Kyle Larson and Carl Edwards talk about the track bar control switch, which is intended to give drivers more control of the performance of their car during the race.
Daytona 500 winner and runner-up will line up 1-2 at Atlanta RELATED: Full race lineup " Photos of the full 43-car field HAMPTON, Ga. -- When you're hot, you're hot. Joey Logano, last week's Daytona 500 winner, didn't slow down one iota on Friday in the first competition of the year at an open-motor track. With a lap at 194.683 mph in the final round of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series knockout qualifying at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Logano put his No. 22 Team Penske Ford on the pole for Sunday's Fold of Honor QuikTrip 500 (1 p.m. ET on FOX). Logano toured the 1.54-mile intermediate speedway in 28.477 seconds, .131 seconds faster than the lap at 193.793 mph posted by reigning Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick. Jamie McMurray was third fastest at 193.623 mph. Denny Hamlin (193.400 mph) qualified fourth for the second race of the season, followed by new Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Carl Edwards (193.137 mph). Like Logano, Jeff Gordon was hot, but for a completely different reason. Gordon was one of 13 drivers whose car failed to clear inspection before time trials began, even though NASCAR delayed the start of qualifying for 15 minutes. Accordingly, Gordon was not allowed to make a qualifying attempt in the first round. The list of those who failed to pass pre-qualifying inspection included three other past champions: Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart. Logano and his team, on the other hand, did everything right. And he defied conventional wisdom on a track with old pavement that typically abrades tires. Logano posted his fastest lap of the session in the third and final round. "Our first run today in practice, we were faster on our second run on scuffs, so I knew that the grip would stay in the tires for at least two runs," said Logano, who won his first Coors Light Pole Award at Atlanta and the ninth of his career. "I didn't know about the third run, but apparently the third run also… "It was probably right at the limit, though. Probably the next run after that, it would have taken a pretty big jump down." Though Harvick qualified second, he believes he'll have a strong long-run car in Sunday’s race. Even so, Harvick felt he left some speed out on the race track. "I just did a bad job," he said. "In Round 1 I missed Turn 1, and in the last round, I missed Turn 1 again and just didn't get to the bottom like I needed to in order to get back in the throttle." Note: Mike Wallace, Matt DiBenedetto, Michael Annett and Reed Sorenson failed to qualify for Sunday's race. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today
Gordon, Stewart, Kenseth and Johnson among those that couldn't get out Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live WATCH: Richard Buck explains inspection process HAMPTON, Ga. – Daytona 500 champion Joey Logano won the pole for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race here at Atlanta Motor Speedway (1 p.m. ET, FOX). Thirteen others didn't fare quite so well, never getting the opportunity to make a lap on the 1.54-mile track as Coors Light Pole Qualifying for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 got underway. RELATED: Logano wins Coors Light Pole Award " Qualifying speeds Originally scheduled to begin at 5:45 p.m. ET, the start of qualifying for the season's second race was postponed 15 minutes due to the large number of cars still going through the pre-qualifying technical inspection process. According to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series director Richard Buck, when officials gave notice that qualifying was underway, all 47 cars entered in the race had made at least one pass through inspection. "We did see the area of the laser inspection station where teams were pushing it," Buck said. "And that's their job. They're trying to get every bit that they can. "Our goal is to make sure everybody has a fair opportunity to get through there. Our focus was to make sure that we were able to run every car across there at least once … and that's what we did." Former series champions Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth were among those that didn't make it on track before the completion of the opening 15-minute qualifying round. "Yes we are pushing the limits," Gordon said, "but there is something wrong here. I'm embarrassed; I'm embarrassed for our series right now that this just happened." PHOTOS: Full starting lineup for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Kenseth said he got an inkling that something was amiss when he headed out to pit road and saw "only 14 cars." "So I have a hard time believing it was the teams," the Joe Gibbs Racing driver said. Stewart took to Twitter to vent about what happened. I don't know what to say about today. Spent all of our practice working on qualifying. Didn't even get a chance to make a lap. Frustrating! — Tony Stewart (@TonyStewart) February 27, 2015 If we would have known this was going to happen, we could have worked on the race setup. Was a total waste of a day at the track — Tony Stewart (@TonyStewart) February 27, 2015 This weekend's Sprint Cup Series race is the first featuring the 2015 rules package, a package that includes less downforce on the cars and less horsepower under the hood, along with several other changes. As such, it was the first time teams made the trip through an official pre-qualifying inspection. Buck said it became evident all teams wouldn't be able to be through inspection in time for the original 5:45 p.m. start, which is why it was delayed for 15 minutes. "We could see the trend starting to develop … our job was to try and work with the teams (and) allow them to meet the parameters, the rules we set in place," he said. "So we were able to push it 15 minutes to give them as much time as we could." Defending series champion Kevin Harvick qualified second, while Jamie McMurray, Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards completed the top five. Mike Wallace, Matt DiBenedetto, Michael Annett and Reed Sorenson failed to qualify. MORE: Strange things afoot at Atlanta Motor Speedway Johnson, a six-time series champion, will start 37th. "We are at a track that's very forgiving from a starting position standpoint," the Hendrick Motorsports driver said. "If you have a good race car, you've got a lot of room here, you can run anywhere on the track and get your way to the front. (There will be) a lot of trips down pit road for tires. We'll have plenty of opportunities to get there. … "I think we're all standing here in shock, wondering how did this happen?" Buck said the number of cars having to make multiple trips through the inspection line was nearly double what the sanctioning body sees during a typical weekend. "Today we had at least 20 (go back through)," he said. "We had more cars here than we've had. "A new downforce package, new rules package, new under pan, less horsepower, and so there was a lot of things that were put into this recipe that the cooks, if you will, in the garage area were trying to get the recipe right, and they were pushing the edge on everything." Gordon will start 35th, Kenseth 36th and Stewart 39th. To determine the full 43-car starting lineup, positions 1-34 went to those drivers that posted at least one official qualifying lap. Positions 35-43 were assigned to those entered based on 2014 final championship driver points standings. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Carl Edwards talks about his new team with Joe Gibbs Racing and their 2015 season.
