Saturday, February 28, 2015

QuickTrip 500 Final Practice Notes: Harvick and Hamlin look like drivers to beat at Atlanta

Kevin Harvick doing a burnout in front of Atlanta's Phillips Arena
Kevin Harvick looked to have a huge gap over No. 2 as our No. 1 rated driver for Sunday's QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, but midway through Saturday's final practice session he blew an engine. Now he'll have to start from the rear, which takes away a little from his overall race rating, but not enough to displace him from the top of our chart.

If this were a 200-mile race, then he would downgraded severely, but it's not and he'll have plenty of time to race his way to the front.

Harvick had an outstanding week between testing and practices at Atlanta and also has an superb chassis that was re-fitted to meet the 2015 rules package requirements. When looking at the 2014 resume of the chassis, you'll understand why we give Harvick such high pre-race marks even though he's starting dead last. The chassis led 748 laps season and captured wins at Darlington and Phoenix. Even with all the changes this season, the thing still came out and rolled like nothing had changed, including third in both test sessions Thursday, second in practice and qualifying on Friday and then fastest on Saturday before the engine blew.

Harvick hasn't won at Atlanta since his dramatic victory over Jeff Gordon as a rookie in 2001 where the margin of victory was 0.006 of a second, but he could double his win total Sunday.

The driver just below Harvick in our ratings is Denny Hamlin where it looks like he and his Joe Gibbs Racing gang might have benefited the most from the rules package. They were very ordinary (mildly stated) last season on 1.5-mile tracks after blowing the doors off of everyone in 2013 with seven wins in 11 races.

Hamlin had the fastest 10-consecutive lap average in the final practice session and should be battling for the lead most of the race. If you could make a bet on who would lead the most laps, Hamlin would be your guy. The 2012 Atlanta winner could also be a nice investment on future prices because if he's good on Sunday he'll likely be good on the other 1.5-mile tracks. Five of those 11 races on 1.5-mile tracks are in the Chase.

The best longshot in the race is Jamie McMurray at 30-to-1. McMurray tested and practiced well and is our 11th rated driver for the race.

Be sure to pay close attention to everything that happens on Sunday because it'll help you get a head start on handicapping next weeks race at Atlanta's sister track in Las Vegas.

Read More Here.....Final Atlanta Driver Ratings

Friday, February 27, 2015

More issues during NASCAR Qualifying at Atlanta

Nine drivers make the race based on owners points
HAMPTON, Ga. – Sprint Cup qualifying was marred by a debacle for the second consecutive race to start the 2015 season.

Several NASCAR stars failed to get on track because their cars didn’t pass inspection Friday before the session began to set the field for the Fields of Honor Quiktrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. There were 13 cars that didn’t take a lap, including Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth,Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart.

Gordon blasted NASCAR after his No. 24 Chevrolet didn’t take a lap, apologizing to fans and 3M, which was making its debut as his primary sponsor.

“When you have this many teams having issues going through, there’s something wrong with this system or something wrong with the amount of time they’re allotted to get through,” said Gordon, whose car went through the inspection bay twice. “There’s no way with this many good cars and talented people that they can’t figure out how to get these cars through inspection. These guys are too smart and yeah, we’re pushing limits, but there’s something wrong here.

“I’m embarrassed for our series now that this just happened. I’m really upset for my sponsor 3M that just came on this weekend when we didn’t get a chance to qualify. We’re just fortunate that (we make the race). I know there’s a lot of teams that aren’t going to be that fortunate. I hate it for these guys that work so hard. … This is an embarrassment for all of us.”

Matt Kenseth shared that sentiment.

Read More Here.....NBC NASCAR Talk

Kyle Larson fastest in first QuikTrip 500 practice at Atlanta

Kyle Larson might be in store for 1st career win 
Kyle Larson was fastest Friday afternoon during the first QuikTrip 500 practice session at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Larson laid down a lap at 192.989 mph which was in line with Thursday's open test session at Atlanta where he had the second fastest lap of the day behind teammate Jamie McMurray. Larson finished eighth last season in his first Sprint Cup race at Atlanta.

Kevin Harvick showed he's ready to roll again on 1.5-mile tracks with the second fastest speed at 192.607 mph. Harvick hasn't won at Atlanta since his dramatic win as a rookie in 2001, but he is using a chassis that led 748 total laps last season including wins at Darlington and Phoenix.

David Ragan, driving for the injured Kyle Busch, came in third quickest in the No. 18 JGR Toyota at 192.547 mph and was followed by Joey Logano (192.373) and 2012 Atlanta winner Denny Hamlin (192.366).

Rounding out the top-10 was three-time Atlanta winner Tony Stewart (192.000), Justin Allgaier (191.914), Brad Keselowski (191.827), Matt Kenseth (191.622) and Jamie McMurray (191.556). Kenseth tied a career-best with second-place at Atlanta in 2014, but is still searching for his first win there.

Qualifying will be later this evening at (5:45 pm ET) and then the final two practice sessions will occur Saturday. The green flag is expected to drop Sunday at 1:16 pm (ET), but weather could be a problem with a 50 percent chance of rain in the forecast.

Practice 1 Speeds

Jeff Gordon talks with media Friday at Atlanta

Jeff Gordon made his first career Sprint Cup start at Atlanta in 1992
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 3M CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Atlanta Motor Speedway and discussed the new rules package, his memories of racing through his career at AMS and many other topics.

Following receiving a commemorative photo of the souvenir program art and bandolero from US Legend Cars for his two children Ella and Leo from Atlanta Motor Speedway President Ed Clark, Gordon made the following comments:
“That is amazing. I appreciate you not giving me anything. Leo is going to want to sleep in this thing at night. I have a feeling this might end up in his bedroom for a year or two before he can drive it. That is awesome. Thank you so much. I was watching practice earlier with Xfinity and I saw the ‘Thanks 24’ out there in the grass. It really put a big smile on my face. I appreciate all the effort you and your staff have done. Not just this weekend, but over all the years. You are right this is a very special place to me. I will certainly never forget that first race here. I will never forget that driver’s meeting. Do you remember that driver’s meeting? That was an amazing driver’s meeting. For it to be my first one in Cup and Richard’s (Petty) last one and the faces that were in there beyond just the drivers was pretty impressive. I know I have told this story many times; I still have that money clip that Richard handed out that day with my starting position. I wasn’t that proud at the moment because we started 21st, but I will remember that forever. I will always remember Atlanta Motor Speedway as one of my fondest, not only did I start my Cup career here, I won my very first at the time Busch Grand National race here. Luckily, Rick Hendrick happened to be here that day and watch. This place has done so much for me. Now look what it might do for Leo. Thank you.”

“It was a big one. Not only was it my first win in NASCAR, but there were no slouches that I was racing against that day. If I remember correctly it was Mark Martin, Bill Elliott and Dale Earnhardt, Sr., three guys that I had to battle with to win that race, not to mention some other Cup drivers as well as Busch Grand National drivers at the time. That was a big moment.

“Bill Davis Racing had really brought up their game as far as their race cars and primarily the horse power under the hood. This was the first chance that we had to really showcase that that year. We really struggled on the bigger tracks the year before that. We dominated those types of tracks in ’92. As I mentioned Rick Hendrick being here that day, I know there was a lot of controversy with me and Ford and Bill (Davis) moving forward not being with Bill. I can easily say now that it was the right decision to go with Hendrick Motorsports and I can honestly say that as grateful as I was for Bill and Ford at that time, my life and my career would not be the same if Rick Hendrick hadn’t of been calling me after that race.”

