Wel­come to At­lanta

NASCAR vis­its the fastest cir­cuit in the South

The Covington News - - Sports -

The trav­el­ing cir­cus known as NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Se­ries rolls into to At­lanta Mo­tor Speed­way to­day for Sun­day’s Pep Boys Auto 500.

The race is the sev­enth out of the 10race Chase for the Cup, and the sec­ond of the sea­son for AMS.

Kyle Busch won the spring race, but the first-year Joe Gibbs Racing driver re­turns well back of points leader Jim­mie John­son, who has won two of the last four races and comes in with a 149-point lead over Greg Bif­fle.

John­son has been vir­tu­ally un­beat­able in re­cent years. He is at­tempt­ing to be­come only the sec­ond driver to win three straight cham­pi­onships, join­ing Cale Yar­bor­ough, who pulled off the three­p­eat 30 years ago, as the other.

With a 149-point lead, the odds are in his fa­vor. John­son’s team, led by crew chief Chad Knaus, is as good as it gets. De­spite a slow start by their stan­dards, — the No. 48 team won only one race over the first half of the sea­son, John­son has heated up at the right time. Since winning the All­state 400 at the Brick­yard in Au­gust, John­son has pulled the Lowe's’ Chevy Im­pala into Victory Lane four more times and trails only Busch in wins for the sea­son.

But John­son is quick to point out that he is merely one race over half­way from hoist­ing an­other cham­pi­onship and any­thing can hap­pen over the fi­nal four races.

"There's still four races, we can have a flat, get a wheel loose, cut an en­gine, get caught up in a wreck," he said in a re­cent ar­ti­cle in the Los An­ge­les Times. “The per­fect world is do [well] two or three more times and just lock it up and go to Homestead and hang out, and that would be the per­fect world.”

The race also marks the fi­nal time twotime Cup cham­pion Tony Ste­wart will

Amanda Briggs/Spe­cial to The News

The action at At­lanta Mo­tor Speed­way is as fast as it gets. Jim­mie John­son leads the cast of star driv­ers as NASCAR en­ters the sev­enth race of the Chase Sun­day at AMS.

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