The action at the Atlanta Motor Speedway provided some of the most incredible racing that we have seen all year. This track is a favorite among so many drivers, it's a shame to see it lose a race next year.
But, that didn't mean the drivers were going to whine about that, it just meant they were going to put on one excellent show for everyone in the stands.
The story of this race for some drivers was the "what might have been" idea. Early on, pole-sitter Denny Hamlin looked so strong, and was a legitimate contender. But, after one restart everything went downhill, and fast. A blown engine caused him to finish dead last.
The drivers we expected to see out front were there, just at different points in the race. Early on, Kurt Busch had a car that was absolutely horrible. He probably would have finished mid-pack at best.
However, strategy soon came into play and we saw him come to the front. Even a late-race run-in with the No. 9 of Kahne didn't hold him back. A strong top-10 finish has put Busch officially in the 2010 Chase for the Cup.
Many drivers clinched spots in this race. Eight, to be exact. No driver was happier at the end of the evening than Tony Stewart. He led the most laps, and had by far the best car on both the short and long run as he broke his winless streak dating back to Kansas last year.
That victory meant a lot to one of our creatures, as only one chose Smoke to take the checkered flag. However, the big story of our creatures was how well everyone picked their drivers this week.
The top-five are still separated by 119 points, however the top-three in the standings have closed up immensely. Just 17 points stand between first and third in the standings, almost a mirror image as they stood last week. A couple Creatures swapped positions, but for the most part, the standings remained the same.
Here is how the standings look following the Emory Healthcare 500:
Kara Martin (3,502) Carl Edwards finished second (2)
Christopher Leone (3,499) Carl Edwards finished second (4)
Billy Fellin (3,445) Kurt Busch finished sixth (3)
James Broomhead (3,385) Carl Edwards finished second (3)
Dustin Parks (3,383) Kurt Busch finished sixth (3)
Sal Sigala Jr. (3,361) Jimmie Johnson finished third (2)
Misan Akuya (3,293) Tony Stewart won (2)
Rob Tiongson (3,280) Kurt Busch finished sixth (1)
Patti Rodisch (2,790) Kurt Busch finished sixth (0)
Alan Wade (1,722) Kurt Busch finished sixth (1)
Kyle Brandt (927) NO PICK SENT (2)
NEXT RACE: It comes down to one. The regular season comes to an end at the next race, and what better way to do it than under the lights once again.
The difference is this time, it's going to be a classic, Saturday night shootout. The track is the Richmond International Raceway. The race will be the Air Guard 400, which is the last race to make the Chase.
We will have a regular season winner following Richmond, which at this point could be anyone in the top-five in the standings. We will then shake things up, and make things interesting for the final ten races.
As a special treat for our creatures, I will be at the track this upcoming weekend, and will have updates immediately following the race. It is coming down to the wire, and will certainly be an exciting finish to the regular season in NASCAR.
Creatures, please have your picks for the Air Guard 400 e-mailed to me by 7 p.m. this Thursday, September 9.
NOTE: I will be traveling for most of the day Thursday to Richmond. The earlier you have your picks in, the better as I will not be able to check my e-mail until late afternoon or early evening on Thursday.
Your picks will be posted early Friday morning.