Corral 500 · Take home a free souvenir program, program car, T-shirt and hat! Plus receive a free pre-race pit pass For more information about the Speed Zone Fan Hospitality tent, call the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211.(AMS PR)(3-10-2004)
- More money at Atlanta:
Competitors in this weekend's Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway will be battling for a $4,692,401 purse, a record for the spring event at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The $4.7 million purse is a 15 percent increase over last year’s purse and a whopping $2.7 million more than the total awards five years ago. The inaugural NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race will also offer a sizable purse, with more than $469,632 in posted awards available for the March 13 EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 200. The Golden Corral 500 weekend kicks off Friday with Georgia Power Qualifying Day. On Saturday, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will make its much-awaited debut in the EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 200. The weekend culminates Sunday, with the Golden Corral 500 at the fastest track on the circuit Great seats are still available for all three days of intense racing action. Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster or by calling the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211.(AMS PR)(3-9-2004)
- Special Atlanta Guests: University of Georgia football fans will recognize two of the faces in the crowd for next Sunday’s Golden Corral 500. UGA standouts quarterback David Greene and defensive end David Pollack will be on hand to watch the excitement of 43 drivers competing at NASCAR’s fastest track. Greene and Pollack, both of Snellville, Ga., are roommates and teammates at Georgia, which finished the season 11-3. Both are returning for their senior season next year.(AMS PR)(3-8-2004)
- Atlanta Starter: James Maynard will have the best view in the house when the green flag flies for the Golden Corral 500 next Sunday – because he’ll be holding the green flag. Maynard is the Founder and Chairman of Golden Corral Corporation. Golden Corral is the owner or franchisor of approximately 500 restaurants in 41 states. The annual sales exceed $1 billion and, each week, on average, almost 3 million guests dine at Golden Corral.(AMS PR)(3-8-2004)
- Soldier Buys Tix to Atlanta Race...from Iraq: Jason Young is a corporal in the U.S. Army. He has spent the last 12 months in Iraq, logging over 350 combat hours as crew chief of a Blackhawk helicopter. Next month he’s coming home. And the first thing he’s doing is packing his bags to attend the Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Cpl. Young is taking advantage of a special offer he noticed on the Atlanta Motor Speedway website during his downtime in Iraq. That special offer Young noticed was an entire racing weekend, including tickets and hotel stay, for less than $199 per person. Young got a buddy interested and bought two. They each bought the bronze packages from Vroomz.com, which provided them each with a ticket to March 12 Georgia Power Qualifying Day, the March 13 EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 200 Craftsman Truck Series race and the March 14 Golden Corral 500 (backstretch ticket) plus two nights at an airport-area hotel. Each paid $199.50 for the packages. Vroomz.com president Amy Miller was so touched by their story, though, that she upgraded them to the “Golden Corral” package, which includes a frontstretch seat for the March 14 Golden Corral 500, and an upgrade to a luxury hotel. And after reading about this dedicated soldier, Atlanta Motor Speedway President and General Manager Ed Clark further upgraded his weekend by adding pre-race pit passes. Vroomz.com offers discount weekend packages, complete with race tickets and hotel options, starting at just $99 per person for one day/one night (based on double occupancy). Vroomz.com is also offering shuttle service, standalone hotel rooms and upgrades to suites and fan hospitality areas. To purchase the discount packages, hotel rooms or shuttle tickets, fans should visit www.vroomz.com or call (877) FAN-ROOM (326-7666).(AMS PR)(2-27-2004)
- AMS Adds to the their staff: Atlanta Motor Speedway officials announced the addition of Arleen Zulawski to handle sponsor services in the sales department. “Arleen’s energy and enthusiasm, in addition to her background in sponsor services, will complement our ongoing efforts to maximize our partners’ investments,” said Director of Sales Greg Walter. Before joining Atlanta Motor Speedway, Zulawski worked for three years as a client services manager for Palace Sports & Entertainment in Tampa, FL. While there, she supervised the implementation of more than 150 corporate partners’ marketing agreements, managed the implementation of the arena naming rights partner and season presenting sponsors. Zulawski will perform many of the same duties at Atlanta Motor Speedway, including research, ROI evaluations and promotional opportunities among their sponsors. A Florida native, Zulawski earned her Bachelor of Science in Exercise and Sport Sciences as well as her Master of Exercise and Sport Sciences from the University of Florida.(AMS PR)(2-25-2004)
- AMS widens track? just this little blurb in the AJC: If the March 14 Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway comes down to a four-wide finish, there will be plenty of asphalt to accommodate it. But that's not the main reason track officials widened the track near the start-finish line. "It's more for promotional purposes, to give room for more signage," track spokeswoman Angela Revell said.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(2-20-2004)
- Arnold Palmer named Grand Marshal: Golf great Arnold Palmer has been named the Grand Marshal for the March 14 Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Winner of 92 professional golfing championships, including four at the Masters, Palmer will give drivers the command to start engines on race morning. It’s a far cry from what he’ll be doing several weeks later in August, Ga., where Palmer will tee off for his 50th Masters tournament at Augusta National. Not only will Palmer help start the Golden Corral 500, but he will also be in the Golden Corral 500. Not driving, of course, but emblazoned on the #88 Dale Jarrett UPS/Arnold Palmer: Tribute To A Legend car. UPS Racing will pay tribute to the accomplishments of the great Arnold Palmer by running this special paint scheme for the Golden Corral 500. Palmer was named the “Athlete of the Decade” for the 1960s, is a charter member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, a member of the American Golf Hall of Fame at Foxburg, Pa., and a member of the PGA Hall of Fame in Florida. A renowned businessman and philanthropist, Arnold owns several golf courses around the country, is a consultant to The Golf Channel, is chairman of the USGA Members Program and served as honorary national chairman of the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation for 20 years. Call the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211 for more information on the weekend's race activities [and Tickets](AMS PR)(2-19-2004)
- Atlanta has sensors: Atlanta Motor Speedway has a timing and scoring system to accommodate a "freezing" of the field during NASCAR caution periods. The system, which consists of eight sensors around the 1.54-mile oval, was created by updating the network previously used during Indy Racing League events at the track. NASCAR officials have installed similar devices at Daytona International Speedway, Rockingham, Darlington and Las Vegas, and plan to have the sensors at all tracks this year. NASCAR is working on a way to keep drivers in their positions when the caution flag is displayed. This is especially important since racing to the yellow flag is no longer permitted.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(1-29-2004)
- New Slogan for AMS: Atlanta Motor Speedway is rolling out a new advertising campaign beginning this week that will feature the raceway ’s new slogan: Real Racing. Real Fast. “We spent this fall and winter reviewing fan research that our new advertising agency, the Tombras Group, had done, and we found that many fans didn’t realize we were the fastest track in NASCAR,” Atlanta Motor Speedway President and General Manager Ed Clark said. “You can bet that we’ll use this slogan at every opportunity until race fans are saying it in their sleep.” Atlanta Motor Speedway has held the distinction of being the fastest mile-and-a-half track in NASCAR since its reconfiguration during the summer of 1997. During the first qualifying event following reconstruction, Geoffrey Bodine blazed a lap around the smooth, wide lanes of Atlanta’s new quad-oval raceway in just 28.074 seconds, or 197.478 mph. Since then, speeds have slowed down slightly – in the 193-194 mph range – but are still faster than other 1.5-mile NASCAR tracks. In addition to being ultra-fast, the track has widened into a three-groove race track, producing two fantastic side-by-side photo finishes in the past few years. And that’s what AMS means by “Real Racing. Real Fast.”(Atlanta Motor Speedway PR)(1-26-2004)
- New AMS Ticket Manager: Atlanta Motor Speedway officials announced that Kelley Horton has been promoted to the position of ticket manager. Horton, 31, has served as interim ticket manager since longtime ticket manager Frances Goss retired in August after 38 years with the speedway. Working in the ticket office at Atlanta Motor Speedway is nothing new for Horton, who has been with AMS for 12 years. In fact, working in the ticket office has been Horton’s first – and only – full-time job. Horton resides in Griffin with her husband Bert and sons Tyler and Austin.(Atlanta Motor Speedway PR)(1-7-2004)
- Atlanta Truck Race Gets a Sponsor: Atlanta Motor Speedway officials announced that EasyCare, a leader in the vehicle service contracts industry, will sponsor the speedway’s inaugural NASCAR Craftsman Truck race on Saturday, March 13. The race, which will be held during the March 12-14 Golden Corral 500 weekend, will be known as the EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 200. EasyCare is a leading brand for APCO (Automobile Protection Corporation), which markets and administers vehicle service contracts (extended warranty) on all makes of cars, truck and RV’s. Founded in 1984, nearly two million vehicles have carried the EasyCare or
other APCO administered service contracts or warranties, including Volvo VIP, Mazda MEPP, Land Rover Assured, HondaCare and the new Jaguar Extra Mile program . The APCO organization has been recognized by regional and national publications from the Atlanta
Journal-Constitution to Forbes magazine as one of Georgia and America’s best performing companies. APCO/EasyCare has been involved in racing since becoming a sponsor of the Joe Gibbs Racing organization in 1995. APCO and EasyCare sponsored the ARCA race at Atlanta from 1996-1999, as well as the ARCA and Goody’s Dash events at Lowe’s Motor Speedway for the past seven years.