“I was talking on the radio to them and all of a sudden I saw the number on my dash going up because I was hitting that button as well. That is the only time I have used it so far. I am not really one to be big on moving the track bar around. It is nice to have a tool. You have to understand it moves very slow. It’s like almost five seconds for it to move an inch. It’s not like it’s a tool that you can use every corner or that you plan to use every lap. Some guys might use it more than others, but it is nice to have. I think as the season goes on we will get more and more comfortable with it. There will be certain tracks that you will want to adjust it more than others.

“You have to understand that these guys they put so much detail into the set-up’s. To get the set-up’s right so that the springs, shocks, the cross weight we have in, all those things that we have going on, bar load is to give the car a certain amount of grip. Going in the corner and doing something a little bit different as it loads in the middle of the corner and something different on the exit. Sometimes making that adjustment with the track bar can only hurt some of those other things instead of helping you. I really look at it as a tool of when you need something fairly major to happen. Other than that I don’t plan on adjusting it much. It is nice as that fuel burns to have something that can help you. I will let you know more after this weekend how much we play around with it, over the next five races especially.

“He hasn’t given me any guidelines, no. We have just discussed that we are going to do some runstomorrow by me adjusting it and go from there.”

“I don’t think she is interested in being a celebrity. I think that she enjoyed the moments of celebrity that she has gotten. Who doesn’t like some attention? I think that for her it’s more of kids telling her at school. Being seven and eight years old that well you are not going to be on TV anymore after this year. I think that sort of took her back. But it’s been a good life lesson trying to teach her how to handle those types of situations. What were you asking about Leo?

“Well first of all Mom and Dad are going to have to figure out if he can because we did the quarter midget track last year a couple of times. Ella was ready to go. Leo is not quite ready, but I can see him being ready soon, but Mom and Dad were not ready for that. That was terrifying. This thing goes a lot faster than a quarter midget. As cool as this thing is it is going to be more on me getting my heart ready for it. We have ordered two quarter midgets this year because we do plan on doing more of it.

“When Leo is ready we have got one for him. I think that they are going to drive some cars I just don’t know where it all is going to go."

“I am but I can promise you that on most of those adjustments, I’m going to defer back to the team and say, ‘Here’s what I’m feeling. What adjustment would you like me to make?’ The setups have gotten so advanced now that what I grew up racing with and what used to be common sense as to what works is not the case anymore. It’s the exact opposite. Everything you do today is about body attitude and aerodynamics, and that outweighs a lot of the mechanical grip things and tools you can use inside the car. I like having tools. It’s a way to sort of separate the competition a little bit. We’ve gotten into this common template where the cars are so much alike that it’s tough to find an edge. That’s one of the things I love about tracks like Atlanta. The edge comes from the tires wearing, the pace falling off and the groove moving around so you can separate yourself. There are some tracks where you don’t have that ability to move around. Really this track bar adjuster was created more for traffic. The cars are different in clean air versus dirty air. In dirty air, a lot of us are complaining about the cars being loose. They’re hoping that in traffic, that track bar adjuster will be beneficial. So I’m open to some of those ideas but I do think we need to take them one step at a time and not get too many options in there too quickly.”

“That’s tough. We had kind of a tough start to the day and had an issue with an oil heater and had to switch out some oil lines and the oil tank. Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) was not real thrilled with how our morning started. I wanted to tell him that it could be a lot worse; your car could have been stolen last night. But I hate that for Travis and those guys. That’s a really, really bad way to get your weekend started. I hope they get they get to the bottom of it.”

“The track’s changed quite a bit over the years. I loved the configuration that I started with here and then they redid it with the pavement, and it was tough to get used to get used to that new configuration with the pace and the grip level. So I had to change and adapt to that. I really like how it started to wear out to get to where it is today. This type of track I really love. What you do on those tracks in these circumstances is you still work hard on getting the balance right but I love that you never get yourself locked into one particular place on the race track where you think you need to run. You need to search around and find things. I go back to the tools. We don’t really have tools in the car – now we have is the track bar adjuster. Prior to that, your tool was moving around and how you brake in the corner, how you use the throttle and how you get out of the throttle. I’ve always tried to be real smooth, manage the tires and not abuse the tires. But some of that also can be utilizing the track and the width it has. I still think Kevin Harvick is the best I’ve seen at going around the bottom and using the yellow line. I had to adapt to that last year to hang with him on one of the runs when I got loose running up top. I kind of think that when it comes to running at the top, that’s my bread and butter at this place. I’ve got a certain line in turns 3 and 4 that I use and sometimes I can make a different one work there, too. When those lines and the car is working for me and I hit it right, I feel like we’re almost unbeatable.”

“That’s been my favorite part of the season so far. I met with a group of fans earlier today, and just to hear their stories and share pictures – whether it is on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or in person – it’s amazing to experience that with them and it takes you back to those memories. Sometimes I remember those moments and sometimes I don’t. But definitely so far the highlight has been making the announcement and hearing the overwhelming praise from not just my peers but the fans and the media. That’s not really something you can anticipate or prepare for. There are a couple of times that it’s gotten me pretty choked up to think of all the things I’ve accomplished and the way people have viewed it over the years.”

“By trouble, I hope you mean dial the car out because absolutely. When I was racing sprint cars, it was when the hydraulic wing adjusters really started to come on. We had one that went forward, back, left and right. You had two valves – one that moved it left and right, and the other that moved it front and back. I can remember being pretty good to start the race and wanted to make it a little bit better. I adjusted the wing and thought that was good and the next thing I knew I was going backward. Then you’re trying to figure out where it should be, what went wrong and what’s going to get you back. That can easily happen with the track bar. We have a nice readout on our dash that tells us where it’s at. You just have to read the plus and minus well or you can get yourself tuned out the wrong way. The adjuster has to work real well and not have the issue I had today where you can hit it too easily. I’m going to be using it very cautiously.

About Chevrolet:
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.8 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature engaging performance, design that makes the heart beat, passive & active safety features and easy-to-use technology, all at a value. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at

- Team Chevy

Driver Chassis Selections for Atlanta: 2015 QuikTrip 500

Clint Bowyer had a great test session Thursday at Atlanta

#3-Austin Dillon will pilot Chassis No. 481 in the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. This is the same DOW Chevy that Dillon raced in 2014 to a 25th-place finish at Homestead in November, a 13th-place finish at Charlotte in October, a 16th-place finish at Chicago in September, a 22nd-place finish at Michigan in August and a 10th-place finish at Indianapolis in July.

#4-Kevin Harvick: will pilot Chassis No. 4-843 in the Folds of Honor 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Atlanta. Built in 2014, Chassis No. 4-843 is the most successful chassis in the #4 lineup, having won two Sprint Cup races and two pole positions, as well as leading 748 laps last season. Chassis No. 4-843 started 16th, led 23 laps and finished 41st in its debut at Las Vegas. In its next outing, Harvick won the pole and led 238 laps en route to winning the Southern 500 at Darlington. Chassis No. 4-843 started fourth and finished 14th at Pocono in June. At Dover, Harvick won the pole, led 223 laps and finished 13th. The final race of 2014 for Chassis No. 4-843 was perhaps the most impressive as it started third and led 264 laps in a must-win performance that kept Harvick's slim Sprint Cup championship hopes alive at Phoenix.

#5-Kasey Kahne: Crew chief Keith Rodden has selected Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-911 for Sunday's race. Kahne last drove the car to a 10th-place finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway in October 2014.

#10-Danica Patrick: will pilot Chassis No. 908 in the Folds of Honor 500. Patrick raced this car to an 18th-place finish in the 2014 season finale at Homestead. Formerly a #41 chassis for Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kurt Busch, Chassis No. 908 made its on-track debut at Charlotte in October 2014. That weekend, Busch set a track qualifying record with a speed of 198.771 mph and went on to score an 11th-place finish in the race.

