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WBKR NASCAR Preview – Advocare 500

Blake Smith

Following an exciting race at Bristol on Saturday night, the Sprint Cup Series will stay in the Southeast for this Sunday night’s Advocare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Originally called Atlanta International Raceway, the 1.5 mile track held it’s first NASCAR event in 1970 where Fireball Roberts won the race from the pole position. The track was renamed Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1990.

It has been reported this week that Martin Truex, Jr. has agreed to a contract extension with Michael Waltrip and primary sponsor, Napa Auto Parts. A press conference that will include the unveiling of the 2013 paint scheme is scheduled for Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The details of the extension will also be announced on Friday.

While the series was at Bristol last weekend, rumors surfaced of a crew chief change for 2013 at Stewart-Haas Racing. It was rumored that Greg Zipadelli would be the crew chief for Stewart’s #14 team next season. “No, that’s not true,” Stewart said during a promotion for sponsor Mobil 1 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.” That’s the first I’ve even heard about it. Nobody has thought about that or discussed that. We’re pretty comfortable where we’re at with our lineup right now.” Zipadelli is currently competition director for the organization and is Danica Patrick’s crew chief in her 10 cup efforts this season.

An announcement is expected next week involving Matt Kenseth and his move to Joe Gibbs Racing. It was announced earlier in the season that Kenseth would not be returning to the Roush Fenway Racing organization following the 2012 season. It is expected to be announced that Kenseth will pilot the #20 Home Depot entry beginning in 2013. Logano, who currently drives the #20 is rumored to be a candidate for the #22 Penske entry for 2013.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was treated and released from the infield care center at Kansas Speedway, following a hard crash in testing on Wednesday. Earnhardt, who is one of 8 drivers who tested the newly configured Speedway was reported to have a tire failure. Goodyear, who initiated the tire test, was working on tire compounds for the October event at Kansas Speedway.

After Saturday night’s Bristol race, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Jimmie Johnson, and Greg Biffle all had new hats to try on. They were their Chase for the Championship hats. They clinched their way into the race, following their finishes Saturday night. Any driver, who leaves Atlanta with a 49 point advantage over 10th place, will be guaranteed a spot in the Chase for the Championship. Depending on the final results from Sunday, Bowyer, Keselowski, Hamlin, Stewart, Kahne and Kyle Busch could clinch at least a Wild Card spot.

Fourteen races at Atlanta Motor Speedway have been won from the pole position. The last driver to do so was Kasey Kahne in 2006. The last 2 races at Atlanta have been won from the 5th starting position. A crew chief that can set up a car to transition from day to night will be very beneficial to a driver. That means the car must have adjustability built into it. Look for drivers and teams to take advantage of caution flags to pit and make changes to their cars as the track changes. One of the best crew chiefs in the garage is Chad Knaus, look for he and Jimmie Johnson to make their way to victory lane on Sunday night.

“Five-Time” Jimmie Johnson and crew will be bringing chassis #714 to the track this weekend. This chassis has competed at Kentucky, Texas and Charlotte. Nascar’s Most Popular driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be bringing the same chassis he won the Sprint Showdown race with back in May. After a disappointing finish at last weekend’s race, Ryan Newman and company will be bringing a brand new chassis to the track.

The 2011 Advocare 500 was postponed to Labor Day due to torrential Sunday rains, last year. Although Hurricane Isaac is wreaking havoc in the gulf coast, there is only a 30% chance of rain Atlanta on Sunday with a high in the mid 80’s and a low around 70, per weather.com.

Sunday’s coverage of the Advocare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway begins at 5:30 PM on WBKR and WBKR.com!

 

 

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