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9.8 RICHMOND INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY
2011 RECAP With 15 laps to go, KEVIN HARVICK overtook Jeff Gordon coming out of the pits, then held off Carl Edwards by only .139 of a second to earn a top seed in the Chase.
TRACK FACT Two of the nine Cup night races were here in '11. The first prime-time race in Richmond was in 1964 at the Atlantic Rural Fairgrounds, a dirt track. (David Pearson won.)
EYE ON 2012 The final pre-Chase event typically features aggressive driving. Those on the playoff bubble—perhaps Gordon and Ryan Newman?—will be feeling the pressure.
WALTRIP "It's the most important race of the year besides Homestead. If you've clinched a spot in the Chase, you don't have to worry. If you haven't, you've got to drive your butt off."
9.2 ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY
2011 RECAP Rain delayed the race until Tuesday, when JEFF GORDON beat teammate Jimmie Johnson to the line for his third win of the year, Gordon's highest total since '07.
TRACK FACT Over the last five starts at Atlanta only Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart have completed all of the 1,646 laps run.
EYE ON 2012 The cream generally rises at Atlanta. The top nine finishers here last year went on to qualify for the Chase, which began two weeks later.