* The race for 11th place: Gordon's victory moves him back in contention for bonus award * Home-cookin': Georgia native Reed Sorenson will attempt his Cup Series debut at Atlanta NEWS AND NOTES Race for 11th Place: McMurray, Gordon move up...
* The race for 11th place: Gordon's victory moves him back in contention for bonus award
* Home-cookin': Georgia native Reed Sorenson will attempt his Cup Series debut at Atlanta
NEWS AND NOTES
Race for 11th Place: McMurray, Gordon move up ... Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet) won Sunday's Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway to move back into the hunt for 11th place. At the end of the season, the driver in 11th place in the standings will receive a point-fund payout in excess of $1 million, which will include a $250,000 bonus. Jamie McMurray (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge) finished seventh at Martinsville to move back into 11th place. He had held the position following the first Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event at New Hampshire International Speedway.
Here's a closer look at the drivers in spots 11 through 15, who are separated by only 62 points:
• 11th place -- Jamie McMurray currently controls that position. He gained three spots following his strong Martinsville finish.
• 12th place -- Kevin Harvick (No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet) after recording a 15th-place finish at Martinsville. He trails McMurray by 18 points.
• 13th place -- Joe Nemechek (No. 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet) did not move after a 13th-place finish at Martinsville. Nemechek trails McMurray by 48 points.
• 14th place -- Elliott Sadler (No. 38 M&M's Ford) dropped three spots in the standings following his 29th-place finish at Martinsville. Sadler trails McMurray by 49 points.
• 15th place -- Jeff Gordon moved up two positions after his win. Gordon trails McMurray by 62 points.
Georgia native Sorenson to make Series debut ... NASCAR Busch Series sensation Reed Sorenson (No. 39 Discount Tire Dodge) will attempt to make his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series debut this weekend at Atlanta. The 19-year-old, from nearby Peachtree City, Ga., is currently in fourth place in the NASCAR Busch Series, 429 points behind series leader Martin Truex Jr. Sorenson also will attempt to qualify for the Nov. 6 race at Texas Motor Speedway.
"I am excited about running two Cup races this season," Sorenson said. "I am glad that my debut will be at my hometown track, Atlanta Motor Speedway. I always want to do well in front of the hometown crowd. I have a lot of friends and family members that come out to the track, and it is a track that has been instrumental in my career since I was a kid."
In addition to racing for the series championship, Sorenson is currently locked in a close battle for the NASCAR Busch Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year Award. He is currently second, trailing Carl Edwards by eight points.
Chip Ganassi Racing has already announced that Sorenson will compete fulltime in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series next season in the team's No. 41 entry.
Hamlin impressive for Joe Gibbs Racing ... Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Ground Chevrolet) is set to make his fourth NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series start this weekend at Atlanta. Hamlin made his debut at Kansas Speedway and limped to a disappointing 32nd-place finish. He has since finished eighth at both Lowe's Motor Speedway and Martinsville Speedway. Hamlin's future may depend on how strong he finishes the year -- Joe Gibbs Racing is considering putting Hamlin in the No. 11 fulltime next season. Hamlin, who competed in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series last season, is competing for the Raybestos Rookie of the Year Award in the NASCAR Busch Series and is in fifth place in the series standings.
Pit Crew Spotlight: Gordon credits No. 24 team for win ... After capturing the checkered flag at Martinsville, Jeff Gordon was quick to give credit to new crew chief Steve Letarte (Cornish, Maine). The 26-year-old made the decision to stay out on the track rather than take new tires, putting Gordon in the lead.
NASCAR College Tour set for Atlanta visit ... The NASCAR College Tour presented by The Coca-Cola Company will make its third stop of 2005 at Clark Atlanta University on Thursday afternoon. The College Tour visits Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutions to raise awareness about the NASCAR industry and its career opportunities.
"Over the past several years, the NASCAR College Tour has helped us educate diverse college students about the professional opportunities available in our industry," said Tish Sheets, NASCAR's Director of Diversity. "We hope our continued outreach will help to further diversify all of NASCAR."
Among the activities planned for the day are a scholarship contest, interactive display units and a career panel with executives from NASCAR, Nextel, UPS and Coca-Cola.
Manufacturers Standings ... Chevrolet continues to lead the Manufacturers' Championship standings with 236 points. Chevrolet teams have won 16 of 32 races this year and recorded a total of 71 top-five finishes. Ford, meanwhile, is ranked second in the standings with 213 points. Its teams have claimed 13 wins and 57 top-five finishes. Dodge remains third in the standings with three wins and 159 points.
Teams to test Car of Tomorrow ... Several teams will test NASCAR's "car of tomorrow" on Monday, Oct. 31 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The goal of the "car of tomorrow" is to incorporate the latest safety advances, maintain competitive balance and contain costs. The project has been overseen by Gary Nelson, NASCAR Vice President of Research and Development, and is scheduled to debut in 2007. Among the safety enhancements is a larger "greenhouse," or driver compartment, giving drivers more room to enter and exit the vehicle. The new design also will move them closer to the center of the vehicle, and thus further away from impact.
The NASCAR Leaderboard ... Tony Stewart continues to sit atop the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series standings. In addition to leading the points race, Stewart also leads in six other key categories -- winnings, laps led, miles led, wins (tied with Greg Biffle, No. 16 National Guard/Charter Ford with five wins each), top-five finishes and top-10 finishes.
Milestone Markers ... Ricky Rudd (No. 21 Motocraft Genuine Parts Ford) is expected to make his 56th start at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Rudd will tie Darrell Waltrip and Bill Elliott for third all-time at the track behind Dave Marcis (59) and Richard Petty (65). ... Dale Jarrett (No. 88 UPS Ford) is expected to make his 600th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series start this week. ... Jeff Burton (No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet) is expected to make his 400th career start.
From the archives: Marcis wins at Atlanta en route to career year ... Wisconsin native Dave Marcis experienced the best season of his racing career in 1976. He drove a Dodge Charger for the K&K Insurance Racing Team with the legendary Harry Hyde as crew chief. Marcis had won two races on the season coming into the fall event at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and he started on the outside of the front row alongside pole sitter Buddy Baker. Marcis dominated the race leading 224 of 328 laps to pick up the fourth win of his career. A young dirt track driver from North Carolina named Dale Earnhardt made his third career start in that event. He finished 19th.
On Deck: Texas Motor Speedway ... The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series continues with the 34th race of the 36-race season at Texas Motor Speedway Nov. 6. This is the first year that Texas will be hosting a fall race. Greg Biffle won the spring race at the track.
The race: Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500
The track: Atlanta Motor Speedway, Hampton, Ga. (1.5-mile oval.)
The date/time: Sunday, Oct. 30 at 12:40 p.m. (ET).
TV: NBC, 12:00 p.m. (ET).
Radio: PRN/XM Satellite.
Posted awards: $5,939,437.
Race length: 500 miles, 325 laps.
Track layout: 1.5-mile oval.
2004 winner: Jimmie Johnson.
2004 polesitter: Ryan Newman.
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10: 1. Tony Stewart 5,957. 2. Jimmie Johnson 5,942. 3. Ryan Newman 5,894. 4. Greg Biffle 5,874. 5. Carl Edwards 5,808. 6. Rusty Wallace 5,791. 7. Mark Martin 5,787. 8. Kurt Busch 5,785. 9. Matt Kenseth 5,785. 10. Jeremy Mayfield 5,741.