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).

Travis Pastrana leads flag-to-flag in Nitro Rallycross as the series returns to America

Pastrana Nitro Rallycross
Barry Chin / Getty Images
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Travis Pastrana waited until the final trip around ERX Motor Park to take his Joker Lap – a longer way around the course that all drivers must do at least once in a race – and came out cleanly to win his first Nitro Rallycross race of 2022. With this win, Pastrana is the third driver to visit Victory Lane in the first three rounds of the 2022-23 season.

“This is the closest to a motocross track,” Pastrana told Katie Osborne on Peacock. “Thank you so much for a beautiful facility. It’s been a rough start to the season and I’m so thankful to be back out here. We had a good run in the side-by-side and now for this. This is much needed.”

Another thing needed was the sense of improvement. And Pastrana earned that affirmation each time he completed a lap around the course.

“I get my lap times read out and they said ‘fastest time of the week,’ ‘fastest time of the week’ (each time around) ” Pastrana said. “This is really special. We’re a long way behind in the championship, but welcome to America.”

In a pre-race press conference, Pastrana said that as Nitro Rallycross heads back to America, it was time for an American to win and he made good on his promise. Pastrana took the early lead over Robin Larsson and let the back of his Subaru hang out, taking risks he might not otherwise take if not for his need to win.

How to Watch Nitro Rallycross

Larsson’s second-place finish completed a perfect sweep of the podium in three rounds. In fact, he has not yet finished worse than second after winning the opening round at Lydden Hill in the United Kingdom and finishing second at Strangnas in Sweeden.

Fraser McConnel rounded out the podium for his best result of the season. He finished fourth in each of the first two rounds.

Last year, Pastrana finished second in this race to Scott Speed before narrowly edging his teammate for the championship.

Andreas Bakkerud crashed in prelims, but rebounded to finish just off the block in fourth. Bakkerud won the second round ahead of his teammate Larsson.

Oliver Bennett completed the top five.

Minneapolis is the first of three rounds scheduled in the United States. Next on the schedule is Glen Helen, Calif. on Octo 30 and then Phoenix at Wild Horse Pass on November 12th. Nitro Rallycross will then head to Saudi Arabia in December to continue their 2022-23 season.