Pressure-packed Chase fight moves to Atlanta

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With only two regular season races remaining in the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the end of the Race to the Chase is in sight. And that means the already high tension among those still battling for a post-season bid will only keep building tonight in the Advocare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

For some involved in the Chase fight, it’s about maintaining that balance between wanting to go for a win and making sure to come away with the best finish possible. But for others, only a win will do to truly keep their playoff hopes going into the last regular season race next week at Richmond International Raceway.

Here’s how the Chase hopefuls are looking as we prepare for 500 miles in the Peach State:

Dale Earnhardt Jr. (seventh; no wins, +33 points over 11th)
Last five results at Atlanta: 17th, 15th, 22nd, 19th, 7th.
Has completed 99.5 percent of all the laps he’s attempted (8,034 of 8,075) at AMS in his career.

Kasey Kahne (eighth; two wins; +20 points over 11th
Last five results at Atlanta: 1st, 4th, 32nd, 34th, 23rd.
Nine of Kahne’s 16 career Cup wins have come on intermediate tracks (one to two miles).

Greg Biffle (ninth; one win, +17 points over 11th)
Last five results at Atlanta: 10th, 8th, 36, 12th, 15th.
Three Top-5s, nine Top-10s in 18 Cup starts at AMS.

Joey Logano (10th; one win, +4 points over 11th)
Last five results at Atlanta: 22nd, 35th, 27th, 24th, 18th.
Five consecutive Top-10s (plus the win at Michigan) has Logano, No. 22 team surging.

Brad Keselowski (11th, no wins; -4 points out of Top 10)
Career results at Atlanta: 36th, 25th, 6th, 3rd.
Reigning Sprint Cup champion recently tested at AMS. Could that lead to a critical win tonight?

Kurt Busch (12th, no wins; -6 points out of Top 10)
Last five results at Atlanta: 38th, 1st, 6th, 4th, 13th.
“The Outlaw” has had past success at Atlanta (three wins) and has been solid there as of late, too.

Jeff Gordon (13th, no wins; -11 points out of Top 10)
Last five results at Atlanta: 8th, 18th, 13th, 1st, 2nd.
After a win and a runner-up in his last two tries at Atlanta, Gordon needs to come up big again.

Martin Truex, Jr. (14th, one win, Wild Card #1)
Last five results at Atlanta: 26th, 27th, 12th, 14th, 4th.
With his right wrist in a cast, Truex will have to block out the pain with his Chase hopes on the line.

Ryan Newman (15th, one win, Wild Card #2)
Last five results at Atlanta: 9th, 17th, 8th, 20th, 35th.
AMS has been good for him in qualifying (seven poles), but not so much on Race Day (one Top-5 in 20 starts).

IndyCar entry lists for Harvest GP at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

IndyCar entry lists Indianapolis
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There are 25 drivers on the NTT IndyCar Series entry lists at Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course with a few new yet familiar faces for the Oct. 2-3 race weekend.

Four-time champion Sebastien Bourdais will make his season debut in the No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet (shifting Dalton Kellett to the No. 41) with AJ Foyt Racing, which he is joining full time next season. James Hinchcliffe, who had run three races with Andretti Autosport, will return in place of Zach Veach in the No. 26 Dallara-Honda. Helio Castroneves will drive Arrow McLaren SP’s No. 7 Dallara-Chevy for Oliver Askew, who is out with concussion-like symptoms.

Sage Karam, who has two IndyCar starts this year at IMS (the road course on July 4 and the Indy 500 on Aug. 23), also will return to the series in Dreyer & Reinbold’s No. 24 Dallara-Chevrolet.

HARVEST GP ENTRY LISTS: Friday l Saturday

Friday and Saturday of the Harvest GP presented by GMR will mark the second and third races this season on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. While the July 4 race on the circuit was 80 laps, Friday’s distance is 85 laps, and Saturday will be a 75-lap event.

Championship leader Scott Dixon led 26 of 80 laps to win the July 4 race at the IMS road course. With three races remaining in the series, the five-time series champion enters with a 72-point lead on Josef Newgarden.

Click here to see who’s on the IndyCar entry lists in Race 1 and in Race 2 for the Harvest GP presented by GMR at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.


START TIMES AND TV INFO FOR INDYCAR AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY ROAD COURSE (all times ET):

Thursday

IndyCar NTT Series practice: 2:25-3:40 p.m., NBC Sports Gold

IndyCar qualifying, Race 1: 6:20 p.m. (two groups/12 minutes apiece), NBC Sports Gold

Friday

—IndyCar Harvest Grand Prix, Race 1: 3:30 p.m. (green flag, 5 p.m.), USA Network, NBC Sports Gold

Saturday

—IndyCar qualifying: 10:20 a.m. (two groups/12 minutes apiece), NBC Sports Gold

—IndyCar Harvest Grand Prix, Race 2: 2:30 p.m (green flag, 2:31 p.m.)., NBC, NBC Sports Gold