What to Watch For: Atlanta Motor Speedway
By Gray Caldwell
CONCORD, N.C.— For the second consecutive week, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers will race under the lights.
Atlanta Motor Speedway is the venue this weekend. Before the race, which is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN, here are some notes to keep an eye on.
THIS WEEK'S PAINT SCHEMES: Sunday night, Kasey Kahne will drive the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS, Jeff Gordon will pilot the No. 24 Panasonic Toughbook Chevrolet SS, Jimmie Johnson will man the No. 48 Lowe's/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will take to the track in the No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet SS.
HENDRICK AT ATLANTA: Hendrick Motorsports has 11 wins at Atlanta Motor Speedway, which ranks the organization second all-time. Jeff Gordon most recently won for Hendrick Motorsports at the 1.54-mile oval in 2011, and his teammates Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne and Johnson have also reached Victory Lane at Atlanta within the last 10 years (17 events).
#JG750: On Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Gordon is scheduled to make his 750th career Sprint Cup Series start. Check out Gordon's career through the years in this photo gallery.
GORDON ACTIVE ATLANTA LEADER: The four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion leads active drivers with five wins, 16 top-five finishes, 26 top-10s and 1,297 laps led in 40 Cup starts at the 1.54-mile track.
TWO-TIME ATLANTA WINNER: Kahne has earned a total of two wins at Atlanta Motor Speedway, which is tied for his second-best track in career wins—he also has two wins at Pocono Raceway. In 2006, he started from the pole position, led 85 laps and crossed the finish line as the winner. Kahne’s second victory at the 1.54-mile track happened in 2009, when he led a total of 60 laps. Also worth noting is that 14 of the 106 (13.2%) Sprint Cup Series races at Atlanta have been won from the pole position, with the most recent one being Kahne in 2006.
JOHNSON AT ATLANTA: In 22 starts at Atlanta, Johnson has recorded three wins, 11 top-five finishes and 13 top-10s. He has an average start of 8.6 and an average finish of 11.9. Johnson has led 440 laps around the 1.54-mile track.
EARNHARDT AT ATLANTA: In 26 Cup starts at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Earnhardt has one win, two pole positions—which tie for his personal best at a track— eight top-five finishes and 12 top-10s. He has an average start of 15.9, and his average finish of 12.3 is his best at a track. He has completed 99.5 percent of all the laps he's attempted (8,359 of 8,400 total) there and has led 632 laps, his fourth-best at a track.
TOP-10 FINISHES: Gordon’s 16 top-10s in 2014 are tied with Earnhardt for series-best.