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5 DRIVERS TO WATCH

BILL ELLIOTT

CAR: No. 9 Dodge.

STARTING POSITION: Second.

BEST AMS FINISH: First (five times).

NOTES: Elliott, the local favorite from nearby Dawsonville, Ga., is tied with Bobby Labonte for Atlanta Motor Speedway victories among active drivers. But Elliott has not won here since 1992 and has not finished better than 10th since the track was reconfigured in 1997.

BOBBY LABONTE

CAR: No. 18 Chevrolet.

STARTING POSITION: Fourth.

BEST AMS FINISH: First (five times).

NOTES: Labonte, the 2000 Winston Cup champ, has been AWOL the past two seasons. But new crew chief Michael "Fatback" McSwain has ignited a spark. Labonte has one pole and two top-10 starts since Daytona. Never count him out at AMS.

RYAN NEWMAN

CAR: No. 12 Dodge.

STARTING POSITION: First.

BEST AMS FINISH: 10th (twice).

NOTES: Newman loves speed, and AMS is all about speed. Three-time Winston Cup champ and TV analyst Darrell Waltrip said Newman drives into the corners harder than anyone he has seen. He'll go in excess of 200 mph at the end of straightaways.

TONY STEWART

CAR: No. 20 Chevrolet.

STARTING POSITION: Eighth.

BEST AMS FINISH: First (spring 2002).

NOTES: Stewart is off to a good start in defense of the Winston Cup championship, fifth in the standings just 52 points behind leader Michael Waltrip. But Stewart no longer has the hula-dancer doll that rode shotgun for his AMS victory a year ago.

MICHAEL WALTRIP

CAR: No. 15 Chevrolet.

STARTING POSITION: Sixth.

BEST AMS FINISH: Fifth (spring 1991).

NOTES: Waltrip, the Daytona 500 winner and points leader, has three career wins, all at Daytona. He has been promising a victory at a track where restrictor plates are not used, and AMS is a likely candidate. It's even faster than Daytona.

_ JOANNE KORTH

BASS PRO SHOPS

MBNA 500 LINEUP Position, number, driver, make, mph:

1. (12) Ryan Newman, Dodge, 191.417

2. (9) Bill Elliott, Dodge, 191.232

3. (38) Elliott Sadler, Ford, 190.883

4. (18) Bobby Labonte, Chevrolet, 190.594

5. (7) Jimmy Spencer, Dodge, 190.339

6. (15) Michael Waltrip, Chevrolet, 190.287

7. (2) Rusty Wallace, Dodge, 189.922

8. (20) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 189.746

9. (97) Kurt Busch, Ford, 189.707

10. (19) Jeremy Mayfield, Dodge, 189.701

11. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 189.623

12. (22) Ward Burton, Dodge, 189.461

13. (25) Joe Nemechek, Chevrolet, 189.286

14. (01) Jerry Nadeau, Pontiac, 189.202

15. (1) Steve Park, Chevrolet, 189.047

16. (88) Dale Jarrett, Ford, 188.996

17. (29) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 188.976

18. (31) Robby Gordon, Chevrolet, 188.867

19. (43) John Andretti, Dodge, 188.783

20. (16) Greg Biffle, Ford, 188.745

21. (21) Ricky Rudd, Ford, 188.700

22. (32) Ricky Craven, Pontiac, 188.546

23. (10) Johnny Benson, Pontiac, 188.494

24. (17) Matt Kenseth, Ford, 188.392

25. (11) Brett Bodine, Ford, 188.296

26. (99) Jeff Burton, Ford, 188.124

27. (77) Dave Blaney, Ford, 188.085

28. (30) Jeff Green, Chevrolet, 188.060

29. (6) Mark Martin, Ford, 188.034

30. (24) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 187.964

31. (42) Jamie McMurray, Dodge, 187.849

32. (4) Mike Skinner, Pontiac, 187.792

33. (41) Casey Mears, Dodge, 187.767

34. (40) Sterling Marlin, Dodge, 187.595

35. (54) Todd Bodine, Ford, 187.500

36. (74) Tony Raines, Chevrolet, 187.449

37. (8) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, provis.

38. (45) Kyle Petty, Dodge, provisional

39. (5) Terry Labonte, Chevrolet, provisional

40. (23) Kenny Wallace, Dodge, provisional

41. (14) Larry Foyt, Dodge, provisional

42. (49) Ken Schrader, Dodge, provisional

43. (0) Jack Sprague, Pontiac, provisional

Elliott has five wins at Atlanta but none since the track was reconfigured.

A new crew chief has helped Labonte start to regain his 2000 form.

Newman loves to dive into fast corners. He gets that chance today.

Stewart tries to defend without last year's good-luck hula dancer.

The Daytona champ wants to prove he can win without restrictor plates.

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