Sometimes when a good weekend is needed, the right track and the right circumstances make an entire difference. The new tire that Goodyear brought to Atlanta made a big difference, but it still was the same slick, wide, and incredible action that this 1.5-mile track is known for.
Teams that needed a good weekend got what they needed, even if it didn't turn out to be enough for what was needed to be in the Chase.
At the same time, drivers had unfortunate incidents that made their task harder. Kasey Kahne and Brad Keselowski both had their issues, with both ended up back in the results. Kahne did find himself in a good spot as his two victories this year guaranteed him a Chase spot, even if it is due to the Wild Card.
But, the guy that made his case that he wants to still be among the top contenders in the title hunt was Kyle Busch.
His struggles early did not stop him from trying to make his way to the front, and historically the No. 18 car at this track has been good. It was where Busch gave Toyota it's first Cup victory, and on this night, gave him the fourth win of his 2013 season. It secured his spot in the Chase, and also put him in a tie with Jimmie Johnson for victories, which after next week will be huge.
This win also meant good news for three writers, as they correctly made their pick for victory. One now has a one-win lead heading into the Chase, while the current leader has a major lead on the field.
Here's where everyone stands after the AdvoCare 500:
Rob Tiongson (876) Jeff Gordon finished 6th (2)
Kelly Crandall (816) Jimmie Johnson finished 28th (1)
Patti Rodisch (808) Kasey Kahne finished 36th (0)
Billy Fellin (805) Kevin Harvick finished 9th (1)
Rob Blount (784) Kasey Kahne finished 36th (1)
Michael Hirshbein (781) Kyle Busch WON (3)
Sal Sigala Jr. (778) Kasey Kahne finished 36th (1)
Dustin Parks (755) Matt Kenseth finished 12th (0)
Kara Martin (728) Kyle Busch WON (1)
Ryan O'Hara (724) Jeff Gordon finished 6th (0)
James Broomhead (690) Kyle Busch WON (2)
Misan Akuya (633) Kasey Kahne finished 36th (1)
Christopher Leone (596) Kevin Harvick finished 9th (0)
Next Race: Crunch time has arrived for teams that are either barely in the Chase, or are barely out of it and want in. Six drivers are locked in, while four spots in the top-10 remain along with the wild card spots.
For some, a good race will mean they are in, but for a few others, they literally need a perfect race to go for a championship. It seems very appropriate that the final race before the 10-race battle happens at a track that has been nicknamed "Racing Perfection." The third straight night race of the year happens at a short track, one that has so many great moments, that it's an endless book, that just keeps adding to it's vast history.
Writers, if you want a perfect weekend, you need to do it now. Have those picks for the Federated Auto Parts 400 turned in by Thursday, September 5, at 10 p.m. ET.