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Georgia seeds scattered across NASCAR

By Rory Sharrock

rsharrock@news-daily.com

The fruits of NASCAR are enjoyed by fans from coast to coast, especially the seeds from the Peach State, which are spread out on various tracks throughout the nation.

David Ragan of Unadilla, Reed Sorenson of Peachtree City and Bill Elliott of Dawsonville are three Georgians who've earned national acclaim from their pursuit of the checkered flag throughout their careers. Ragan and Sorenson competed in Atlanta Motor Speedway's Thursday Thunder series and have tasted their share of success since moving up to the NASCAR scene. During the pre-race ceremonies, Elliott and his teammates received a standing ovation from the crowd in celebration of the 20th anniversary of winning the 1988 Winston Cup championship.

Along with the drivers, there are team members and behind the scene personnel with ties to Georgia. Rhine's Jason Jones serves as a mechanic and knows a tool set like the back of his hand. Jayme Christianson of Marietta writes as fast as the drivers who cruise around the track. Christianson currently works in media relations. The city of Marietta also showcases another NASCAR representative with Jacob Norman working as a front-tire changer. Chris Golder of Alpharetta has carved his own space in NASCAR as a shock specialist. Additional maintenance crew members from Georgia include jackmen Adam North of Sonoraville, Paul Craven of Summerville and Kenneth Purcell of Savannah. Pit support staff employees are Shane Bourgeois of Peachtree City, Bryan Goggin of Tifton.

Those working behind the desk are chief financial officer of Bill Davis Racing Mike Brown of Statham, Chip Wile of Atlanta, who utilizes his talents in public relations for the truck series and scorer Shelia Lumpkin of Atlanta.

100 miles and running

There have been a host of magical moments throughout the history of Atlanta Motor Speedway; however next year's NASCAR's spring race will give fans 100 reasons to celebrate their need for speed. When the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns for the Kobolt Tools 500 on Sunday, March 8, 2009, it will mark the 100th series event at the famed Henry County track.

"Looking at the facility of Atlanta Motor Speedway and the way it looks right now, it's hard to believe that this track is 50 years old," said Marcy Scott, director of marketing and promotions for Atlanta Motor Speedway.

"We've been able to continue to improve on this facility and make it modern for the fans. To be able to say your one of the original tracks in NASCAR and to be coming up on an anniversary like this is very proud and exciting. We're looking forward to celebrating the anniversary and making it special for the fans our 100th race in March."

No. 83 Team penalized for post-race inspection infractions

NASCAR issued penalties, suspensions and fines to driver Brian Vickers, owner Dietrich Mateschitz and the No. 83 team as a result of rules infractions.

The car was found to be in violation of Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing), 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used do not conform to NASCAR rules) and 20-2.1-D (exterior sheet metal body parts did not meet the specified minimum thickness) of the 2008 NASCAR rule book.

Crew chief Kevin Hamlin and car chief Craig Smokstad have been suspended indefinitely from NASCAR. Additionally, Hamlin has been fined $100,000.

Vickers and Mateschitz have been penalized with a loss of 150 driver and 150 owner points respectively.

Newman wins E-Z-GO 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck race

Ryan Newman made a splash in his debut, taking the checkered flag in Saturday's E-Z-GO 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck series at AMS.

"I'm not sure if I should retire now," said Newnan during the post-race press conference. "This is the first time for me in Atlanta (in victory lane), so that was special in itself. Today (Saturday) was a lot of fun, but AMS is a lot of fun too. It upped it one level on the fun meter."

Newman beat out Ron Hornaday Jr., who finished in second place for the third consecutive year.