#14-Tony Stewart: Chassis No. 14-898 debuted in August 2014 at Michigan with veteran NASCAR driver Jeff Burton at the wheel. Burton qualified 27th and felt the car was capable of advancing to the front, but a cracked tailpipe caught the heat shields underneath the car on fire around lap 65. It took 24 laps in the garage to make repairs, and Burton finished a disappointing 37th. Chassis No. 14-898 returned to action Labor Day weekend at Atlanta with Tony Stewart. After starting 12th and passing five cars on the first lap, Stewart continued to show strength, climbing all the way to fourth place by lap 15. Changing track conditions saw Stewart drop to 12th by lap 100, but in working the low line around the track's corners, Stewart made the racecar work for him. Unfortunately, a flat right-front tire on lap 171 sent Stewart into the turn-two wall. The right side of Chassis No. 14-898 scraped along the SAFER Barrier and then moments later, the tire shredded, ripping apart sheet metal and suspension components. Too damaged to repair, the car suffered a DNF (Did Not Finish). The car was busy afterward, testing at Charlotte Sept. 29-30 and at Homestead Oct. 28-29 before competing in the season finale at Homestead Nov. 16 where an overheating engine left Chassis No. 14-898 with a 43rd-place finish. With new Chevrolet SS sheet metal honed in the wind tunnel this offseason, the car returns to Atlanta for its fourth career start and second at Atlanta.

#15-Clint Bowyer: Chassis No. 815 serves as the primary chassis for Bowyer at Atlanta, is is a brand new chassis. Chassis No. 816 serves as the back-up chassis and is new.

#24-Jeff Gordon: Crew chief Alan Gustafson has selected Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 24-914 for Sunday's race. The chassis has been raced once, with Gordon leading 161 laps from the pole position en route to a 10th-place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2014.

#27-Paul Menard will utilize chassis No. 487 during the 325-lap event at Atlanta Motor Speedway. This #27 Duracell / Menards Chevy saw action twice in 2014, once at Kansas in October where Menard started 19th and finished 16th and a second time at Texas in November where he started 15th and finished 17th.

#31-Ryan Newman will pilot chassis No. 486 in the second event on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule at Atlanta Motor Speedway. This #31 Caterpillar Chevy is a new car and will be utilized for the first time during Thursday's test session.

#32-Mike Bliss Crew Chief Clinton Cram will be bringing chassis 784 to serve as the primary car. This chassis previously ran at Homestead in 2014 with Blake Koch behind the wheel. Chassis 289 will serve as the backup car.

#41-Regan Smith will pilot Chassis No. 894 at Atlanta Motor. It was previously a #10 chassis for Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Danica Patrick. It made its debut at Charlotte in October 2014, when Patrick qualified 14th and appeared to be on her way to a top-10 finish before her solid run was derailed when she was involved in an on-track incident at lap 247. Since then, Chassis No. 894 has been outfitted with a new body and will see its first laps of the season this weekend at Atlanta.

#48-Jimmie Johnson: For the race in Atlanta, Knaus selected Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 48-910, which is the Chevrolet SS Johnson raced to victory at Texas in November 2014. The backup car is No. 48-824, which last saw action at Pocono in June.

#55-Brett Moffitt: will drive primary chassis 814 which finished 16th at Indy with Clint Bowyer, Vickers finished 13th at Richmond in September & 37th at Charlotte in October. The backup chassis is 813 which Bowyer drove chassis to 17th at Charlotte in May, 10th and sixth at Michigan races and ninth at Dover in September.

#88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.: This weekend, crew chief Greg Ives and the #88 team will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-920. This is a brand new chassis that has not been raced.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Atlanta Testing Notes from Thursday

Jeff Gordon looked good in Thursday testing at Atlanta
Since the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup season ended in November the main topic of concern for those who make odds and bet on each NASCAR race in Las Vegas was how the five dozen changes to the rules package would affect cars on 1.5-mile tracks. There was no preseason testing and Daytona speedweeks didn’t reveal anything, so Thursday’s two test sessions at Atlanta Motor Speedway was the first look at cars with 125 less horsepower than 2014 and a rear spoiler that is 2 inches shorter.

When looking over the speeds of both session, it doesn’t look as though much has changed from what we saw last in 2014 in regards to speed and who has the most of. In fact, Jamie McMurray’s fast lap at 191.549 mph was faster than Kevin Harvick’s 190 mph pole winning speed from Atlanta last fall.

The temperatures were much cooler today than what Harvick ran in August, but the dropoff in speeds isn’t nearly as dramatic as initially anticipated. McMurray’s speed in the early stages of the first 85-minute session held on to be the fastest on the day and his teammate Kyle Larson was right behind him at 190.195 mph as the second fastest which gives an upgrade to the rating of both Chip Ganassi Racing cars. Both were good on 1.5s last season, but they were really good Thursday.

In the second session, Jeff Gordon topped the charts at 188.424 mph (also had best 10-consecutive lap average) showing once again that when something changes with NASCAR requirements on the set-up of car that Hendrick Motorsports will be ahead of the curve. The four Hendrick cars all posted times within the top-11 during the final 115-minute session.

A few quick testing observations:

* Kevin Harvick is going to be fast again just like he was last season when he dominated every practice session on 1.5-mile tracks. He was third fastest in both sessions. Might he be in store for his first Atlanta win since 2001?

* Chevrolet cars produced nine of the fastest 12 laps in the first session and the top-six speeds in the late session. They combined to win six of the 11 races on 1.5-mile tracks in 2014.

* Ford looks to be behind a bit when the new rules package should have benefited many of their cars in theory just because everyone was kind of starting from scratch. The fastest Ford in the first session was 17th (Joey Logano) and in the second session Greg Biffle came in 12th.

* Penske Racing worried? They won five of the 11 races on 1.5-mile tracks last season and practiced extremely well all year, but both Logano and Brad Keselowski were very ordinary Thursday. It’s just a test and who knows what they were trying out on the day, but no one wants to be slow in any situation. We’ll follow this closely over the weekend when practices begin because both cars were considered among the favorites to win on Sunday.

* Toyota showed some competitive speeds which is already an improvement from their 1.5-mile package ran last year. After winning seven of 11 races on 1.5-mile tracks in 2013, they didn’t win any in 2014. Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards all looked strong for Joe Gibbs Racing. Clint Bowyer also looked much better as well with the fourth fastest lap (189.720 mph) in the second session.

* Richard Childress Racing had a good test with Ryan Newman posting the second fastest lap (188.418 mph) in the second session. This is great news for the team considering they didn’t win a race in 2014.

Everyone else fell right about where we might expect. This is just a test, so let’s not make too much out of it, but it at least gives us a base for handicapping and setting odds because prior to Thursday there was a lot of uncertainty.

During Friday’s qualifying and Saturday’s practices things could be much different as most teams will likely use a completely different car or at least a different engine than what was tested. But now the teams have some first hand notes to apply and not only for the weekend, but for the next few months of races on 1.5-mile tracks. The formula to winning a season championship is by being good on the type of track that there are the most of and there are 11 races on the cookie-cutters during the season.

Thursday Test Session No. 1

Thursday Test Session No. 2

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

No preseason testing may have leveled NASCAR playing field

No preseason testing may have leveled playing field
When the NASCAR circuit arrives at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the second race of the season, the first at a non-restrictor-plate track, there will be a host of new rules for Sprint Cup cars.

Among them are a reduction in horsepower along with a reduction in downforce. Drivers will be allowed to make chassis adjustments from inside the cars, and officiating on pit road will be done more with electronics, taking some of the judgment calls out of the equation.