Tickets are on sale now for all three days of racing excitement during the March 12-14 Golden Corral 500 weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The weekend kicks off with Georgia Power Qualifying Day on Friday, March 12, as NASCAR’s finest will be pushing to break the seven-year-old qualifying record at the circuit’s fastest track. The action heats up on Saturday, March 13, for the EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 200. The weekend will culminate on Sunday, March 14, with the running of the Golden Corral 500. Weekend ticket packages for the Golden Corral 500 weekend start at just $59. For more information, call the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211, or call Ticketmaster.(AMS PR)(12-23-2003)
- Past track news: posted in the past at Jayski's Past Track News/Rumors - Atlanta Motor Speedway
- Start #600 for Schrader: Ken Schrader and the #49 Schwan’s Home Service Dodge head to the 1.54-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway this week for Sunday’s Golden Corral 500. Sunday’s race will be the 600th NASCAR Cup start of Schrader’s career. Driver of the Schwan’s Home Service Dodge, 48-year-old Schrader, is a native of Fenton, Mo., and the busiest driver in major league motorsports, Schrader has raced on virtually every type of speedway in virtually every type of race car, and continues a winning career that has seen him win over $20 million. The thoughts of #49 Schwan’s Home Service Dodge driver Ken Schrader heading into Atlanta: “If you were to catch me at a certain time, I might tell you that Atlanta is just another race at another track. But, that wouldn’t be entirely true. Atlanta will always be special to me and I suppose after Sunday it will carry a bit more meaning. Historically the Atlanta Motor Speedway has always been a place where we run well. We’ve won there before so, of course I’ll always remember it for that. But, when they give the command to fire the engines on Sunday that will be start Number 600 for my Cup career. Occasionally you reach a number, which is really all it is, that someone will label a milestone and then they’ll ask you to reflect back. When we started out racing in Cup over 20 years ago, I never thought about start number 600. Shoot ,I was just worried if I would get start number two! Honestly, I just feel fortunate that I have been able to race for this long at this level. Someone told me that I’ll be the 16th driver in Cup history to reach 600 starts… not everyone has had that opportunity, so I guess it’s pretty neat to know I’ll be one of the few who were fortunate enough to get to 600.(Williams Company PR)(3-9-2004)
- See the 2004 Team Chart which has links to past news for each team and info on each team.
PAINT SCHEME NEWS
- Arnold Palmer and UPS at Atlanta: Legendary golfer Arnold Palmer, whose popularity transcends the sport of golf, will enter his 50th consecutive Masters tournament in Augusta, GA in April 2004. To commemorate this historic event, Dale Jarrett, an avid golfer and the driver of the #88 UPS Ford Taurus, will drive a special golf-themed race car in the March 14, Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The special UPS/Arnold Palmer paint scheme will be debuted to the public at 10:00am/et on Tuesday, December 9, at www.racing.ups.com. Action Performance will offer a complete line of UPS/Arnold Palmer merchandise exclusively for UPSers, including golf bags, die-cast replicas and other racing merchandise.(12-8-2003)
- More Paint Scheme news can be found on Paint Schemes Gallery
SOME NOTES, RULES and NEWS
- NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Atlanta Nuggets: Bill Elliott [not entered] leads all active drivers with five Bud Poles at Atlanta.
