The Fayette Citizen-Sports Page

Friday, July 27, 2001

Fall AMS race could be big

Tight points race spurs fans to get tickets soon

Ever since Jeff Gordon and Dale Jarrett became deadlocked in their quest for the NASCAR Winston Cup championship, fans have been swamping the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office with orders. Atlanta hosts the season finale, the NAPA 500, scheduled for Nov. 18.

"I can feel the enthusiasm in the fans' voices," said Frances Goss, longtime ticket manager at Atlanta Motor Speedway. "The adrenaline has hit the fan, and they realize they'd better get their tickets now for the championship race here in Atlanta."

Especially if Atlanta is the race that decides the champion between Gordon and Jarrett, two of the hottest drivers at the track over the past few years. In addition to the photo-finish loss to Kevin Harvick last March, Gordon has also racked up three wins and 10 top-10 finishes at Atlanta. Jarrett has one win and five runner-up finishes. Each driver has one pole Gordon's last fall in the NAPA 500 and Jarrett's this March in the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store 500.

But Gordon and Jarrett are far from running away with the championship. Lurking just 28 points behind them is Ricky Rudd, and Tony Stewart, Sterling Marlin, Rusty Wallace and Harvick are all within striking distance of the championship.

"Race fans around the world are anticipating the dramatic conclusion to the Winston Cup season at the NAPA 500 in November," Atlanta Motor Speedway President and General Manager Ed Clark said. "The way things are going, this could be one of the tightest battles in championship history."

And while Gordon and Jarrett have been garnering most of the attention midway through the season, young Harvick has quietly moved up to seventh in the championship points standings.

With two wins including his emotional victory in Atlanta, just his third Winston Cup start Harvick has already become the crowd's sentimental favorite.

"I had one guy last week who said he just had to be here to see if Harvick could sweep Atlanta," Goss said. "He said there was no way he would miss this race, not after the show he saw in March."

To order tickets to the NASCAR Winston Cup championship race, call the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at 770-946-4211 or call Ticketmaster.



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