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By the Numbers: Atlanta at Atlanta a Labor of love

September 01, 2011, ,

Atlanta Motor Speedway is a 1.54-mile quad-oval with 24 degrees banking in the turns. The frontstretch is 2,332 feet; the backstretch is 1,800 feet. The straights have 5 degrees banking.

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2 -- Combined top-10s at Atlanta for the top three drivers in points: Johnny Sauter finished eighth last year, his second start; Third-place Timothy Peters finished seventh last year, his fourth start. Second-place James Buescher finished 14th in his only start, in 2009.

Side note: Fourth-place Austin Dillon finished 10th last year, his only start at AMS.

3 -- Last-lap passes for the win at Atlanta: 2004 (Bobby Hamilton passed Mike Skinner); 2005 (Kyle Busch passed Jack Sprague); 2008 (Ryan Newman passed Ron Hornaday).

Side note 1: There also has been three green-white-checkered finishes at AMS, including 2004 (the inaugural race). Mike Skinner had led at the end of regulation.

Side note 2: The second, G-W-C finish, in the second Truck race at AMS, had a margin of victory of .008 seconds, the fifth-closest in series history. Ron Hornaday beat Bobby Labonte.

7 -- Races won at Atlanta from a top-five starting position; five have been won from the top three. Only three have been won from outside the top 10, with the furthest back being 18th (Ron Hornaday in 2005).

Side note 1: Three drivers have won from the pole: Todd Bodine (2006), Mike Skinner (2007) and Kyle Busch (2009).

Side note 2: Kevin Harvick led the final 56 laps at AMS last year; previously, the final lead change occurred within 15 laps in the other 10 races.

8.7 -- Average finish at Atlanta for Todd Bodine, who leads all drivers with six top-fives and seven top-10s (in 10 starts). Bodine has posted top-fives in the past three races, the longest current streak.

Side note: Bodine scored his first series pole in 2006, and went on to win the race. He has won four of the races in which he also won the pole.

Very Interesting

7 -- Wins at Atlanta for either Kyle Busch or Kevin Harvick Inc., including the past five races. Busch leads all drivers with four victories at AMS (2005, '07, '08 and '09) while KHI has won with drivers Ron Hornaday (2005), Ryan Newman (2008) and Kevin Harvick (2010).

Side note: Busch also has a runner-up and eighth-place finish is his six starts at AMS, and has led in each of them, as well; his average finish is 2.3.

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1 -- Last-lap passes for the win at Atlanta: 2002 (Jamie McMurray passed Joe Nemechek). McMurray led only that lap en route to his first series victory.

Side note: McMurray is the last series-only regular to win at Atlanta; only four of the 19 races have been won by non-Cup competitors: Jeff Gordon (1992), Ward Burton (1993), Johnny Benson (1995) and McMurray.

4 -- Consecutive top-five finishes at Atlanta for Kevin Harvick, the longest current streak. Harvick has finished second, second, first and fourth, respectively, in the past four years.

Side note: Harvick and Carl Edwards are the only drivers with top-10s in each of the past four races. Edwards hasn't finished worse than seventh during that stretch, and has only one finish outside the top 10 in six starts.

9 -- Times in the past 11 races at Atlanta there has been a green-flag stretch of at least 50 laps, including the past four.

Side note: The final green-flag stretch has been less than 20 laps in just four of the past 12 races, including the only two green-white-checkered finishes in 2004 and '08).

10 -- Place of finish for points leader Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in his only start at Atlanta, last year. Second-place Elliott Sadler has two top-10s in five starts (three finishes of 30th or worse, including two DNFs) but hasn't made a series start at AMS since 2006. Third-place Reed Sorenson has one top-10 (10th in 2009) in six starts; he has four DNFs, including three crashes (most recently in 2010).

Side note: Sadler has made 23 starts at AMS in the Cup Series, with three top-10s (most recently in 2005).

Very Interesting

3 -- Times in the past four races at Atlanta that Kyle Busch has led the most laps; he failed to win in all three races. Busch has three runner-up finishes and a third-place in seven starts.

Side note 1: AMS is one of four active tracks in the series at which Busch has never won. He has led more laps (457) than he has on 13 of the tracks at which he has won.

Side note 2: Only two of the last six races at Atlanta were won by the driver leading the most laps.

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3 -- Races at Atlanta that have ended in a green-white checkered finish; Kurt Busch has won the past two, including the only won when the leader at regulation did not win: Carl Edwards finished third in March 2009.

Side note: The most recent G-W-C (in March 2010) took two attempts, with Busch leading the final 10 laps.

5 -- Drivers currently in the top-10 in points who have three or more wins at Atlanta: 2. Jimmie Johnson (3); 4. Carl Edwards (3); 6. Jeff Gordon (4); 8. Kurt Busch (3); 10. Tony Stewart (3).

Side note 1: Drivers currently in the top 10 in points have won all but two of the past 15 races at AMS; Kasey Kahne won the other two (2006, '09).

Side note 2: One other full-time driver has three or more wins at Atlanta: Bobby Labonte has six, including five on the current 1.54-mile layout.

