Only two races remain in the 2014 NASCAR season, and the current leaders in two of NASCAR’s national series have strong ties to both Georgia and Atlanta Motor Speedway.
In NASCAR’s highly competitive Chase for the Sprint Cup format, Joey Logano is currently in first place. Logano, however, has not yet guaranteed himself a spot in the season-ending championship round. To do so, he has to either win Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Phoenix or be ranked among the top three in the points standings if a current Chase driver wins. If no current Chase driver wins on Sunday, the top four drivers in the standings will advance to the Championship Round.
Logano, whose best finish at Atlanta was second in the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AdvoCare 500 at AMS, has won five races this season, more than any other driver. The Connecticut native’s racing foundation was laid at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Logano still ranks among the most legendary drivers to race in the Speedway’s Thursday Thunder legends and bandolero series. He still holds the series record for most consecutive feature wins at 14. Logano also won division championships in both Bandolero and Legends car divisions, claiming titles in the bandits and semi-pro divisions.
In the NASCAR Nationwide Series, Georgia native Chase Elliott leads the standings by 48 points ahead of his JR Motorsports teammate Regan Smith. He can actually clinch the series championship at Phoenix if he is able to add to his points lead.
The son of NASCAR legend and 2015 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Bill Elliott, Chase Elliott made his Atlanta NASCAR debut earlier this year. He was the fastest qualifier and led 36 laps before finishing fifth in the Great Clips 300 to benefit Feed The Children. As a rookie in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, Elliott has won three times, the most of any full-time driver in the series.
Like Logano, Elliott left his imprint on Thursday Thunder at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He won a pair of feature races in the bandolero bandits division in 2007 and also competed in the semi-pro division in 2008 before moving up the racing ladder toward NASCAR as numerous Thursday Thunder drivers have done through the years.
NASCAR makes its return to Atlanta Motor Speedway Feb. 27 to March 1. The weekend will kickoff with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying on Friday and be followed by the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series doubleheader on Saturday, Feb. 28. The thrilling action will be capped off Sunday with 500 miles of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing.