Atlanta Motor Speedway Sunday first notes

Atlanta Motor Speedway First Pit Notes - Sunday, October 29 OH SO CLOSE: Mark Martin has been all over the top-five in recent years at Atlanta but hasn't been able to snag the elusive victory. Martin hasn't finished outside the top-five since...

Atlanta Motor Speedway First Pit Notes - Sunday, October 29

OH SO CLOSE: Mark Martin has been all over the top-five in recent years at Atlanta but hasn't been able to snag the elusive victory. Martin hasn't finished outside the top-five since the spring 2004 race, racking up two seconds, one third and one fourth. Could today be the day? With the Chase on the line, Martin certainly hopes so.

One guy he'll have to beat is the driver of the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet, Jimmie Johnson, whose own record at Atlanta has been impressive. In the last six races at NASCAR's fastest track, Johnson has one win and five top-10 finishes.

Kasey Kahne has a strong record in the spring Atlanta race, finishing first, third and fifth, but his fall race weekends have been much less successful, turning in results of 35th and 32nd.

ANYBODY'S RACE: There have been eight different winners in the last nine races at Atlanta. By sweeping the 2005 season, Carl Edwards became the first repeat winner since 2002.

WORST START: When he lines up 17th for today's race, it will be Ryan Newman's worst start by far in Atlanta. In eight previous races, his worst start was sixth, when rain cancelled qualifying in October 2002. Newman won six consecutive pole positions at Atlanta, from March 2003 until October 2005. He was knocked off his perch at the March race, when he qualified second to Kahne.

RECORD PURSE FOR BASS PRO SHOPS 500: Drivers will be competing for their share of a record purse of $6,030,505 during today's Bass Pro Shops 500. This year's purse represents an increase of $842,159 over last fall's race and $5,991,005 more than the 1960 Dixie 300 in Atlanta.

PRE-RACE EXCITEMENT: An extensive pre-race show today will feature the Silver Wings Skydiving Team, a 20-minute concert from DecembeRadio, a Hell on Wheels stunt show, a ropes demonstration by Special Operations Blackhawk and U.S. Army Rangers and a flyover by a powerful B-52. Pre-race activities begin at 1:10 p.m. on the frontstretch stage.

BITS AND PIECES: The late Dale Earnhardt has more wins at Atlanta Motor Speedway than any other driver in history with nine victories. Bobby Labonte has the most wins among active drivers with six. ... Labonte and Earnhardt are tied at four with the most wins at the fall race in Atlanta. ... The fall race record at Atlanta was set by Dale Earnhardt in 1995; ironically, the record is 3:03:03 (average speed 163.333 mph). ... The most lead changes in an Atlanta race was 45 in the 1982 event. ... Thirty-two cars finished on the lead lap in 1998, a track record. ... Labonte is the top money winner in history at Atlanta with $2,598,337; Jeff Gordon is just behind him with $2,533,200. ... The closest finish in AMS track history was in 2001, when Kevin Harvick bested Jeff Gordon by .006 seconds. ... Dale Jarrett and Mark Martin have each finished on the lead lap 18 times at Atlanta, the most among active drivers. ... Chevrolet leads the manufacturer race at Atlanta with 32 wins.

-credit: ams

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson , Kasey Kahne , Carl Edwards , Mark Martin