Right Sides Only: A NASCAR Weekend Preview

Reno SouthContributor IMarch 5, 2009

NASCAR roars back into the Dirty South with this weekend's running of the KOBALT Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It's the 100th Cup race at AMS.

It all started back on July 31, 1960, when Fireball Roberts won the first race at AMS. Even though it's the greatest NASCAR nickname ever, Glenn "Fireball" Roberts earned the moniker as a minor league baseball pitcher.

As reported by RSO field corespondent HotFootLori, 57-year-old Dean Combs was busted for moonshining in North Wilkesboro, NC. Combs started 24 Cup races but was most well-known as a five time NASCAR Goody's Dash series champion. He also had worked for Junior Johnson as a crew chief in the past. Making 'shine...sounds like he may have still been employed by Junior.

Last Sunday's Vegas Cup race slam-dunked the competition on TV. Just over 11 million TV sets were tuned to the race on FOX, while the Lakers losing to the Suns was a distant second, with 4.7 million sets taking it in. For those keeping up with the Vegas over/under, Digger was on TV 38 times last week during the race.

Clint Bowyer will be banking with BB&T on his No. 33 Chevy this week. Aric Almirola hopes to mow through the competition on his Cub Cadet No. 8. Kevin Harvick is happy with his Reese's Cups No. 29, and Casey Mears may not want to DVR his performance in the DIRECTV No. 07 RCR car this week.

Geoff Bodine will be sitting in for younger brother Todd this week in the No. 64 Toyota, as Todd wheels the No. 35 Germain Toyota test car for his truck series team. Geoff is the track record holder with a qualifying speed of 197.478 MPH, back in 1998.

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Ryan Newman won six consecutive poles 2003-05, and has seven total at AMS. Starts great, finishes not so great. He has one top five finish at AMS. Jeff Burton has led 16 laps in the last 28 races at Atlanta.

Bobby Labonte last won here in 2003. In the 11 races since then, his average finish is 23.7. Matt Kenseth has a streak of five top 10 finishes going at AMS. In Jeff Gordon's last seven races, at AMS, his worst finish is 12th.

The Camping World Truck Series also holds the Rowdy Busch Benefit 250 on Saturday at AMS. Fifty-year-old Rick Crawford makes his 300th truck series start, while Matt Crafton gets his 200th start.

Would you believe, that after three races, Richard Petty Motorsports has all four of its teams in the top 25 in the point standings?

And speaking of Petty's, would you also believe that, despite not even racing this year, and having vastly inferior equipment when he did race, and even missing dozens of races, Kyle Petty has only one less win than Dale Earnhardt Jr. during these last three seasons?

Now ya know!

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