Tag Archives: Atlanta Motor Speedway

NASCAR Fans You Must Get to the Track Sometime

When I started writing about NASCAR in 2011 it was all about taking my passion and excitement for NASCAR racing to a new level. It was all about becoming a member of the media and getting even more access and knowledge about the sport. I was able to accomplish those goals but somewhere along the way I lost something and I didn’t even know it.

I’ll tell you a secret, well maybe not a secret but something I didn’t know. Most of the media people, who you know and love, at most of the tracks, actually watch the race on TV in the media center. They don’t see the commercials as the cameras still roll in the media center but they do watch the coverage on TV. They do have access real time to an actually live leader board and everything available via a scanner real-time if you’re at the track.

Since I have been a member of the media I actually have not sat in the stands looking at the whole track since August of 2013. This year at seemingly the last moment I decided to visit Daytona International Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway, as a fan, to see the races there. It was everything I expected from the eleven years I had attended races as a fan prior to being in the media.

While doing my weekly radio show it was discussed that the Atlanta race at times wasn’t very exciting. That there was too much single file follow the leader racing. I chimed in that it was a very exciting race but in an instant it dawned on me. As I reran the race in my head it occurred to me that yes while viewing on TV one might come to a much different conclusion as to how the race progressed.

There was two and sometimes three wide racing from approximately sixth place on back through the field throughout the race at Atlanta. There was drivers moving up through the field as they made their cars better and others that were dropping through the field as the reverse happened. That is what I had been missing.

NASCAR fans if your driver doesn’t happen to be up front and on TV there is no better way to get a feel for exactly how bad it is then being at the track. Seeing your driver either pass others in similar circumstances or being passed by other drivers. It’s very telling. At one point in time I happened to see all three Roush Fenway cars racing two and three wide for about 20th. Some were moving up and others not. It was very telling. Something you just can’t get a feel for watching on TV.

I recommend every NASCAR fan get to a track to see and experience the whole picture. Some drivers results may not look so bleak as they do on the score card.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Follow him on Twitter @brian_jr1 during the race and throughout the week for more NASCAR news and commentary.

Feature Photo Credit: 305909 Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images

What is Your NASCAR Excellent Adventure?

In 2001 my buddy asked me to go to the Brickyard 400 with him and a couple other guys. I went. Most NASCAR fans will tell you they were hooked when they went to their first race. I was hooked just watching practice from turn two of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I was reeled in watching the Busch Series race at Indianapolis Raceway Park.

One week later my buddy calls me up and tells me his other buddy from Milwaukee got tickets to the Pepsi 400 at Michigan International Speedway. He made me an offer. Since I had a camper they would provide the tickets. I accepted even though it would be the second race weekend in three weeks.

We left the Chicago area after work and arrived at the Brookfest Campground across from MIS at 2 AM to set up camp.  Needless to say the ambiance of camping during a NASCAR race weekend is much different than staying in a hotel in Indianapolis. I really like both but nothing beats an all weekend tailgate party; ah stories for another day.

The next day another group of guys with a pop up set up camp behind us. We got to talking and they told us they were going on after Michigan to Bristol to see the night race. Ever since that day in 2001 I have always wanted to do that, well not exactly that but attend two race weekends in a row; following the series from one venue to another.

This year the new schedule presented a possibility. The second race of the season will be at Atlanta Motor Speedway. So unlike the many times I drove through Atlanta to go to Daytona International Speedway to see the Daytona 500, I could, on the way back, stop and watch the races. Such is the beginning of an excellent NASCAR Adventure.

The logistics of the both of us making this happen was such that we won’t be able to be in Daytona for the qualifying races. We will be watching them on TV somewhere between the Chicago area and Daytona. We will make the rest of the races that weekend and the races at Atlanta. NASCAR dream fulfilled.

I get to fulfill my NASCAR adventure, what is yours? Take time to tell us about it in the comment section below and who knows maybe we will see you along the way on your adventure.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Follow him on Twitter @brian_jr1 during the race and throughout the week for more NASCAR news and commentary.

Feature Photo Credit: 295405 Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images

Kasey Kahne Has to Excel at Atlanta Motor Speedway

Kasey Kahne will not make the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup unless he either wins a race or has some of the best runs of his career at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Richmond International Raceway the next two weeks.

