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First of all, the race is Sunday at 1 EST. Set your life clock accordingly.

For a race that has struggled drawing, fans and drivers seem to enjoy racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

For fans, the track is considered one of the best tailgating spots on tour. Most fan blogs and message boards also claim the site lines are really good compared to other spots on tour. Not to mention,  Atlanta is built for speed. Even though the track doesn’t have the dimensions of Daytona or Talladega, qualifying speeds could top 200 miles an hour.  

For drivers, the track is known for close quarters, side-by-side racing and a robust amount of opportunities to go three and four wide. That’s because drivers have options in terms of where to run. If you have the choice of running low, high or  middle, it’s fair to expect things bunching up quickly. Maybe Wrestlemania 26 will start early for Team France with close quarters and high speeds.

As always, when you run on a track where there is good grip, tire strategy will vary. A race spanning 500 miles, we’re also apt to see the potential for our first fuel duel of the year. A good mind might beat a lead foot this weekend.

Here are some other facts to impress your friends this weekend, some of which come from the track’s Web site:

  • Kurt Busch is the defending race champion.
  • Kasey Kahne won the September race last year.
  • Jeff Gordon has four wins here, but only has the fifth best average finish among active drivers.
  • Jimmie Johnson (stunner) has the highest average finish and has won here three times.
  • AJ Allmendinger has the second best average finish at the track, ahead of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart in the top five.
  • Carl Edwards, Mark Martin and Bobby Labonte are multiple winners at the track, along with Gordon and Johnson.
  • Labonte has the 500-mile race record on the track.
  • The race surface is about 50-60 feet wide. The 1.54 Mile Quad-Oval has banking of 24 degrees on the turns and five degrees on the straighaways.
  • The frontstretch is 2,332 feet, and the backstretch is 1,800 feet.
  • The track is located on  870 acres in Hampton, Ga., just 25 miles south of Atlanta. Depending on traffic, it can take you three days to get there (This is a joke. Atlanta traffic stinks.)
  •  The track hosted its first race July 31, 1960. 
  • An F2 tornado caused millions in damage to the track in 2005.
  • Bring your ruler. Coolers are allowed if they are 14 inches or smaller on all sides.
  • No pets are allowed inside speedway gates. There are no kennels on site. My cat Noah will protest by not watching the race.