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NASCAR At Atlanta: Race Week Officially Arrives In Georgia

This weekend, big-time stock car racing makes its 2012 appearance in the Peach State as all three of NASCAR's national divisions take to the Atlanta Motor Speedway for three nights of racing.

The Camping World Truck Series kicks things off Friday with their 130-lap GRIT Chips 200. It is the 13th race for the series in Atlanta. Ron Hornaday Jr. won last year's event, leading the final 17 laps for his 49th of a series-record 51 victories. The native of Palmdale, CA, also won at AMS in 2005, outdueling six-time Sprint Cup winner Bobby Labonte in a thrilling finish.

Saturday evening will see the Nationwide Series do battle for 195 laps in the NRA American Warrior 300, the 21st-annual event for NASCAR's second-tier division at Atlanta. Carl Edwards, a three-time Cup winner at AMS, won last year's race for his second Nationwide triumph. The affable Missourian also picked up his first-career win in the series in March of 2005, then made history by recording his first Sprint Cup win the very next day in a door-banging duel with Jimmie Johnson that made him an instant superstar.

Of course, the main event is Sunday night's Advocare 500. The 325-lapper marks the 105th Sprint Cup classic at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Jeff Gordon outdueled teammate and one-time pupil Jimmie Johnson to win last year's rain-delayed event. The Tuesday afternoon triumph marked the 85th-career win - five of those coming at AMS - of Gordon's illustrious career and moved him into sole possession of third-place on the all-time win list. A repeat performance could be the springboard for Gordon to make the 2012 Chase for the Sprint Cup and make a run at his fifth-career title.

Over the next seven days, SB Nation Atlanta will be taking an in-depth look at all the storylines surrounding the three events. We'll also be keeping fans informed as to where they can see their favorite racing heroes making appearances throughout the area, as well as activities and entertainment taking place at the track over the course of this most exciting of weekends.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.