"Road to Richmond" Heads Through Atlanta
Atlanta is the final stop before the "Road to Richmond" reaches America's Premier Short Track
“ROAD TO RICHMOND” HEADS THROUGH ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY
Atlanta is Final Race Before NASCAR Reaches Richmond International Raceway for “One Last Race to Make the Chase”
There’s only one race remaining before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to Richmond International Raceway for “One Last Race to Make the Chase,” the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 on Saturday, September 12.
This weekend, as NASCAR heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway, all eyes are on the “Road to Richmond,” where the top 12 drivers in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship will be determined.
Three drivers – points leader Tony Stewart, second-place Jimmie Johnson and third-place Jeff Gordon – have clinched a spot in the 2009 Chase. That leaves 12 drivers battling it out for the nine remaining spots. Only 89 points separate seventh-place Ryan Newman from 14th-place Brian Vickers, which means anything can happen this weekend in Atlanta, leading to what is sure to be a great show at Richmond “under the lights” on Saturday night, September 12.
With all the scenarios that could happen this weekend in Atlanta, “One Last Race to Make the Chase,” at Richmond International Raceway is setting up to be an exciting event. One that will have the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers battling it until the checkered flag waves in the Chevy Rock & Roll 400.
"We’re right on the bubble,” said Matt Kenseth (currently 12th, the last position inside the Chase) in a NASCAR teleconference earlier today. “I’m glad we’re still in the top 12. It’s going to be a battle right till the last lap at Richmond. I don’t think there could be a better track to have the 26th race, the race before the Chase.”
Of the 12 drivers that will battle it out for the final nine Chase spots, many stand out going into Atlanta this weekend.
Juan Pablo Montoya, currently ninth in the standings, only scores a 75.0 in the driver rating this week. Montoya posted his first series top five at Atlanta in 2007, but has an average finish of 29.3 in his last four races there.
Mark Martin is currently 10th in the points standings. He’s got two Atlanta victories, however they were 15 years ago. With a driver rating of 85.9 and an average finish of 29.5 over his last four races at Atlanta, Martin may leave the door open for someone to take the 10th position heading to Richmond.
Kasey Kahne who is currently 11th also has an Atlanta win, however his driver rating of 84.1 and the fact that he’s finished outside the top 25 in four of the last six Atlanta races doesn’t fare well for a driver looking to make the 2009 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Matt Kenseth is sitting in 12th, the final position to make the Chase cutoff. With a solid driver rating of 97.0, Kenseth has finished in the top 10 in six of the last eight Atlanta races.
Kyle Busch in the 13th position once again finds himself on the outside of the top-12 in the Sprint Cup Series point standings. While Busch does have an Atlanta win, he tends to be inconsistent, with an average finish of 18.2, which could keep him out of the top 12.
Brian Vickers is currently 14th. According to NASCAR, Vickers is a wild card this weekend at Atlanta. He finished fifth there earlier in the season, which jumped him into the top 12, the only week he’s been there this season. Could this weekend bring a finish that vaults him back into the top 12 for Richmond?
The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup culminates in just one week at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday, September 12, at the Chevy Rock & Roll 400—“One Last Race to Make the Chase.” Once the checkered flag flies, the field will be set for the series championship. Tickets, which start at $40, are on sale now and can be purchased by clicking here or calling 866-455-RACE (7223).
The weekend starts on Friday, September 11, with the Virginia 529 College Savings 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race “under the lights.” Friday’s ticket includes practice and Fas Mart Pole Qualifying for the Chevy Rock & Roll 400, as well as practice and WRIC-TV8 Pole Qualifying for the Virginia 529 College Savings 250. Tickets are $45 (reserved) and $35 (general admission) and children 12 and under are admitted free with a ticketed adult in general admission sections on Friday only. Click here or call 866-455-RACE (7223) for tickets and information.