Former driver and Fox analyst Darrell Waltrip said the new pit-road rules could be problematic for teams, especially at Daytona, Atlanta and some of the earlier races on the schedule.

Larry McReynolds, a long-time crew chief who now works alongside Waltrip as an analyst, said one rule change that is not getting a lot of attention could have the most impact.

“The biggest one is the ban on testing other than the tests in conjunction with NASCAR or Goodyear,” he said, adding that rules changes always seem to affect some teams more than others.

“We saw that last year with the no-ride-height and downforce changes. Joe Gibbs Racing struggled when compared to their 2013 performance.

“If anything, what the testing ban could do is give an advantage to the middle-tier teams who typically can’t afford to test. It levels the playing field a bit more for them.”

Read More Here....Atlanta Constitution-Journal

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Atlanta QuikTrip 500 Betting Notes: Use cautious wait-and-see approach

Jeff Gordon to run final Atlanta race this week; he has 5 career wins
LAS VEGAS -- Jeff Gordon wasn't even on the odds board when he made his first career NASCAR Cup start at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1992, but in what is likely to be his final start on the high-banked 1.5-mile layout, he's listed by the Las Vegas Westgate SuperBook as the 6-to-1 co-favorite, along with Kevin Harvick, to win Sunday's QuikTrip 500.

This is no tip of the cap by the SuperBook to honor a four-time Cup champion who is retiring at the end of the season. Gordon was made the favorite because he has proven to be one of the best at Atlanta over his career with five wins and five runner-ups. Since NASCAR began compiling Loop data from each race in 2005, Gordon tops all drivers at Atlanta with a 106.0 rating; Jimmie Johnson is second at 104.9.

Among all drivers with at least two starts at Atlanta, Gordon's 9.9 average finish over the past 20 races is also the best among all drivers. In 41 career starts, he's averaged an 11.9 finish, including his start in the ’92 season finale (Hooter's 500), where he finished 31st (Bill Elliott won the race, but second-place finisher Alan Kulwicki won the season championship. The race was also the final start of Richard Petty's career. This NASCAR royalty story of one generation's end meeting another's beginning continues, as as Elliott's son -- Xfinity series driver Chase Elliott -- will be taking over Gordon's famed No. 24 next season).

Oddsmakers and bettors this week must forecast how these new cars will perform and who truly has the edge. We can look at drivers’ histories at Atlanta and on 1.5-mile tracks to get a base on who should be favored, but no one really knows who will come out strongest in cars with 125 less horsepower and spoilers two inches shorter than in 2014. All those notes with Penske winning five of 11 1.5-mile races or Kevin Harvick dominating during practices can be thrown out the window. This is an entirely new venture, and it's possible for a few unexpected names to show up near the top of Thursday's test session.

The only testing that occurred for the new rules package was for Goodyear tires, and those were closed to the public and media and no speeds were revealed. Only one driver from each team participated, so notes have to be shared among teammates. When the cars come off the hauler, crew chiefs will be getting to work immediately trying to find speed.

Chances are that Hendrick Motorsports drivers will have an edge – they always seem to whenever there are any changes. Stewart-Haas Racing's relationship with Hendrick also leads us to believe that Harvick might be as good as last season, but we won't fully know until Thursday.

Will Penske be as good as the team was in 2014? Even with the same package, it might have difficulty recreating the same success.

How about Joe Gibbs Racing? The team didn't win a race last season on 1.5-mile tracks after winning seven of 11 in 2013. They have to be better this year, right?

There are all kinds of questions around every team, and NASCAR leveling the playing field by banning testing may benefit some of the smaller ones. Maybe Roush Fenway Racing steps it up this year, or how about Richard Petty Motorsports?

Not all of the questions will be answered this weekend, but after Thursday's test and the weekend practices, we'll get a broader view of what to expect in Sunday's race, as well as for the 10 other 1.5-mile tracks this season, including Las Vegas in two weeks.

The best wagering strategy this week is to wait and see what happens in Thursday's testing. Odds on the favorites are low enough that they shouldn't change much, but you'll be looking for that surprise driver who may offer strong value before the books adjust. Maybe it's Greg Biffle (50/1) that comes out blazing fast or an entry from Richard Childress Racing, a team that went winless in 2014.

Be sure to check back over the weekend as we share everything learned from testing and practices that may assist your weekend NASCAR wagering.

Read More Here.....Atlanta QuickTrip 500 odds from Westgate

David Ragan to drive No. 18 M&M's Toyota at Atlanta for Kyle Busch

David Ragan is part of the 'Field' bet at 100/1 to win Sunday at Atlanta
Kyle Busch Transferred To Charlotte Area Hospital; Erik Jones Will Pilot No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota In NASCAR XFINITY Series in Atlanta

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (February 24, 2015) – Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announces today that David Ragan will fill in for Kyle Busch behind the wheel of the No. 18 M&Ms Crispy Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series beginning with this weekend’s raceat Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Kyle Busch was released this morning from Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach, FL and transferred to a hospital near his home in Charlotte, North Carolina for further treatment. Busch sustained a compound fracture of the right lower leg in an accident during Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona International Speedway. Additionally, Busch suffered a mid-foot fracture of his left foot in the accident.

No specific timetable has been announced for Busch’s return to the race track. It is expected that Ragan will pilot the No. 18 M&Ms Crispy Toyota for at least the next several weeks. Ragan’s current race team Front Row Motorsports and sponsor CSX accommodated the move by Ragan and Ragan is expected to return to the team later this season.

Additional updates on Busch’s condition will be provided as necessary.

In addition, JGR announces that Erik Jones will pilot the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota in the NASCAR XFINITY Series this weekend in Atlanta. An announcement on who will drive the Monster Energy Camry following Atlanta will be made at a later date.

Ragan has run eight full seasons in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with 291 career starts. The 29-year-old Georgia native has two career wins, including most recently at Talladega Superspeedway in May of 2013.

Jones is currently running a full season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports and a partial schedule for JGR in the No. 20 NASCAR XFINITY Series Camry.

“We appreciate being able to work with Front Row Motorsports and CSX for David’s (Ragan) availability,” said Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. “We are fortunate to be able to have someone of David’s caliber behind the wheel while Kyle recovers. Erik is a big part of our future at JGR and we will be increasing his schedule in the XFINITY Series beginning this weekend in Atlanta and seeking the earliest opportunity to provide him Cup experience. We appreciate all the support we have received from the NASCAR community including our fans and we look forward to getting Kyle back in the car as soon as possible.”

“Everyone at Mars is thankful that Kyle is doing well and we continue to wish him a speedy recovery,” said William Clements, vice president of sponsorship and sports marketing for Mars Incorporated. “While we can’t wait until Kyle returns behind the wheel of the No. 18 M&Ms Crispy Toyota, we are excited to work with David and we’re pleased JGR was able to work it out for him to step in during Kyle’s absence.”

About Joe Gibbs Racing:
Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) is one of the premier organizations in NASCAR with four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams, three NASCAR XFINITY Series teams and a driver development program. Its 2015 driver lineup consists of Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, and Carl Edwards in the Sprint Cup Series. Meanwhile Daniel Suarez will run fulltime in the NASCAR XFINITY Series as one of JGR’s three teams with Erik Jones coming on board to run a partial schedule along with Busch, Hamlin, Kenseth, and Kenny Habul. Cody Coughlin is currently in JGR’s driver development program. Based in Huntersville, N.C., and owned by Joe Gibbs — a three-time Super Bowl winner as head coach of the Washington Redskins and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame — JGR has competed in NASCAR since 1992, winning three Cup Series championships, and four Nationwide Series owner’s championships along with more than 200 NASCAR races, including three Brickyard 400s and the 1993 Daytona 500.