The last spring race that was won at Atlanta by the Bud Pole sitter dates back to 1979 (Buddy Baker). The last time a race was won by the Bud pole winner at Atlanta was in November 1996 (Bobby Labonte). The best finish by a Bud Pole winner on the new track size was second by Jerry Nadeau in November 2000. Ryan Newman has competed in only four races at Atlanta. He won both Bud poles there in 2003 and has started sixth or better in all four. He is the only driver to post top 10 starts in the last four races at Atlanta.
A Chevrolet won both NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at Atlanta in 2003. Owner Joe Gibbs has seven wins in the last 15 races at Atlanta. Gibbs drivers Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte have both dominated at Atlanta in recent years. Labonte has scored six victories and 11 top-five finishes in his last 15 races at Atlanta while Stewart has scored five straight top-10 finishes at Atlanta, a streak that began there in November 2001. Stewart has led at least one lap in every one of those races. Dale Earnhardt Jr., is the only other driver that has led at
least one lap in each of the last five races at Atlanta. Stewart has scored one victory (March 2001) and four top-five finishes in his last four races at Atlanta. Dale Earnhardt (nine) and Cale Yarborough (seven) are the only drivers with more Atlanta victories than Bobby Labonte (six). Richard Petty also had six Atlanta victories. Ryan Newman has led at least one lap in all four races that he has competed in at Atlanta. Bill Elliott is the only active driver to sweep both Atlanta races (1985 and 1992). Ward Burton has been running at the finish in the 17 Atlanta races since November 1995. The Earnhardts' have been tough competitors at Atlanta in years gone by. Dale Earnhardt scored nine victories there and still holds the record for the most victories at the Georgia superspeedway. Dale Jr., has scored five straight finishes of seventh or better at Atlanta - streak currently matched only by Tony Stewart.
Kevin Harvick finished first and third in his first two races at Atlanta. Harvick has not been able to crack the top 15 in his last four races there. Mark Martin finished 42nd and 39th in both Atlanta races in 2003. Martin has scored two victories and 17 top-10 finishes at the Georgia track in 36 races there.
The "New Configuration" - 1.54 mile configuration completed November 1997. 16 drivers have raced in all 13 races since November 1997. Bobby Labonte won five of the 13 races. Bobby Labonte scored nine top-five finishes in those 13 races. Bobby Labonte led 766 laps at Atlanta since 1997, the most of all drivers. Bobby Labonte and Jeff Gordon have each scored nine top 10 finishes in the 13 races on the new track. Of the 16 drivers who have competed in all 13 races at Atlanta, only Rusty Wallace and Ricky Rudd have failed to lead on this configuration. Six drivers scored top-10 finishes in both races at Atlanta in 2003: Bobby Labonte, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart, Jimmy Spencer and Joe Nemechek. Bobby Labonte (five) and Jeff Gordon (three) are the only drivers to score multiple victories on the new configuration. Jeff Gordon (1,905 points) has outscored all drivers in the 13 races on the new configuration. Dale Jarrett scored 1,861 and Bobby Labonte has scored 1,859. They are the top-three point scorers at Atlanta since 1997. Matt Kenseth is the only driver to score top-10 finishes in each of the first three races this season. Kenseth scored a season-high 25 top-10 finishes in 36 races last season.
Michael Waltrip has finished 37th, 41st, 38th, 33rd and 37th in his last five races dating to Rockingham last fall. Waltrip, who finished 15th in the final 2003 point standings, is currently 38th in the point standings, his lowest points ranking after the first three races of a
season in his 19-year career. Waltrip has finished in the final top-20 point standings in 14 of his 19 seasons.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(3-10-2004)
- 45 and counting: after finishing the Cup race at Las Vegas, #5-Terry Labonte is now carrying a string of 45 consecutive races without a DNF (did not finish), the longest current streak in NEXTEL Cup. The modern-era record is 56 straight, set by Jeff Gordon in 2001-02. Labonte was one of only two drivers who completed all 36 races last season, the other being Kevin Harvick.(HMS PR)(3-10-2004)
RACE /CHAMPIONSHIP ODDs
STATS and STUFF