The Frontstretch: Frontstretch Folio: Kobalt Tools 500 by Kim DeHaven -- Thursday March 15, 2007

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Frontstretch Folio: Kobalt Tools 500

Kim DeHaven · Thursday March 15, 2007

 

The Nextel Cup Series heads to Hampton, Georgia this weekend to take on the fastest speedway on the circuit. The Kobalt Tools 500 is the fourth race of the 2007 Nextel Cup season and will be broadcast live on Sunday, March 18th at 2 pm ET on Fox, with radio coverage by PRN affiliates nationwide. Competitors will make 325 circuits for 500.5 miles around the 1.54 mile high banked speedway in their quest for the checkered flag.

Records and Facts
Geoffrey Bodine holds the record for the fastest lap at Atlanta Motor Speedway, posting a qualifying lap with a time of 28.074 seconds and a speed of 197.478 mph to win the pole for the 1997 running of the NAPA 500. Buddy Baker holds the record for the most poles recorded at Atlanta with eight. Ryan Newman is the active driver with the most AMS poles at six. Kasey Kahne was the pole sitter for last year's event.

Dale Earnhardt holds the record for most victories at Atlanta Motor Speedway with nine wins. Bobby Labonte is the active driver with the most wins at AMS capturing six. Kasey Kahne won last year's event.

Dale Earnhardt holds the fastest 500-mile race record time at Atlanta. He attained the record of 3 hours, 3 minutes, 3 seconds with an average speed of 163.633 mph on November 12, 1995 in the NAPA 500. Bobby Labonte holds the fastest race record time in the track's current configuration, attaining an average speed of 159.904 mph in 3 hours, 7 minutes, 48 seconds on November 16, 1997 in the NAPA 500.

Morgan Shepherd is the oldest driver to grace Atlanta's victory lane. He was 51 years, 4 months, 21 days old when he won the Motorcraft 500 on March 20, 1993. The youngest winner at Atlanta is Jeff Gordon. Gordon was 23 years, 7 months, 8 days old when he won the Purolator 500 on March 12, 1995.

The closest margin of victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway came in 2001 when Kevin Harvick defeated Jeff Gordon by 0.006 second on March 11 in the Cracker Barrel 500. The greatest margin of victory came in 1986 when Dale Earnhardt defeated Richard Petty by 1 lap, 3 seconds on November 2 in the Atlanta Journal 500.

Chevrolet holds the record for most wins by a manufacturer at Atlanta Motor Speedway with 34 victories.

Richard Petty holds the record for the most starts at Atlanta Motor Speedway competing in 65 events.

There have been six season sweeps at Atlanta since the track opened in 1960: Marvin Panch (1965), Bobby Allison (1972), David Pearson (1973), Bill Elliott (1985 and 1992) and Carl Edwards (2005).

The Wood Brothers are the most productive car owners at Atlanta with 12 victories. Their last victory at the track came in the spring of 1993 with Morgan Shepherd as their driver.

Bobby Labonte's victory from the 39th position in the 2001 NAPA 500 is the deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Atlanta.

In the 95 races at Atlanta Motor Speedway, since 1960, 14 races have been won from the Bud pole.

More incentive to win
The total purse for the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway is $4,957,097.

The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Leader bonus, awarded to a race winner who is also leading the NEXTEL Cup points, will be worth $40,000 at Atlanta.

Track facts
Track/Race Length: 1.54 mile oval, 325 laps, 500.5 miles
Degree of Banking: Turns: 24 degrees
Straightaways: Frontstretch – 1471 feet , 5 degree banking; Backstretch – 1380 feet, 5 degrees.
Pit Road Speed: 45mph
Grandstand Seating: 124,000

Pre-race happenings
National Anthem: Darryl Worley

Quotable
“It’s bad-fast, fun to drive, and we seem to find ourselves near the front most of the time. Tony Jr. (Eury, crew chief) and the guys always give me great cars, I love driving there, and we’ve won there. We even have a Bud Pole, which for us isn’t very common. All of those things add up. It’s like having momentum on your side when you pull into the garage. You hold your head a little higher and you mash the gas a little harder.” – Dale Earnhardt, Jr. on Atlanta

“I’m looking forward to it. It’s one of the more intimidating tracks and one of the better tracks to race on. The high speeds and the old surface make it a lot of fun for our cars. I really love the challenge. So I’m excited after our Las Vegas win and really looking forward to getting to Atlanta.” – Jimmie Johnson on Atlanta

"We're excited Atlanta is the next stop on our schedule. It's one of my favorite tracks. It has multiple grooves, so you can run high, low or in the middle. I like to move around on the track during the race, searching for a different and faster line. The track is wide and fast. It's the perfect place for our team to get back on track and challenge for our first win of the season." – Kasey Kahne on Atlanta

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Recent articles from Kim DeHaven:

2009 Season Review: Elliott Sadler
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