- Joe Gibbs Racing

Austin Dillon on Atlanta: 'The new package will be interesting'

Austin Dillon is 75/1 to win at Atlanta on Sunday
Austin Dillon
No. 3 Dow Chevrolet SS

Race Notes and Quotes:

This Week’s Dow Chevrolet at Atlanta Motor Speedway
… Austin Dillon will pilot Chassis No. 481 in the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. This is the same Chevrolet SS that Dillon raced in 2014 to a 25th-place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November, a 13th-place finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway in October, a 16th-place finish at Chicagoland Speedway in September, a 22nd-place finish at Michigan International Speedway in August and a 10th-place finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July.

Dillon at Atlanta Motor Speedway … In two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Dillon has acquired finishes of 19th (2013) and 24th (2014). He has two NASCAR XFINITY Series starts at the track, finishing eighth (2013) and sixth (2012). The 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion has two starts at the 1.54-mile track in Truck Series competition, finishing sixth in September 2011 and 10th in March 2010.

Testing 1, 2, 3 … The Sprint Cup Series starts off the Atlanta race weekend with a four-hour test session designed to help acclimate race teams to the 2015 rules package. The new package includes a reduction of horsepower to 725 via tapered spacer, roller valve lifters to replace flat valve lifter, lower rear differential gear ratios targeting 9,000 RPM, rear spoiler adjustment to six inches high instead of eight inches, the addition of an optional driver-adjustable track bar, a 38-inch-wide radiator pan, the minimum vehicle weight drops 50 lbs to 3,250 lbs via ballast reduction and revised brake calipers. The new rules are designed to promote enriched competition, improved safety, reduced cost, enhanced product relevance and environmental (green) improvements.

Welcome, Dow … Returning primary sponsor of the No.3 Chevrolet SS, Dow enters its second season with RCR and driver Austin Dillon. Together, both teams embrace the power of science, technology and safety as RCR tests Dow products under the most strenuous conditions. Dow also drives innovation to help address many of the world’s most challenging problems, bringing a broad range of sustainable products and solutions to customers in nearly 180 countries with more than 6,000 products manufactured across the globe. See our YouTube video “Dawn to Dusk” to see how Dow products touch the lives of everyone…from dawn to dusk ( More information about Dow can be found at

RCR Salutes … The No. 3 Dow Chevrolet team pit box sports a patriotic theme this season in homage to the United States military, current service members and the memory of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the name of freedom. On Sunday, the team honors Hope for Warriors visitors from the U.S. Army stationed at Fort Benning who have served in various capacities, including combat arms and infantry. The group includes Oliver Sudduth, Detrice Burriss, Timothy Osteen, Jennifer Etheridge, Ellis Brockman, Velma Brockman, Matthew Perry, Timothy Drew and Che Wright.

One Year Ago … In his most recent appearance at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Dillon started 13th and finished 24th in the Dow Chevrolet after struggling with a lack of forward drive throughout the 500-mile race.

Meet Dillon … Dillon is scheduled to appear in the QuikTrip Fan Zone, located in the Atlanta Motor Speedway Fan Zone, on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. He is also scheduled to participate in a Q&A session at the Team Chevy Stage, located in the Atlanta Motor Speedway Fan Zone, at 9:50 a.m. on Sunday.


Do you think Atlanta Motor Speedway will be different this year with the race at a different time of year?

“I think Atlanta Motor Speedway is definitely going to be a different race this year with the race occurring much earlier in the year. The temperatures are lower and you’ll see more grip to the track. The new package will be interesting. The first few days we are there testing and getting used to it. It will be the first time that anybody has really ran it, so I am hoping all the work we put into our program at RCR in the off season really pays off.”

Is Atlanta Motor Speedway one of your favorite mile-and-a-halves on the circuit? A lot of drivers seem to really like it because the track is so worn you can drive anywhere.
“It is. It can be a really frustrating place when you don’t have your car, right but it can be one of the most fun places when you are going by people. Definitely some good racing goes on in Atlanta Motor Speedway and I like the date change. You’ll see some unbelievable speeds in qualifying, too.”

It was fun to watch you win the Gator Championship at Volusia Speedway last week when you were in Florida for Daytona Speedweeks. Who was your right-hand man in dirt racing that got you started in your career?
“Dale and Shane McDowell are the guys I kind of contribute everything to. They’ve done so much for me development-wise and teaching me how to race and be around race cars. Also, how you treat others around racing. I can’t say enough about what they’ve done for my career, and still are. They work at the dirt shop, Team Dillon Racing, and it’s been fun to work with them. We field a dirt late model with Dale out there driving it each and every week and he and his brother go out there and work together. It’s fun. We won a huge race last year at Eldora Speedway, the World 100, and that’s probably one of the coolest things that happened for our whole family last year.”

- Richard Childress Racing

Ryan Newman looking for 'good balance' on his car at Atlanta this weekend

Ryan Newman is 30/1 to win at Atlanta on Sunday
Ryan Newman
No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS

Race Notes and Quotes:

This Week’s Caterpillar Chevrolet SS at Atlanta Motor Speedway
… Ryan Newman will drive chassis No. 486 in the second event on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule at Atlanta Motor Speedway. This No. 31 Chevrolet SS is a new car and will be utilized for the first time duringThursday’s test session.

Newman at AMS … In 22 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Newman owns seven pole awards, including sweeping six straight encompassing the 2003 to 2005 Sprint Cup seasons. He owns two top-five and eight top-10 finishes. His best results of fifth place came in 2013 and at the spring 2004 event. The South Bend, Ind., native has an average start of 7.4 and average finish of 17.2. He’s led a total of 175 laps in competition. In the Camping World Trucks Series, he captured victory in the fall 2008 race.

Welcome Aboard … This weekend, Newman’s No. 31 Chevrolet will feature the Caterpillar BuildingConstruction Products (BCP) Division paint scheme to help kick off the launch of two new products from Caterpillar giving their customers increased productivity while saving more fuel than ever before. Let’s Rethink the Tank!

The new Cat® D3K2, D4K2, and D5K2 Track Type Tractors have been upgraded with cleaner engines meeting U.S. EPA Tier 4 Final emissions standards and enhanced with new features that improve performance in utility and grading applications. Features such as Automatic Traction-Control, Slope-Indicate, which accuratelydisplay the machine’s blade angle, eliminating guesswork, and Slope-Assist, which facilitates grading by automatically maintaining pre-established blade angles. Consistent grades are attained more quickly and less experienced operators are more productive. #CatSlopeAssist.

The Building Construction Products Division is a global division of Caterpillar Inc. that employs several thousand employees located at facilities worldwide. BCP has production facilities in the U.S. (Clayton, N.C.; Sanford, N.C.; Athens, Ga.), UK, China, India and Brazil. Products designed, manufactured, and distributed by BCP include skid steer loaders, backhoe loaders, compact track loaders, multi-terrain loaders, small wheel loaders, small track-type tractors and mini-hydraulic excavators.

About Caterpillar … For nearly 90 years, Caterpillar Inc., has been making sustainable progress possible and driving positive change on every continent. Customers turn to Caterpillar to help them develop infrastructure, energy and natural resource assets. Caterpillar is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. The company principally operates through its three product segments – Resource Industries, Construction Industries and Power Systems – and also provides financing and related services through its Financial Products segment. More information is available at:

Point of Interest … Newman ranks 34th in the NSCS point standings entering this weekend’s second race on the Cup schedule. The RCR driver’s 38th-place showing in Sunday’s Daytona 500 was a result of a late-race accident with 40 laps remaining. Damage sustained in the mishap caused the No. 31 Chevrolet to go behind the wall for repairs. The team worked vigorously allowing Newman to return to the track and finish the event.

