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NASCAR Atlanta Truck race preview

by Dave Grayson
Thursday, March 04, 2010

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After three weeks off, since their season opener at Daytona, America's favorite tail gate party returns to action. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will be riding the fast lane at the Atlanta Motor Speedway this Saturday with the running of the E-Z-Go 200.

THE STORY BREAK DOWN

Reigning, and four time champion, Ron Hornaday Jr will be hoping that his new crew chief, Doug George, will bring him a reversal of fortune from the 27th place finish he suffered during the series' season opener at Daytona. The #33 Kevin Harvick Inc Chevrolet team finished 2009 with a championship trophy under the guidance of crew chief Rick Ren. However, Ren opted to leave KHI to take on a managerial role with the newly formed Kyle Busch Motorsports. The team began the 2010 season with veteran Dave Fuge supervising the team. Inexplicably Fuge left that position in the days that followed the Daytona race.

Enter Doug George: a NASCAR veteran driver and crew chief whose career stats were created at the very same west coast tracks where Hornaday launched his own career. Both men are champions of the former NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Tour Series and both are alumni of the NASCAR West Series. There won't be a need for a get to know you period here. These two men know each other very well and it will be most interesting to watch their development as driver and crew chief.

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But there's another reunion story connected with the truck race at Atlanta. It's the Bodine brothers. For the first time in approximately six years, Todd and Geoff Bodine will be entered in the same NASCAR race. Todd will be in his familiar #30 Germain Racing Toyota. He's bringing momentum with him to Atlanta after a second place finish in the season opener at Daytona. He's also bringing some strong numbers to Georgia next weekend. Since 2005 the younger Bodine brother has nine Atlanta starts and has compiled an average finish ratio of 9.1 and a driver rating 107.7

Meanwhile Geoff Bodine will be driving the Danny Gill owned Dodge in Saturday's race. This happens to be the very same truck that Dennis Setzer drove to a third place finish at Daytona three weeks ago. He knows this track very well. He has four top five finishes there in the Sprint Cup Series which remains a NASCAR record. He 's also still basking in the glow of his recent return from the Winter Olympics where he worked with the U.S. Bobsled Team who won a gold medal riding in a Bo-Dyne designed sled.

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Timothy Peters, driver of the #17 K&N Filters Toyota, has now had three weeks to enjoy his victory at Daytona and will naturally come to Atlanta this weekend as the series' points leader. But the young driver is well aware of the fact that it's time to go back to work and capitalize on the team's good start on the new season. "It's a very cool feeling being the points leader of the series but Atlanta changes the game," he said adding "this is when we have to show if we have it or don't have it. It's privileged to be in that position, but we also know that it's our job to stay up the entire season."

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The Atlanta race will also see one season and one series debut this Saturday. Kevin Harvick, who is sharing the #2 KHI Chevrolet truck ride with fellow Sprint Cup driver Elliot Sadler this year, returns to the series at Atlanta sponsored by the same organization who's sponsoring Saturday's race: E-Z-Go.

Making his official series debut this Saturday will be Steven Wallace who will be driving the #15 Red Top Car Auction Toyota for Billy Ballew Motorsports.

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Kyle Busch won last year's truck race at Atlanta
When it comes to a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Atlanta, never make the mistake of overlooking the presence of Kyle Busch who will making his second start of the 2010 season for his new Toyota team: Kyle Busch Motorsports.

A crash at the Daytona season opener has Busch looking to redeem himself and the Atlanta Motor Speedway is a very good place to accomplish that. Busch is a four time truck series winner at this track including winning three of the last four events there.

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THE RACE BREAKDOWN

The E-Z-G0 200 is 130 laps, 202.2 miles, around the Atlanta Motor Speedway's 1.564 mile, high banked, oval. The track was reconfigured to its present shape in 1997. It's now the fastest track on the NASCAR circuit and it often features three and even four wide racing.

The race has 39 entries vying for the 36 starting berth. Under a recent rule change only the top 25 in the series' owner's points are guaranteed a starting berth in the race. 16 of the race entrants are on the go or home list meaning they are outside of the top 25 listing and must earn a starting berth based on their qualifying speed. Qualifying will be held Saturday morning prior to the race.


Kyle Busch is both the defending race champion and pole sitter from 2009.Six of the ten previous races have been won by a driver starting fifth or better. Chevrolet Trucks tops the win list at Atlanta with five victories.

The E-Z-Go 200 will be broadcast live by the SPEED Channel with the pre race show beginning at 130pm eastern time.

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