6 -- Different teams to win in the past seven races at Atlanta: Hendrick Motorsports (Jimmie Johnson in October 2007); Joe Gibbs Racing (Kyle Busch in March 2008); Roush Fenway Racing (Carl Edwards in October 2008); Kurt Busch (Penske Racing in March 2009); Richard Petty Motorsports (Kasey Kahne in September 2009); Stewart Haas Racing (Tony Stewart in September 2010).

Side note 1: Kurt Busch and Penske (March 2010) is the only repeat winner during that span.

Side note 2: Johnson's victory in 2007 completed the last season sweep at AMS; there were seven total in track history: March Panch (1965), Bobby Allison (1972), David Pearson (1973), Bill Elliott (1985 and '92), Carl Edwards (2005) and Johnson.

419 -- Consecutive Cup Series starts for Dale Earnhardt Jr., a streak that began at Atlanta in November 1999. Earnhardt has eight top-five and 10 top-10s in 23 races at AMS, but has not finished better than 11th in the past five races there.

Side note: Earnhardt finished third at AMS in March 2008, his only top-10 in the past eight races there.

Very Interesting

1 -- Times in the 27 races at Atlanta on the current 1.54-mile layout the winner started on the pole: Kasey Kahne in 2006. However, the past 14 races have been won from a starting position of 11th or better.

Side note 1: In all, 14 races at AMS have been won from the first starting position, including 13 pole winners.

Side note 2: Atlanta has been won 13 times from a starting position outside the top 15, but none since 2003 (Jeff Gordon started 19th).

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1 -- Drivers who have won a race at Atlanta in all three national series: Kevin Harvick has one win in each series.

Side note: Harvick won his Cup race at AMS in just his third career start, in 2001, taking over at Richard Childress Racing following the death of Dale Earnhardt.

1 -- Drivers who have won a Truck and Cup race at Atlanta in the same weekend: Kyle Busch in 2008.

Side note: Busch is the youngest race winner at Atlanta in both series: He was 20 years, 5 months, 27 days when he won the Truck race on Oct. 29. 1995; he was 22 years, 10 months, 7 days when he won the Cup race on March 9, 2008.

103 -- Cup Series race at Atlanta, one of just seven tracks that have hosted 100 or more races in NASCAR's top series. Two races were held at Atlanta in its first year in 1960 through 2010 with the exception of 1961, which had three. This is the first year Atlanta will have just one Cup race.

Side note: Atlanta becomes the 10th of the 23 Cup tracks to host just one race a year: Atlanta, Las Vegas, Fontana, Darlington, Infineon, Watkins Glen, Kentucky, Indianapolis, Chicago and Homestead.

1992 -- Year Jeff Gordon won his first Nationwide Series race, in March at Atlanta (the series' inaugural at the track). Gordon would make his Cup debut later that year in the season finale, credited with a 31st-place finish after a DNF (crash).

Side note: Gordon started on the pole in that Nationwide race and led 103 laps in his only start in the series at AMS. He has two poles and four wins in 37 Cup starts at AMS.

Very Interesting

1 -- Drivers who have won a Nationwide and Cup race at Atlanta in the same weekend: Carl Edwards in 2005. It was his first win in each series (the only driver to score his first Nationwide and Cup victories on the same weekend).

Side note: Edwards also won at Memphis and Atlanta in the same weekend in 2008, the only Nationwide/Cup weekend sweep at different tracks.


1 -- Laps led by David Pearson (Class of 2011) in scoring his first of four wins at Atlanta, in September 1961. He's the only driver to win at Atlanta by leading only one lap.

Side note 1: Pearson's victory over Junior Johnson (Class of 2010) was the first of five last-lap passes for wins at Atlanta. Darrell Waltrip (Class of 2012) was involved in the next two, beating Donnie Allison in November 1977 and losing to Neil Bonnett in November 1981.

Side note 2: The most recent last-lap place occurred in March 2005, when Carl Edwards beat Jimmie Johnson.

9 -- Wins at Atlanta for Dale Earnhardt (Class of 2010), most of all time. Earnhardt also holds the mark for most top-fives (26) and lead-lap finishes (also 26).

Side note: Earnhardt holds the Atlanta race speed record at 163.633 mph in November 1995.

308 -- Laps led by Cale Yarborough (Class of 2012) at Atlanta in March 1969, the most in any race there. It was his third of seven wins at AMS (he also led 301 laps in his first victory there in April 1967).

Side note: Yarborough led 3,307 laps at Atlanta, most of any driver.

33 -- Top-10s at Atlanta for Richard Petty (Class of 2010). Petty also made a series-high 65 starts at AMS, including the last start of his career in November 1992; he finished 35th (crash) but was running at the finish.

Side note: Petty scored two of his six Atlanta wins from the pole (March 1975 and March 1977), the only driver to do so more than once.

Very Interesting

12 -- Wins at Atlanta for Wood Brothers Racing (Glen Wood, Class of 2012), most of any team. Hall of Fame drivers Cale Yarborough and David Pearson had three each in the teams legendary 21 car.

Side note: Morgan Shepherd is the oldest race winner in Atlanta, driving the Wood's 21 to victory on March 20, 1993, at age 51 years, 5 months, 8 days.

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