The Chase for the Cup comes to Atlanta Motor Speedway next weekend as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pep Boys Auto 500 and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series E-Z-Go 200 highlight what is the biggest racing weekend in Georgia.
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) is one of the most popular sport brands in the world, with television ratings second only to the NFL.
This weekend’s Pep Boys Auto 500 is the seventh race in the 10-race Chase for the Cup, the NASCAR equivalent of the playoffs.
NASCAR has a 36-race season and drivers are scored on a point system.
In the Chase for the Cup, the drivers with the most points after race 26 compete during the final 10 races to be crowned the NASCAR Sprint Cup champion.
Chase drivers are on an escalated point system, but they still must compete against all 43 drivers to win the race.
The weekend is packed with excitement starting at noon on Friday.
There will be several practice sessions, not to mention the crucial Hot Shot Qualifying Night where drivers will race two laps to qualify for position in Sunday’s big race.
Saturday is basically truck day.
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is where modified production pickup trucks go grill to grill.
Many drivers compete in both races and if you haven’t seen a herd of macked-out pick-ups roar around a race track, you haven’t lived.
Sunday kicks off with the Speedway Children’s Charities Track Walk where you can walk the mile and a half of asphalt where the action takes place.
A donation of $30 at foundation.NASCAR.com is required to participate or fans can register onsite for $35.
Just prior to Sunday’s race, local legend Bill Elliott will join his 1988 Melling Racing Team to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the team’s 1988 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship.
Bill was known as “awesome Bill from Dawsonville” and he is one of four drivers with Georgia roots driving in the race.
The other three — David Ragan, Reed Sorenson and Joey Logano — are all under the age of 22 and would love a win at home.
Ragan, born in Unadilla, has the best shot at a hometown win; he missed the Chase for the Cup by a hair as he is 13th in the standings.
However, Joey Logano is generating significant heat.
Logano moved to Alpharetta at age 8 where he cut his teeth in the Legends racing leagues at Atlanta Motor Speedway before moving back to Connecticut at age 13.
The 18-year old phenom known as “Sliced Bread” is 62nd in the rankings and recently became the youngest driver to win a Nationwide Series race when he won the Meijer 300 at Kentucky Speedway in June.
Whoever wins, it’s going be a great race so head down to Atlanta Motor Speedway and keep your hand on your hat, because you are sure to be blown away.
For ticket availability and pricing on the Pep Boys 500 visit www.ticketmaster.com, www.NASCAR.com, or www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.
Ira Miller may be reached by sending e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.