Pep Boys Auto 500 – Preview and Picks

Race: Pep Boys Auto 500
Date: Sunday September 6, 2009
Track: Atlanta Motor Speedway
Time: 7 pm ET
Channel: ESPN

Atlanta Motor Speedway is an awesome 1.5 mile concrete track with serious speed and serious tempers. Two weeks from now, the race is set to be an outstanding one as this intermediate track leads us into the closing laps for the Chase for the Sprint Cup begins.

At 1.5 miles, this track boasts some pretty good banking. The turns are 24 degrees and the straights are 5. The frontstretch is 2332 with the backstretch at 1800 feet, so you’ll see these guys gaining maximum speed out of turn 4 down the frontstretch. This quad-oval is nothing to sneeze at and certainly a track where dreams can come true or be crushed depending on how your luck turns out.

This track is concrete as opposed to some of the other surfaces of tracks throughout the series. For some reason, some drivers favor this surface over the others or vice versa. For Carl Edwards, concrete is always his friend. He does awesome at the monster mile at Dover and always runs strong here at Atlanta.


In recent history, this track has been dominated by Edwards, the Busch brothers, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, and even Tony Stewart. Johnson and Edwards both have 3 wins here with Stewart holding strong at 2 wins. This track is particularly favorable of the Roush teams, which means to keep your eyes peeled for Kenseth and Biffle.

My Pick: Carl Edwards.

Although Edwards has had some trouble maintaining his steam, I think this is the place where he can regain it. It’s no secret that he loves this place. In fact, he will be the first one to tell you that he waits to come here. Concrete must be in his blood because he’s always awesome on these surfaces. I’d keep your eyes peeled for Stewart and Johnson to have strong runs as usual, but they will certainly be players for a victory this weekend too. I think it’s due time for Carl to win one though and if he can do it anywhere, this is the place is will happen.

Here are your current top 12 in the points:,

1. Tony Stewart
2. Jimmie Johnson
3. Jeff Gordon
4. Denny Hamlin
5. Carl Edwards
6. Kurt Busch
7. Ryan Newman
8. Greg Biffle
9. Juan Montoya
10. Mark Martin
11. Kasey Kahne
12. Matt Kenseth

This is the next to last race before the Chase, so you can bet your bottoms that this is going to be one to watch. This track shouldn’t be nearly as bad as the amount of wrecks you see at a short track, but with the Chase this close, there’s no telling.

Kyle Busch still remains out of the Chase in 13th spot, and Matt Kenseth is hanging by a thread in 12th. I don’t think any of us have ever seen a calm Kyle Busch, so you can bet you won’t see him without a temper this weekend.

Richmond is the next race following this. This is definitely going to be a shakeup after this weekend, but look for Richmond to be crazier.

The points are still so far up in the air. It’s anyone’s game at this point. Only Johnson, Stewart, and Gordon are locked in. The other guys have a lot of driving to get done in the next few weeks.

Keep your eyes open and your butts on the edge of your seat. If they’re not already, they will be by Atlanta.