When Kasey Kahne moved to Hendrick Motor Sports it was full of promise after bouncing around from some teams that were in a transition and struggling. That was indeed the case as Kahne won two races each of the last two years. He also made the Chase both years finishing fourth in 2012 and twelfth in 2013. This year is a different story.

To date Kahne has only two top five finishes and nine top ten finishes. The two prior years he had seven and eight top five finishes at this point in the season. Looking at top ten finishes his statistics don’t look as bad. He currently has nine compared to eleven and thirteen at this point the two prior seasons. Unfortunately top ten finishes don’t win Championships in the Sprint Cup Series, it takes top five finishes and wins.

Kahne’s other teammates Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. are having one of the best seasons of their careers. Jimmie Johnson isn’t having a great season but not a bad one either.

What do they need to fix? Well that is not apparent at all. In some races they run great but either get caught up in something or have something break to ruin it. In other races Kahne looks like he is driving for a different team than Hendrick Motor Sports.

The current points leader and favorite to win the Sprint Cup, Jeff Gordon’s team and cars are prepared in the same shop as Kahne’s by the same people. This leads to further head scratching. What happened to the adage “A rising tide lifts all boats”?

Kasey Kahne, Kenny Francis his crew chief and his whole team must perform flawlessly the next two races or they will not make the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Although a couple of top five finishes might get them in by points that will only happen if more than one of the drivers ahead in points has a disastrous race. He must win to get in the Chase.

We’re in a tough spot still because we need maximum points every week and we also need a win to secure our spot in the Chase, but we’ve had pretty fast cars and the team has been doing a much better job,” Kahne said. “I think all of us communicating and working together, it’s been better for the last month, month-and-a-half than what it was earlier in the season. We just have to do the same thing, but we need to max our points each weekend and go for wins. Hopefully between one of those we can work our way in.

Kahne’s driver’s rating of 86 at Atlanta Motor Speedway isn’t the best but he does have two wins there.

As Kasey Kahne said they are in a tough spot. In reality based on past performance they have not been able to put two great races together this year. No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS team has a big hill to climb but it isn’t out of the question.

The second to last race to the Chase will be at Atlanta Motor Speedway Sunday, August 31st. If you cannot get to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Oral-B USA 500 it will be broadcast on ESPN starting at 7:30 PM ET.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 289672 Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Chase Bubble Watch with Two Races to Go

There are two races left in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series before the Chase for the Sprint Cup begins.

Twelve drivers have locked themselves into the Chase field by winning a race. There will be two spots for the Chase that will go to the two drivers highest in points who have not won a race. There are two other spots left for a driver who wins one of the next two races that has not won a race yet. If no new driver wins a race then those two spots go to the next two drivers highest in points.

The race to the Chase and the scenarios on who can or will make the Chase can appear confusing or complicated. In an attempt to simplify it, here are some general ways to watch the next two races in order to be able to stay in the game without a calculator.

First off, Matt Kenseth leads all drivers in points by 41. That is just about one complete race. He will get one of those guaranteed spots that will make the Chase via points, unless there is complete disaster and major carnage plus a mediocre race.

The second group of drivers to watch, in order of points, is Ryan Newman, Clint Bowyer and Greg Biffle. These drivers are quite simply racing each other for the second guaranteed spot in the Chase via points. They are also racing one another in case no new driver wins a race. They may have to race to win or race for points. This group of drivers is about 30 points from the third group of drivers. One mediocre race puts them down in their group.

The third group of drivers is, in order of points, Kyle Larson, Kasey Kahne, and Austin Dillon. These drivers cannot make the Chase unless they win a race or they race well and one of the second group of drivers falters, in which case they could get in by points.

The fourth and final group of drivers simply has only one chance to make the Chase. They absolutely must win a race. These drivers are 20th to 30th in points. See the chart below.

There you have it. You don’t need a score card; just follow the groups of drivers. If any of them win a race, they are in. The next two races will be nail biters.

The second to last race to the Chase will be at Atlanta Motor Speedway Sunday, August 31st. If you cannot get to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Oral-B USA 500 it will be broadcast on ESPN starting at 7:30 PM ET.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 289764 Sean Gardner/Getty Images for NASCAR

Credit NASCAR Media
Credit NASCAR Media