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Monday, September 5, 2011

If the Atlanta race ever gets run, Sprint Showdown millions will make it that much more exciting

There is an old saying that ‘Money Changes Everything’
And for the drivers coming into the Atlanta race today with a shot at $3 million -- $1 million for them, $1 million for a fan and $1 million for a charity of their choice – that is most certainly the case with this race.

I’ve always liked these kind of promotions (Winston Million, No Bull 5, etc.), as they spice things up a bit.
Some of the drivers eligible weighed in on what it means to them as they prepare for the race.

Paul Menard is playing it cool, saying that the potential bonus isn’t going to change how he drives too much.
“Obviously we are trying to make the Chase, first and foremost but this definitely adds extra incentive, he said. We’ve got Habitat for Humanity is our charity and Andrea Gave from New Jersey I believe is our fan. A little extra added bonus. We’re not going to try any harder or less hard. We’re going hard. If we win this, it’s a big deal.”

Kyle Busch said he’s really hoping he can come through for his fan, who has hit a run of bad luck.
"We're obviously honored to be in the position to have the opportunity to go after the money, of course. Really looking forward to
being able to win a million dollars for the fan who -- a young lady whose been unemployed for about six months unfortunately and her husband just got laid off recently, so certainly they're looking for the most that they can in these recent troubled months that they've had. It certainly would be a fitting story to see them take home the opportunity to
win the money along with us with the 18 car here this weekend."

And the hottest shoe in the business, Rochester Hills native Brad Keselowski, said the race for the $3 million comes at the perfect time for him.

“It’s an awesome promotion and ’m proud of Sprint to put this on to give everyone an opportunity for great things, especially the fans. Obviously, there is an element for teams, which has my guys excited. Another element is for the foundations and charities that all of us drivers represent. It’s all for a great cause and I’m proud to be a part of it. I’m just excited to see which one of us can win it, if we can get it done. I think the timing is rather perfect.”

Even drivers not in the hunt for the big money recognize it might spice up the race.
Jeff Gordon is among them.
“I think that it is obvious there is a lot on the line. To me there are so many great storylines this weekend and next week, especially this week when you throw in the Sprint Showdown million. Obviously those guys that are running for that million have a lot of motivation and are going to be very eager to get themselves in position to win this race, so you know they are going to be pushing the envelope. It is just dangling a larger carrot out there for them. You can expect that to create some fireworks,” Gordon said.
“If this race comes down to a battle with one of those guys at the end. I think absolutely, we all want to be spoilers in that. We are also trying to get yourself seeded even better in the chase by getting a victory or two here before the chase starts. You have guys that are trying to maintain their place in the top ten, you have guys that are trying to get in on wild card, plus you have those that are already in the chase that want to be starting as high up in points as they possibly can when the chase starts, plus the million.

I echo Gordon’s sentiments and predict that, if this race ever gets run, the excitement will be amped up an extra notch due to this Sprint Showdown.

My prediction: No one will end up winning the million; though Busch and Keselowski are the most likely to be able to make it happen. I wish them, and their charities and fans who would also benefit, the best of luck.

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