The drivers of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series do not have to travel much further than their back yards to get to the track this week. A hometown race this week, and the only night race of the 2013 Chase for The Sprint Cup for the vast majority of teams this week. There have been 109 races at Charlotte Motor Speedway, everyone knows the history that has been made at the track, so I'll spare the history for some statistics this week.
The cliché holds true this week as “it all comes down to this”. Six guys have already claimed their top-10 spots when The Chase begins next week at Chicago – Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, and Matt Kenseth…that’s 2 Chevy’s, a Ford, and 3 Toyotas in case you're keeping score.
This week the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to a fast, wide track this week at Atlanta Motor Speedway, with the two twins in the series to Atlanta being Charlotte and Texas with the familiar 24 degrees of banking in the corners and 5 degrees on the straightaway's.
After three nights of battling in the bullring that is Bristol Motor Speedway last weekend, the Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series head to Atlanta Motor Speedway for Labor Day weekend and more racing under the lights on the fast 1.5 mile speedway. With a track surface that is old and worn, having not been repaved since its reconfiguration in 1997, the track has gotten rave reviews from drivers who enjoy slipping and sliding around on the worn out asphalt.
Three night races are all that remain before the 2013 chase field is set. The sand in the hour glass is running out and the time to make something happen is now. The tension in the garage is palpable and the intense feeling of trepidation among the teams in the danger zone is growing with every passing race.
We're 1/3 of the way through the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, and it’s onto Speedweeks at Charlotte. A million bucks is up for grabs this week (actually 2 million), and unlike the NHL, the NBA, and the MLB, we're already on to the All-Star weekend.
Atlanta is one of those tracks where I really respect the drivers for hanging it all out there and really being on the edge of disaster at all times. Its aging surface lacks grip giving drivers with a background in dirt racing a competitive advantage over the field. It reminds me of the days of watching the DIRT modified's circle 'D-Shaped Dirt Demon' at my hometown track, the 3/8th-mile in Brewerton, NY.