Media Availability … Newman will be accessible to media in attendance at AMS on Friday at noon Eastern Time. The media availability will be held outside the No. 31 hauler in the NSCS garage.

AMS Public Appearances … Newman is scheduled to participate in a question and answer session at the track on Sunday. He’ll be at the Coke Stage at 9:25 a.m. ET located in the QuikTrip Fan Zone.

Race Rewind … Last season in the Caterpillar Chevrolet at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Newman lined up eighth on the third and final green-white-checkered-flag restart and picked up one position to finish seventh. It was the team’s ninth top-10 result of the season.

Rescue Ranch Easter Portraits … Do you want to have that special picture of your little one(s) with an adorable bunny for Easter? Rescue Ranch’s own Hank, Hershey and Ivy will be camera ready on Saturday, March 14 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET. For details, visit


What is the key to running well at Atlanta Motor Speedway?

“Its like any other track. Its about having a good balance on your car. That’s important because the tires fall off so quickly. If you lose one end of your car versus the other, the front or the back, it becomes exponential. With having that good balance, having good forward drive off Turn 2 and obviously having some speed, it’s a fast track where good downforce keeps the tires alive.”

Both Daytona and Atlanta produce fast speeds. Can you describe the difference?
“We are at the limit of speed at Daytona, not because of grip, but because of terminal velocity. At Atlanta, it’s more of a matter of grip than it is terminal velocity. We can go a lot faster if I could keep it wide open. At Atlanta it is still really fast, but it’s a mile-and-a-half instead of a two-and-a-half-mile track. It’s a lot tighter radius and really grippy on new tires.”

Do you have any concerns about the new rules package?
“I really don’t have any concerns. I think the tire at Atlanta will live. It’s the tires we take to other tracks that we need to be having that resembles the Atlanta tire. Its not always easy to replicate. Its easier said than done. Everyone looks forward to Atlanta.”

- Richard Childress Racing

Brett Moffitt gets golden Cup opportunity at Atlanta in No. 55

Brett Moffitt is part of 'Field' bet at 100/1 to win at Atlanta
CORNELIUS, N.C. — When you talk about the rising stars of NASCAR a few names come to mind like Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson and Darrell Wallace Jr.

Based on the record book, the NASCAR world should add one more name to the list…Brett Moffitt.

In five years of fulltime NASCAR Pro Series East competition (2009-13) the 22-year-old Grimes, Iowa native won nine of the 61 races he entered.

Not bad considering NASCAR XFINITY Champion Chase Elliott won one race in 26 East races in his two-year career in the series. The 2014 Sprint Cup rookie of the year Kyle Larson won two of the 14 East races he entered and Darrell (Bubba) Wallace Jr., won six of 36 East races he entered.

What’s the difference between Moffitt and those rising stars since their days in the East Series?


That changes at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend. Moffitt will drive Michael Waltrip Racing’s No. 55 Aaron’s 60th Anniversary Dream Machine Toyota replacing Brian Vickers who’ll make his 2015 debut next weekend in Las Vegas after recovering from heart surgery.

Though Moffitt owns a few Sprint Cup starts, he’s never had a chance to demonstrate his talent with a full-time team, crew and car that’s competing for wins and a championship. Moffitt sees this weekend’s race as a chance to show the world he belongs with the sport’s young stars.

BRETT MOFFITT: “You always want to do well but you also don’t want to go out and make a crazy mistake trying too hard. I want to do well for myself but also for Michael Waltrip Racing and Aaron’s. They have shown a lot of faith in me over the last few years and given me this chance. That’s all I ask for. I want to show that I belong out here. We’ve had a lot of success back home in Iowa and in the East Series, but my family can’t fund racing out of its own pocket and sponsorship is always a challenge. When that’s the case, there aren’t a lot of opportunities for guys like me. So, you have to run well when you do have an opportunity like I’ll have in Atlanta. That isn’t pressure, in fact it’s kind of fun. Pressure to me is walking around the track with no ride.”

: Atlanta-based Aaron’s will celebrate its 60thanniversary with a special paint scheme on the No. 55 this weekend. Aaron’s joined MWR in 2000 serving as a primary sponsor in Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races. With more than 2,100 stores across the country, Aaron’s helps customers own the life they want.

CHASSIS: Primary Chassis: 814 - finished 16th at Indy with Clint Bowyer, Vickers finished 13th at Richmond in September & 37th at Charlotte in October. Backup: 813 – Bowyer drove chassis to 17th at Charlotte in May, 10th and sixth at Michigan races and ninth at Dover in September.

DAYTONA: Michael Waltrip finished 26th at Daytona last weekend driving the No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine.

MOFFITT NUMBERS: Moffitt is a nine-time winner in NASCAR K&N Pro Series East competition and currently serves as a test driver for Toyota Racing Development (TRD) and Michael Waltrip Racing. In 63 career NASCAR K&N Pro Series races, Moffitt has earned 10 poles, 34 top-five finishes and 45 top-10 finishes. In his 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series debut at Iowa Speedway, Moffitt finished ninth. The following year, he also made his first start in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competition, where he finished 14th at Kentucky Speedway and 17th at Michigan International Speedway. In 2014, Moffitt made his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut at Dover International Speedway, where he started 18th and finished 22nd. He has since competed in six additional Sprint Cup events.

Additional Moffitt stats:

o Sprint Cup Series: 7 starts
o XFINITY Series: 1 start, 1 top-10
o Camping World Truck Series: 2 starts
o K&N Pro Series: 63 starts, 9 wins, 34 top-5’s, 45 top-10’s, 10 poles
AARON’S: Aaron’s carries only the best brand names in furniture, electronics, and appliances with a variety of flexible payment options. It’s really easy to “Own It” at Aaron’s with customers who are now pre-approved for up to $2,500 in merchandise – no credit needed. During Aaron’s 60th Anniversary Sale, for the first time in Aaron’s history, get 6 months same as cash on ANYTHING IN THE STORE! And lease select items at just $60 a month. See the full selection of $60 products at your local Aaron’s store or at

CREW CHIEF BILLY SCOTT: Scott began racing motorcycles as a 5-year-old and stock cars when he turned 15. He worked in the truck series as a mechanic before he returned to college to obtain an engineering degree. After graduating in 2005 Scott worked at Robert Yates Racing and began as an engineer at MWR in 2008. The 36-year-old served exclusively as the No. 55 team’s lead engineer before taking over crew chief duties in 2014.


- Michael Waltrip Racing

Ricky Stenhouse on 1.5-mile tracks: 'Atlanta will be a good test to see if we made gains'

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is 100/1 to win at Atlanta
Ricky Stenhouse Jr – Quik Trip Fold of Honors 500 Advance
Team: No. 17 Fifth Third Bank Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Nick Sandler
Twitter: @PR17RFR @stenhousejr @FifthThird and @roushfenway


Stenhouse Jr. at Atlanta Motor Speedway

o Stenhouse has two career Sprint Cup starts at Atlanta with an average starting position of 13.5 and average finishing position of 18.0
o In 2013, Atlanta Motor Speedway is the site of where Stenhouse earned his first career Sprint Cup Coors Light pole award.
o Stenhouse has a total combined (XFINITY and Sprint Cup) five starts at Atlanta with an average finish position of 11.35 and earned one win in 2012 when he overtook the lead on the final lap from Kevin Harvick.

Last time at Atlanta
o Despite blowing a right rear tire in the last 100 laps, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. gained two positions on the final green-white-checkered attempt taking the checkered flag in the 20th position in Sunday’s Oral-B 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The Car
o This chassis was raced numerous times by the No. 99 team in 2014.
o It was last raced in Homestead-Miami for the Ford Championship weekend by Edwards.

