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Matt McLaughlin · Wednesday March 14, 2007
2007 Kobalt Tools 500 Driver Handicaps
Jimmie Johnson: Johnson won here in 2004 and has finished second twice in Atlanta Cup races, including last fall's event. Overall he has six Top 5 finishes here in eleven starts.
Matt Kenseth: Kenseth's best Atlanta Cup finish is fourth place, which he has done three times in fourteen starts. Those three finishes account for three of his four Top 5 results in those fourteen races. Kenseth has only led three of those races. He did win a Busch race here in 2004.
Denny Hamlin: Hamlin struggled in his two Atlanta starts but rebounded with an eighth place result here last fall even in the pressure cooker of the Chase.
Kevin Harvick: Most fans will recall that Harvick won here in 2001, just three races after being pressed into service in replacement of Dale Earnhardt after the Daytona tragedy. He went on to finish third in Atlanta that fall. Oddly enough, he's managed just one finish better than twentieth here in ten Atlanta Cup races since.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior won here in 2004 and finished third in both Atlanta Cup races last year. Overall, Earnhardt has finished sixth or better in eight of the last ten Cup races here.
Jeff Gordon: Gordon has won here three times but just once since the turn of the century. He does have top 6 finishes in his last three starts here and overall has eighteen Top 10 results in 29 starts.
Jeff Burton: Burton has just two Top 10 results in the last ten Cup races here.
Kasey Kahne: Kahne won this race last year and has Top 5 finishes in four of his six Atlanta Cup starts. He crashed out of the other two Atlanta races he competed in.
Mark Martin: Martin has two Atlanta Cup wins but the most recent of those victories was scored in 2004. He did finish second in this race last year and has Top 5 finishes in four of the last five Atlanta Cup races.
Kyle Busch: Busch has never scored a Top 10 finish here but he has finished twelfth in three of his five starts here.
Tony Stewart: Stewart won last fall's Atlanta Cup race and also won here in 2004. Overall he has Top 10 finishes in ten of the last eleven Cup races run at Atlanta.
Carl Edwards: Edwards won both Cup races here in 2005 and also has Top 10 finishes in two more of his five Cup starts at Atlanta. Edwards also won a Busch race here in the spring of 2005 to sweep the weekend.
Greg Biffle: Biffle has Top 10 finishes in five of the last six Atlanta Cup races and has led 386 laps in those races. Biffle also won a Busch race here in 2003 and has never finished any worse than sixth in six Atlanta Busch series start.
Casey Mears: Mears hasn't fared well at Atlanta with a best finish of thirteenth and an average finish of 23rd in eight Cup starts here.
Brian Vickers: Vickers has two Top 10 and no Top 5 finishes in seven Atlanta Cup starts. He's never led a lap at Atlanta.
Kurt Busch: Bush won here in 2002 but has just one Top 10 in the eight races run here since. Overall, Busch is a poor bet this weekend with six finishes outside the top 30 in twelve starts.
Clint Bowyer: Bowyer has finished 25th and 27th in his two stabs at Cup racing in Atlanta.
Ryan Newman: Newman has won the pole six times in ten Cup starts here and has started on the front row a total of eight times. But when it comes to the race, he hasn't fared as well with just one Top 5 result here in those ten races and no Top 10 results in the last six.
Martin Truex Jr.: Junior has finished 35th or worse in three of his four Atlanta Cup starts.
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Back in the day, you used to give a shout out to an honorable mention, or a possible â€˜dark horseâ€™.
May I suggest Bobby Labonte? Heâ€™s faired very well in Atlanta, albeit on Gibbs team (See Tony Stewart), but I think heâ€™s a Helluva driver at Atlanta (MIS too).