Atlanta Motor Speedway Friday pit notes 1

Atlanta Motor Speedway Pit Notes - Friday, March 6, 2009 Part 1 RICK CRAWFORD MAKES IT 300: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Rick Crawford will make a series record 300th start Saturday in the American Commercial Lines 200 at Atlanta...

Atlanta Motor Speedway Pit Notes - Friday, March 6, 2009
Part 1

RICK CRAWFORD MAKES IT 300: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Rick Crawford will make a series record 300th start Saturday in the American Commercial Lines 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

"That's 300 steroid-free starts," quipped Crawford, driver of the No. 14 Circle Bar Ford.

Saturday's race will also be Crawford's 300th with team owner Tom Mitchell and truck manufacturer Ford.

Crawford has a top finish of fourth at Atlanta and will be hoping to chalk up series win number six during the record-setting weekend.

HARVICK LOOKING FOR MAGIC IN ATLANTA: When Kevin Harvick came to Atlanta Motor Speedway in March 2001, it was three weeks after the death of Dale Earnhardt, and his learning curve had just been drastically accelerated. His eyes were still wide with the enormity of his task when he arrived for his third Cup start.

With red-rimmed eyes, industry insiders and fans alike congregated in Atlanta for another weekend of tribute to the late driver, hoping for a little healing.

They had no idea how therapeutic the weekend would be.

Harvick dueled NASCAR great Jeff Gordon door-to-door in the closing laps to win the Cracker Barrel 500, putting Earnhardt's legendary -- albeit repainted and renumbered -- Chevrolet back in Victory Lane at Atlanta, the same place it had been the year before.

"Your first win is something you can't do twice, so coming back here every time is pretty special," Harvick said Friday during a question-and-answer session with the media.

But since that sadly magical first year of racing, Harvick had struggled dismally at Atlanta, failing to rack up a top-10 finish in the intervening 12 races, until last spring's seventh-place finish.

"Last year was a good year for us, and obviously that first year was good, but in between, this place has kind of plagued us," Harvick said. "Hopefully we can continue the momentum we had from last year."

KYLE BUSCH WARY OF NICE-GUY STATUS: Defending Kobalt Tools 500 winner Kyle Busch is sixth in points, fresh off a win at Las Vegas and has even started receiving compliments from his competitors. It's a whole new world for the brash young driver, but he's not quite sure what to make of the newfound respect.

"It's nice and great to have that, but it's not something I worry about. I'm out there doing my own deal and winning races and finishing up front," Busch said. "I'm not sure if they're just trying to get in my head or what."

-credit: ams

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup , NASCAR Truck
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Kevin Harvick , Kyle Busch