Fifth Third Bank
o Fifth Third Bank has been a partner of Roush Fenway Racing since 2012.
o Fifth Third Bank is a U.S. regional banking corporation, headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio at Fifth Third Center, and is the principal subsidiary of holding company Fifth Third Bancorp.
o To find the nearest Fifth Third Bank branch near you – visit
o After Atlanta, Fifth Third Bank will return to the No. 17 as primary at Richmond International Raceway.

Stenhouse Jr. on racing at Atlanta:
“Atlanta is one of my favorite tracks on the circuit. It’s an older track that is rough but fast. Last year we struggled on the mile-and-a-half tracks so we worked really hard this off-season to improve our Fords so Atlanta will be a good test to see if we have made gains. Atlanta is a long race so we will work on our Fifth Third Bank Ford and hopefully have it dialed in by the end of the race.”

Nick Sandler on racing at Atlanta:
“I’m excited about racing in Atlanta this weekend. We have a lot of new design pieces that we have been working on so it will be interesting to see how we stack up against the other teams. We have a good plan of attack for the test on Thursday so I feel confident going into this weekend. With the weather being cool in Atlanta, the older track should have plenty of grip.”

- Roush Fenway Racing

Carl Edwards on Atlanta: 'We get to head to one of my favorite race tracks'

Carl Edwards is 10/1 to win at Atlanta on Sunday
Carl Edwards / No. 19 ARRIS Toyota Preview
Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway

No. 19 ARRIS Toyota News and Notes:
Atlanta Motor Speedway was the catapult for Edwards’ NASCAR Career with his first Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series wins in March of 2005. He also won the second Sprint Cup race there that year sweeping the season at the 1.5-mile track. He returned to victory lane at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the Sprint Cup Series in October 2008.

In 17 Sprint Cup Series starts at Atlanta, Edwards has completed 5,241 of 5,562 laps (94.2 percent) and has led for a total of 413 laps. Edwards has earned three wins, nine top-five and 11 top-ten finishes there. His average start is 9.8 and his average finish is 14.6.

RACE INFO: Folds of Honor Quiktrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway (1.54-mile) begins at 1:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 1st. The race will be broadcast live on FOX, Sirius XM Channel 90 and PRN Radio.

Edwards’ Career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Stats:
StartsWinsTop 5Top-10PolesLaps LedEarningsAvg. StartAvg. Finish

From the Cockpit:
Carl Edwards:
“Alright we get to head to one of my favorite race tracks, Atlanta. It’s a fast place. I like to go to Atlanta for a number of reasons, but number one is it’s just a fun race track. But really for me, it’s a special place because of that weekend in 2005 winning the XFINITY race on Saturday as well as the Sprint Cup race on Sunday. It changed my whole career. We’ve got ARRIS on board this weekend and Atlanta is where ARRIS is based. It was really cool last week at Daytona and we had a great run. We want to continue that. We feel like this is an opportunity to go get a victory and lock ourselves into the Chase early on.”

From the Pit Box:
Darian Grubb:
“Atlanta’s a unique race track with a really old worn-out surface, which makes it a lot of fun to derive the handling characteristics for the race car. Now we’re going with a new engine package and some different tires, so it’s gonna be interesting to go back down and feel all that out. We’re hoping to get a little time on the test day to iron things out with Carl on our intermediate program. I’m looking forward to getting there and hopefully showing what kind of speed we’ve got.”

ARRIS SURFboard products are your “gateway” to entertainment. They let you enjoy the latest entertainment, the world’s fastest speeds, and the coolest new services throughout your home, and beyond. And they’re available at your favorite retail store.

- Joe Gibbs Racing

Worn-out Atlanta surface makes it fun for Matt Kenseth

Matt Kenseth is 8/1 to win at Atlanta on Sunday
Matt Kenseth / No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Preview
Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway

No. 20 Dollar General Toyota News and Notes:

In 26 Sprint Cup Series career starts at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Matt Kenseth has an average finish of 12.3. He’s completed 8,067 of 8,410 (95.9 percent) career laps, and has led for a total of 306 laps. Kenseth has earned nine top-five, 15 top-10 finishes, and one pole award at the 1.54-mile track.

Joe Gibbs Racing has 87 Sprint Cup Series starts at Atlanta and has earned 11 wins, 28 top-five, and 40 top-ten finishes. The organization has led for a total of 2,488 laps, has an average start of 16.4, an average finish of 15.2, and has completed 27,123 of 28,161 (96.3 percent) laps.

THIS WEEK ON THE NO. 20 DOLLAR GENERAL TOYOTA: Dollar General vendor partners Clorox, Colgate, Bugles, Combat, Stacker2, Hefty Reynolds Wrap, Quilted Northern, Old Spice, Wisk and Gatorade will be featured on Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 Toyota Camry this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

RACE INFO: The Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway (1.54-mile) begins at 1:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 1. The race will be broadcast live on FOX, Sirius XM Channel 90 and PRN Radio.
Kenseth’s 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Season Stats:
StartsWinsTop 5
PolesLaps LedEarningsAvg. StartAvg. Finish
Kenseth’s Career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Stats:
StartsWinsTop 5Top 10PolesLaps LedEarningsAvg. StartAvg. Finish

From the Cockpit:
Matt Kenseth:
“Atlanta is one of the most worn-out surfaces that we go to, so it’s fun, but you need to be decent at the beginning of a run, and also decent at the end of a run on old tires. It’s often hard to find that balance with your race car because these races can come down to short runs. With the older pavement, Atlanta isn’t as fast as it used to be, but it’s still a really fun place for us to race. With no offseason testing, we’re not really sure how the new rules package will work out until we get a few weeks of racing under our belts, so there’s a lot that we just don’t entirely know yet.”

From the Pit Box:
Jason Ratcliff:
“We’re back to a day race in Atlanta, and early in the season, which I actually liked when we used to race there early on in the schedule years ago. I’m looking forward to this weekend because the track isn’t too far from home for us, so it’s a short trip there, and it’s a nice way to get our season started. We’ll have a four-hour test day on Thursday, leading into the weekend, which should be pretty helpful in letting teams get their hands around this new car a little more before we race it. This weekend will also be the first time that we’ll really get to see how drivers can work from inside the car to help with adjustments. The great thing about Matt (Kenseth) is that he understands what we should do and how to approach changes. Our main focus will be to make sure that we communicate effectively with him about what changes he’s making from inside the DG Camry so that we can make other appropriate adjustments throughout the race.”

DG at the Track:
Dollar General has more retail locations than any retailer in America, with ­­­more than 11,700 stores in 40 states. Here are the 12 nearest locations to Atlanta Motor Speedway.

- Joe Gibbs Racing

Greg Biffle using 2014 10th-place Atlanta chassis this week

Greg Biffle is 30/1 to win at Atlanta on Sunday
Greg Biffle – Atlanta Advance
Team: No. 16 Ortho Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Matt Puccia
Twitter: @16RFRCup, @gbiffle


Biffle at Atlanta

Biffle has 20 Sprint Cup Series starts at Atlanta, earning three top-five and 10 top-10 finishes. He has an average starting position of 13.4 and finishing position of 15.6.

Last Time at Atlanta
Atlanta last year was the first race Biffle had Ortho on the hood of his No. 16 Ford and he earned a 10th-place finish. Biffle lost a lap early on in the race battling rear grip, but the team never gave up, ultimately earning their lap back.

The Car
Biffle is heading back to Atlanta with the same chassis he earned a top-10 finish with in the fall at the 1.5-mile track.

