Emory Healthcare 500 NASCAR Race Preview and Pick to Win

Race: Emory Healthcare 500
Date: Sunday September 5, 2010
Track: Atlanta Motor Speedway
Time: 7:30 pm ET
Channel: ESPN

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This weekend’s race is going to put us one step closer to the Chase for the Sprint Cup. After Atlanta, there is only one race at Richmond before that final top 12 is locked in. The bubble drivers are essentially no more after Clint Bowyer managed a decent finish after the potential for a horrible day a few weeks ago. He extended his lead over 13th place Jamie McMurray to 100 points.

Atlanta Motor Speedway is a great track to watch. It’s known as one of the most fan-friendly tracks on the circuit and it’s also one of the fastest, if not the fastest, track in the series.

This 1.54 mile quad-oval has 24 degree banking in the turns and 5 degree banking in the straights. The frontstretch is 2332 feet with the backstretch coming in at a respectable 1800 feet.

As I mentioned previously, this is a very fast track. With the speed that these guys can get coming out of the turns heading down the straight aways, it’s no wonder that some of the craziest crashes come here at Atlanta. That being said, the guys that you have to keep your eyes on are those ones that we see run well on the intermediate to super speedway tracks. Those guys include Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Juan Pablo Montoya, and Kurt Busch.

I think that the biggest threat is definitely going to be Kyle Busch. Busch is coming off a slew of wins, becoming the first driver to ever win all 3 series on the same weekend at Bristol. He’s also coming off another truck win at Chicago. He’s on fire right now and coming into Atlanta weekend with a lot of momentum. Although I can’t say that I care for his lack of clean driving, he is definitely a hardcore competitor week-in and week-out.

Other guys to watch include his big brother, Kurt Busch, who won the Spring race here in 2009 and this year. Kyle Busch won this race in the Spring of 2008, but has failed to produce since then. Kasey Kahne and Concrete Carl are a few more names to watch, but with their recent short comings and strings of bad luck, I really do not see them ending up in victory lane.

The biggest issue that these guys are going to have in terms of competition here are tires. With the speed that they carry, the tire wear is inevitable. There are quite a few lines that you can take here as well, and we’ve seen countless drivers run that high side coming out of the corners and then catch debris cutting down their tire. Clean tires are key with speed. Hopefully, Goodyear won’t disappoint and will prove to be a key player in determining strategy throughout the race.

Here’s a recap of your current top 12 in the points as we head to the next-to-last regular season race:

1. Kevin Harvick
2. Jeff Gordon
3. Kyle Busch
4. Carl Edwards
5. Denny Hamlin
6. Tony Stewart
7. Jeff Burton
8. Matt Kenseth
9. Jimmie Johnson
10. Kurt Busch
11. Greg Biffle
12. Clint Bowyer

With Mark Martin sitting in now 14th place, 1 point behind Jamie McMurray, it’s a far stretch to say that any of the guys outside the top 12 will have a shot at this point. Never say never though, because I’ve seen much crazier things happen. Stay tuned this weekend as we head on over to Atlanta for some good and fast racing this Sunday night!

Virginia’s Pick to Win the Emory Healthcare 500: Kyle Busch