CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carl Edwards will race this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway despite breaking his right foot playing frisbee.

Edwards is on crutches but was cleared to race in both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series by doctors from the University of Missouri. He is from Columbia, Mo., and was injured in a hometown game Wednesday night.

“I know this probably sounds ridiculous to a lot of people, and I could hardly believe it myself,” Edwards said Thursday. “I was playing frisbee with a couple of buddies and we both went for the frisbee at the same time. I put my foot on it, my friend dove for it, and the next thing you know, we all heard a pop.

“I knew it was broken and we all kind of looked at each other in disbelief that of all things, I would break my foot playing frisbee.”

Edwards has three victories at Atlanta and is the defending race winner. He said doctors told him he’ll have no problems using the accelerator.

Edwards is fifth in the Sprint Cup Series standings with two races remaining before the title-deciding Chase for the championship begins. Because of his series-high nine wins last season, he was widely considered the favorite to end Jimmie Johnson’s run of three straight titles.

But he’s winless this season in NASCAR’s top series and has been counting on a hot streak during the 10-race Chase to mount a title run.

Meanwhile, he’s turned it up a notch in the Nationwide Series. His win last weekend in Montreal helped him slice Kyle Busch’s lead in the standings, and Edwards now trails by 192 points.

 Labonte gets ride for Atlanta from TRG Motorsports

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Bobby Labonte is listed on the entry list for this weekend’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Yates
Racing said earlier this week that sponsorship issues forced the team
to pull Labonte in seven of the final 12 races this season, beginning
with Sunday’s event at Atlanta.

But Labonte is now listed on the
official entry list as the driver for TRG Motorsports’ No. 71. It will
allow Labonte to continue his streak of 568 consecutive starts, second
among active drivers only to Jeff Gordon’s 569 starts.

TRG had been fielding a car for David Gilliland, but will use Labonte in all seven races he’s available.

Labonte has six career wins at Atlanta, and it’s considered his best track.

 Matt Kenseth hopes to hang on and make the Chase

KANSAS
CITY, Mo. — Two weeks into the NASCAR season, Matt Kenseth could do no
wrong. He began the year by winning his first Daytona 500 and followed
that up by winning the next week at California.

Next up was Las Vegas, where Kenseth had won twice in his career, so he was exuding confidence.

“Flying
home from California, I was like, ‘Man, this is going to be pretty
cool. We’re going to have a real solid year and be a serious
championship contender,'” Kenseth reflected Wednesday on a
teleconference.

But Kenseth’s engine blew up on the sixth lap at
Las Vegas, and he hasn’t been the same. Kenseth, the 2003 NASCAR Sprint
Cup champion, hasn’t sniffed Victory Lane since that Feb. 22 win at
California. He has just three top-five finishes since then and hasn’t
been better than 10th since the July 4 race at Daytona, where he
finished eighth.

Consequently, with two races to go before the
Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup begins, he is clinging to the 12th and
final spot. Kenseth enters Sunday night’s race at Atlanta holding a
tenuous 34-point lead on hard-charging Kyle Busch, who is coming off a
win at Bristol; and 39 points over Brian Vickers, who won the week
before at Michigan.

“Honestly, ever since Las Vegas, it’s just
been a struggle,” Kenseth said. “We ran good enough a few times to win
races if all the stars would have aligned, which they didn’t. Since
then, it’s just been hard for us to get finishes for some reason. It’s
been really uncharacteristic of this team.

“One thing we’re
always known for, it seems like, if we’re having a mediocre day,
running 13th, 14th, 15th, somehow we’d figure out how to finish better
than we were running all the time. More times than that it’s been the
opposite. Pocono, we ran second, third, fourth all day, couldn’t make
it on fuel, finished 16th … It seems like a season full of that.”

At
least Kenseth has two wins, so if he makes the Chase, he begins with 20
bonus points. Two of his Roush-Fenway teammates, Carl Edwards, in fifth
place and Greg Biffle, in eighth, have been more consistent, but
neither has a victory this season. Some attribute Roush-Fenway’s
drought to difficulties mastering the Car of Tomorrow.

“I
don’t know,” Kenseth said. “Last year, Carl and Greg were able to win a
few races. We went winless last year; just never felt like we totally
had a handle on the COT.

“This year at Daytona, we obviously ran
good. All of our plate stuff has run good all year … at Talladega and
the second Daytona (race). California we had a good car.
We just hit everything right. We went to a few more of the
mile-and-a-half tracks, and it seemed like we were competitive. After
that, it seemed like we weren’t as competitive.”

While Kenseth’s
streak of winning at least one race in six consecutive seasons ended
last year, he still qualified 12th for the Chase and finished 11th for
the season. And since the Chase format began in 2004, only two drivers
have qualified every year, three-time champion Jimmie Johnson and
Kenseth.

“It’s important for us to be in the Chase every year,”
Kenseth said. “It’s important to try to win races every year and try to
win a championship. That’s what we’re all in this for. If we do end up
sliding our way in here, I guess it’s pretty cool that only a couple of
us have been able to do that.”

Kenseth doesn’t plan on trying
anything different to hold off Busch and Vickers in the remaining races
at Atlanta and at Richmond before the Chase begins.

“We’ve got to
run our own race, really,” he said. “We’ve been doing a little bit
better lately, been more consistent. Like at Bristol, we ran 10th,
which wasn’t a terrible run for us.

“But the guys we’re trying to
beat in points, most of them still finished in front of us. It’s really
competitive and we’re going to have to run probably better than 10th
the next few weeks. We’re probably going to have to run in the top
five, top six both races to be safely in.”

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