Designed to educate consumers about Ortho products, “What’s Buggin’ Biffle” takes on everyday challenges and gives homeowners real-life answers. The web-series gives fans a peek under Biffle’s hood to see what’s buggin’ him both on-and-off the track. Check out for the latest episodes!

Biffle on Atlanta:
“Atlanta is a tough place, the car from lap one is sliding out of control. Five or 10 laps into a run you’re slipping and sliding all over the place. I like the shift from Atlanta being later in the year to earlier in the year; I think it will help a little with the tire wear. Atlanta is definitely one of the toughest race tracks we go to for tire wear.”

Puccia on Atlanta:
“Track time on Thursday with the new tapered spacer will be important for all of us. Atlanta is a unique track because it’s one of the more worn out 1.5-mile tracks that we go to on the circuit. It’s also very bumpy, so getting a compromise of balance of being able to get through the bumps is important. I’m looking forward to going down there with the No. 16 Ortho Ford Fusion and getting a good run this weekend.”

- Roush Fenway Racing

Trevor Bayne crew chief Bob Osborne has 3 Cup wins at Atlanta

Trevor Bayne is 100/1 to win at Atlanta Sunday
Trevor Bayne – Atlanta Advance
Team: No. 6 AdvoCare Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Bob Osborne
Twitter: @Tbayne6, @RFR6PR and @RoushFenway
Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 – Sunday, March 1 at 1:00pm EST. on FOX


Bayne at Atlanta

* Trevor Bayne will make his second career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) start at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend. In one previous start at the 1.5-Mile oval, Bayne started in the 32nd position and finished 16th.
* In 25 career starts on 1.5-Mile tracks in the NSCS, Bayne has earned an average start of 20.8 and an average finish of 23.4.
* Bayne previously raced at Atlanta in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, making five starts and recording one top-10 finish, a seventh-place finish on Aug. 31, 2013.
* According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics, Bayne ranks eighth in fastest laps run (23), eighth in laps run inside the top 15 (728), 13th in average running position (11.8) and 14th in driver rating (88.3) in the XFINITY Series.

Bob Osborne at Atlanta
* Bob Osborne earned his first career NSCS win as a crew chief on March 20, 2005 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway with driver Carl Edwards. Edwards began the event from the fourth position and narrowly beat Jimmie Johnson off of Turn 4 on the final lap to take the victory.

* Osborne will call his 14th career NSCS race at Atlanta on Sunday afternoon. In 13 previous races at the 1.5-Mile speedway, Osborne has recorded three wins, eight top-five and nine top-10 finishes.
Osborne went to Victory Lane at Atlanta in both events in 2005 as well as the fall event in 2008.

Recapping Daytona
Bayne took the green flag for the 57th running of the Daytona 500 from the 39th position after having to move to the rear of the field following an incident in the Duel 150 qualifying race. The driver of the No. 6 AdvoCare Ford Fusion consistently ran inside the top 20 for much of the 203-Lap event before being collected in an incident on the final lap, ultimately leading to a 30th-place finish.


Bayne on racing at Atlanta:

“This is the first time I will be racing a Cup car in the spring at Atlanta. I had the opportunity to race there once before with the Wood Brothers back in 2012, and we were able to run pretty well. Atlanta is one of those tracks where you can race on the bottom and on the top and I expect this No. 6 AdvoCare Ford Fusion to be rim riding it around the top all race long on Sunday.”

About AdvoCare
At AdvoCare, We Build Champions® through physical and financial wellness. Backed by the latest science, AdvoCare provides innovative nutritional, weight-management, sports performance and skin care products. In addition, the AdvoCare business opportunity empowers individuals to explore their ultimate earning potential. AdvoCare was founded in 1993 and is headquartered in Plano, Texas. For more information, visit or call 800-542-4800.

- Roush Fenway Racing

Clint Bowyer happy with Daytona result, heads to Atlanta

Clint Bowyer is 30/1 to win at Atlanta on Sunday
CORNELIUS, N.C. — The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series travels to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the second race of the season. The race comes on the heels of an exciting end to the series’ biggest race, the Daytona 500.

It was a race that saw Clint Bowyer challenging for the win on the last lap with competitors three wide. The driver of the No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota settled for a seventh-place finish, but showed in the process that his team is a contender early in the season.

The team shifts its focus to Atlanta and the 1.54-mile quad-oval which is known for producing fast speeds with white-knuckle qualifying sessions. Bowyer has been close to victory at Atlanta before, most notably 2013, when he led 48 laps. Being that good again could mean victory this time.

How would you assess your start to the season?
“That is just the start to the season we needed. Bummed we weren’t able to pull out the win for this whole 5-hour ENERGY team but we were in the mix at the end and that’s all you can ask for. You can feel the excitement at the shop and it’s carried over to the track. We had a few rough days at Daytona but the fact that we were able to overcome those and do what we need to do when it matters shows a lot about where we are as a team.”

What’s your outlook going to Atlanta?
“Well we need to keep the momentum from Daytona going, first of all. I like Atlanta. We nearly had the thing won a few years ago and were in decent shape there last year. Both times we had a failure so I’m thinking we’ve got that out of our system. I’ll tell you it’s a good thing we wear gloves because it’s going to be cold. But they play football in cold weather, why not race in it?”

Primary – No. 815
Back-Up – No. 816

Five top-10 finishes in 14 starts
Completed 4,341 of 4,587 laps (94.6%) and led 114 laps
Two DNF’s (did not finish) – Sept. 2014 and Sept. 2011
Average start 16.1 and average finish 21.1


- Michael Waltrip Racing

Jeff Gordon going for sixth and final Atlanta win

Jeff Gordon is 6/1 co-favorite to win at Atlanta on Sunday 
Driver: Jeff Gordon 
Hometown: Pittsboro, Indiana
Age: 43 
Resides: Charlotte, North Carolina

Jeff Gordon quote on racing at Atlanta:

“I love racing at Atlanta. I won my first ever Busch (now XFINITY) Series race there and it was also the site of my very first Sprint Cup Series start more than 22 years ago. We’ve won races and clinched championships there.

“Atlanta Motor Speedway holds a special place in my heart.”

FIRSTS AT ATLANTA: On March 14, 1992, Jeff Gordon won from the pole at Atlanta Motor Speedway to capture his first ever NASCAR victory in what is now known as the XFINITY Series. His first start in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series occurred at Atlanta in the 1992 season finale, which also marked Richard Petty’s final race. Gordon also clinched his first Cup Series championship at Atlanta in the final race of 1995.

20TH ANNIVERSARY OF FIRST ATLANTA VICTORY: On March 12, 1995, Gordon led 250 of 328 laps to capture his first Atlanta Motor Speedway victory at the Sprint Cup level.

THIRD ALL-TIME WITH 85TH AT ATLANTA: Gordon’s 85th career Cup victory occurred at the Georgia track on Sept. 6, 2011. That win moved the No. 24 Chevrolet SS driver into sole possession of third all-time in career Sprint Cup victories.

ACTIVE ATLANTA LEADER: The four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion leads active drivers in top-five finishes, top-10 finishes and laps led in 41 Cup starts at the 1.54-mile track.

ATLANTA CHASSIS: Crew chief Alan Gustafson has selected Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 24-914 for Sunday’s race. The chassis has been raced once, with Gordon leading 161 laps from the pole position en route to a 10th-place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2014.

2015 Season
  • 28th in standings
  • 1 start
  • 0 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 0 top-10 finishes
  • 87 laps led
  • 762 starts
  • 92 wins
  • 78 pole positions
  • 320 top-five finishes
  • 454 top-10 finishes
  • 24,751 laps led

Atlanta Career 
  • 41 starts
  • 5 wins
  • 2 pole positions
  • 16 top-five finishes
  • 26 top-10 finishes
  • 1,297 laps led