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Ready for some racing?

By Doug Gorman

dgorman@news-daily.com

When the green flag drops in the Kobalt Tools 500 Sunday afternoon, race fans in attendance at Atlanta Motor Speedway can only hope for as dramatic a finish as they enjoyed in last year's event.

A year ago, race fans were pinned to the edge of their seats as Jimmie Johnson slipped his way past Tony Stewart's car with just three laps to go en route to one of the most dramatic victories at the 1.54-mile Hampton track.

"I can't say I have ever driven a race car that hard before," Johnson said after last year's race. This was a great, great race."

Sunday's race caps a full weekend of competition at AMS. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series began on Friday, and the Nationwide Stock Car Series crowns its champion on Saturday.

Just four weeks into the NASCAR season, there has been plenty to keep race fans interested.

Although Kyle Bush leads the Sprint Cup standings by 20 points over Ryan Newman, only 122 points separate the top 12 drivers.

Carl Edwards, who has enjoyed victories in California and in Las Vegas, should lead in the points standings, but he and his team were docked 100 points last week after failing a post-race inspection.

Sunday's top series also features the homecoming of drivers Reed Sorenson and David Ragan. Both drivers were champions on the Thursday Thunder Legends Series at AMS when they were teenagers.

Sorenson got his first NASCAR Cup Series start at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 2005, while Ragan took over NASCAR legend and fan favorite Mark Martin's No. 6 Ford Fusion last year.