What to watch for The Evernham aero program is the best in the business on intermediate tracks, giving Kasey Kahne the edge at Atlanta. Last year, Kahne rode to victory in March and was a contender in October before an accident ruined his day. Expect him to be in the hunt for the checkers in Atlanta again this year.
Tony Stewart dominated last fall, winning a nothing-to-lose race for the big bear trophy. In the spring, Stewart led 50 laps before finishing fifth. The two-time Cup champ has extra incentive at AMS, since the Home Depot company headquarters are located in Atlanta.
Roush Racing fell off last year, but Carl Edwards stunned the sport with back-to-back wins in 2005. Edwards was able to pull off a seventh-place finish last fall in a down year for the 99 team. This season, the Roush handling package will be a factor at the 1.5-mile track.
Jeff Gordon finished fourth and sixth at AMS last season and took a victory lap in 1995, '98, '99 and '03. Teammate Jimmie Johnson was a winner at AMS in 2004 and finished second and sixth last year.
Elliott Sadler is a potential sleeper. Sadler's record at the sister track in Texas, coupled with Evernham's intermediate track success and his past performance in Atlanta, make the 19 car an under-the-radar pick.
Keep an eye on... Mark Martin -- If Martin runs the Atlanta events he could be a threat. The new Ginn Motorsports part-timer has three top-5 runs in the last four AMS events. The US Army Chevy, driven by Joe Nemechek, finished ninth in the fall edition last season. A big finish would be huge for the program.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. -- While DEI has never been intermediate track masters, Junior certainly likes Atlanta. Driver 8 has earned three consecutive top-4 finishes at this super-fast speedway.
Paul Menard -- Junior's rookie teammate notched the best finish of his very limited Cup career at AMS. Last season's seventh-place finish earned mucho respect points.
Bobby Labonte -- He appeared to be the man to beat in the 2006 spring event until the motor went south. Petty Enterprises teammate Kyle Petty finished eighth in that event. Labonte then returned in the fall to record a 12th-place run.