Drivers-Eye View

This column is sort of like a good-bye to this season. We’ve already crowned Bobby Labonte as this year’s champion, so congratulations to Bobby, Jimmy Makar and the entire team because they worked hard all year, and at the end of the day, they were the best of the best.

I’ve had a good year with the M&M’s Racing Team, and even though we didn’t win a race, I felt like we made some gains. These guys work hard every weekend, and the guys that stay back at the shop build really good race cars for me to drive. We’re only going to get better, and that starts with the Daytona tests in January.

But the season isn’t over yet. We’ve still got one week to go, and it just happens to be at a track that has been pretty black and white for me. I have a win at Atlanta, but I’ve also struggled in the past few years.

As for the track, I really liked it the way it was before they reconfigured it. I won there, and always ran really well there, but I’ve struggled since they elected to change it. I really wish they hadn’t changed it because I thought it was a perfect facility before.

It’s a really fast track because it has a lot of banking, which on a mile-and-a-half track makes a big difference. It’s not as tight coming off Turn 4 or going into Turn 1, so we are able to carry a lot more speed through the turns. At a glance, it reminds you a lot of Charlotte, but it’s really quite a bit different.

The track is going to get better with age, no doubt, because we saw a little bit of that in the spring with Dale Earnhardt running the top line and Labonte on the bottom. This race should prove to be even better.

If you want to find anything fun to do around a trip to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the race, you really need to talk to MB2 Motorsports owners, Tom Beard, Nelson Bowers and Read Morton (you get the play on names, right?). Atlanta Motor Speedway is almost in their back yard.

All three of the owners have ties to the Atlanta area, and all three are graduates from the University of Georgia. We’ve even got the logo for the Georgia Bulldogs on the back of our transporter in honor of those guys.

Read, Tom and Nelson are three businessmen that elected to get into racing and treat it as just that ... a business. MB2’s first season was in 1997, and even though they had a rough couple of years during Ernie Irvan’s retirement, they’ve done a great job putting together a strong race team. I wouldn’t have decided to come to work for these guys if they didn’t do a great job with this team.

I hope all of you have a wonderful weekend and a great Thanksgiving. And don’t worry, just because it’s the last race of the season, doesn’t mean I’m not going to keep writing for RacingOne.

As you know, Winston Cup drivers and teams don’t have much of an offseason, so there’s plenty of things – from the Winston Cup banquet to preseason testing - for me to give you my opinion on.

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