There are some tracks in NASCAR where instead of letting just speed dominate how one runs the track, but also ones where the drivers have to actually do a lot of driving to handle getting around just one lap.  In a way, that's what makes it fun for those drivers because they have more input than just relying on a heavy right foot.

It's what makes the Atlanta Motor Speedway so popular among drivers, teams and fans.

This 1.54-mile track didn't always have this setup, but in the fall of 1997, when it was reconfigured, this place was fast right off the get-go.  A lap of 197 MPH was enough to get the pole, and since then the track has not seen a change in the asphalt.  What that means is a lot of sliding, a lot of sideways cars, but a lot more fun for everyone.  The old surface wears out tires, and it forces handling to become an even bigger factor.  It is one of the more popular speedways among everyone in the garage, and after this year will see a different weekend of action.

But, it doesn't mean that the action won't be as intense, it just means the Labor Day festivities will be ones to remember.

All the writers enjoy this track, simply because it's fast, slick, and a driver-friendly facility.  Will that mean victory?  Here's their picks for the Oral-B USA 500:


Misan Akuya:  Jamie McMurray

McMurray came close to winning and grabbing a chase spot last week.  He won the All-Star Race and has ran well on the mile and halfs this week.  If the 1 team can put a full race together then Jamie Mac might have a few reasons to celebrate.

Rob Blount:  Kyle Larson

He loves running the highline. He’s good at searching for grip. This is his best chance to get in the Chase.

James Broomhead:  Kyle Busch

Getting the late, against the odds, Chase pass.

Billy Fellin:  Jeff Gordon

Despite how crazy it'd be if Tony Stewart won, I'm gonna with Gordon who has been money on the intermediate tracks this season.

Michael Hirshbein:  Kyle Busch

No reason.

Kara Martin:  Kevin Harvick

No reason.

Ryan O'Hara:  Joey Logano

We are coming to a track that he was the runner-up at last year and he just won. Logano will take the first seed after this weekend.

Dustin Parks:  Matt Kenseth

This may sound like a gamble, but I am still favoring JGR for this track.  However, Hamlin just really hasn't found some momentum this season despite only missing Auto Club.  Rowdy, he can't find any luck even if he tried, so I can't go with the 18.  One guy left, and that's Kenseth.  If there was ever a place where he needed a win, this is the best opportunity.  Gimme the 20.

Patti Rodisch:  Jeff Gordon

After a disappointing finish at Bristol last week I expect this team to bounce back in a big way this weekend. In every one of team 24's "sub-par" finishes of 15th or worse; they have followed up the next week with a victory. Gordon notches win number 92 in his 750th start.

Aaron Rosser:  Joey Logano

No reason.

Sal Sigala Jr:  Brad Keselowski

No reason.

Rob Tiongson:  Jeff Gordon

A five time winner at AMS and an overall solid pick at any track, I look for the No. 24 Panasonic Chevrolet SS to win on Sunday night.  Win number four will be a sweet one for this 43-year-old racer.


Standings after Bristol:

Rob Tiongson (839) Jeff Gordon finished 16th - 5

Ryan O'Hara (823) Jeff Gordon finished 16th - 5

Patti Rodisch (812) Jeff Gordon finished 16th - 3

Kara Martin (802) Kyle Busch finished 36th - 3

Dustin Parks (801) Brad Keselowski finished 2nd - 2

Sal Sigala Jr. (767) Kyle Busch finished 36th - 5

Rob Blount (761) Kevin Harvick finished 11th - 3

Billy Fellin (754) Kyle Busch finished 36th - 1

Aaron Rosser (745) Kurt Busch finished 5th - 2

James Broomhead (692) Kurt Busch finished 5th - 2

Michael Hirshbein (686) Kyle Busch finished 36th - 1

Misan Akuya (665) Kevin Harvick finished 11th - 1


Final Remarks:  This race over the years has provided some great finishes and some spooky moments.  Kevin Harvick vs. Jeff Gordon in 2001 has been described as "Won from above" due to the weird numerical statistics from that race, then there's Carl Edwards edging Jimmie Johnson for his first win.  Edwards had another moment of intense action, thanks to a tap to Brad Keselowski that sent him sailing into the outside fence.

With the lights turned on, the intensity goes up, and the tire wear still goes away just as fast.  Someone is going end up hot in Atlanta.  Find out who beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.


Summary of Picks:

Jeff Gordon-3

Kyle Busch-2

Joey Logano-2

Matt Kenseth-1

​Brad Keselowski-1

​Kevin Harvick-1

​Kyle Larson-1

​Jamie McMurray-1