Is veteran next driver to change teams, thrive? RELATED: 2015 Charlotte Media Tour schedule, live video CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- By the time late January rolls around, most people have long since abandoned their New Year's resolutions, an apathetic tone clear as they think to themselves, "I guess there's always next year." Carl Edwards is not like most people. In addition to a new sense of rejuvenation so apparent it was practically dripping from the sleeves of his crisp, navy blue suit, the freshly minted driver of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota is taking the popular New Year's resolution phrase "New Year, New You" to a new level, tossing new team, new teammates, new manufacturer and new crew chief into the mix -- and he couldn't be more thrilled. RELATED: Monday's best quotes from the Charlotte Media Tour "This year's a little bit different," Edwards said Monday during the Charlotte Motor Speedway NASCAR Media Tour presented by Technocom. "It reminds me of my first year full time in the Cup Series. I feel like I've really got to prove myself. I feel a little anxious; a little nervous about it. It's nice. I haven't had that feeling for a long time and it's a motivator. I'm as focused as I've ever been and I'm excited as I've ever been. This is a neat opportunity for me. "I'm just excited to get to learn from these guys and get to race under the JGR banner for Toyota. We had a great test at Charlotte and I'm really ready to go. I've been wearing my driver's suit a lot." RELATED: Brian France gives State of the Sport address The veteran sounds like a kid itching for the first day of school, right down to wearing his new clothes before he even has to. Edwards has every right to be excited for the 2015 season. After spending his entire premier series career with Roush Fenway Racing , his racing tenure seemed to hit a high mark in 2011 when he finished runner-up to Tony Stewart , stalling somewhat in the years since. The 35-year-old was ready for a change of scenery, but needed some assurance that making such a landmark move would be the right choice. Seeing the success of the sport's newest champion, Kevin Harvick , switch organizations to helm a newly formed team and create a four-car organization -- sound familiar? -- certainly didn't hurt. "To make this decision, it's obviously the toughest decision I've had to make in my life, period," Edwards said. "But I looked around and all these guys were making changes and doing very well. … Kevin and Ryan (Newman) this year basically switched teams and (finished) one-two. … Even if you take Tony Stewart 's change, when he left Joe Gibbs Racing , I thought that was crazy. That didn't even seem like it made any sense, but it spurred great performance. Joey Logano , he made a change; huge performance. At the same time, (former Roush teammate and current JGR teammate) Matt Kenseth came over and filled Joey's seat and his performance went through the roof. "I didn't understand that until we first made the announcement. I got that feeling … of 'Man, I've got to go prove myself.' That little bit of insecurity that every driver walks around with for a long time. I hadn't had that feeling for a while and I'm curious to see if that's it. But either way I hope I can do the same thing that those guys have done and have a great year." With Harvick being the ultimate example of what a change of scenery can do, Edwards perhaps will identify a little closer with Kenseth's situation of two seasons ago. After Kenseth made the jump to from Roush to JGR following the 2012 season, the he came out and won a career-high seven races in 2013 to lead the series and finish runner-up to Jimmie Johnson . That said, Kenseth doesn't know if the transition will come as easily to Edwards . "It's probably a little bit different of a situation because it's starting a whole new team for Carl , but he's a guy who's been in one place for a while and is making a jump," Kenseth said. "That's never easy to do, to leave some place where you're comfortable and you understand how it works and you've won some races. I know what it feels like." Even if the No. 19 team stumbles out of the gate, it's something for which Edwards is prepared. He also feels that the new Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format plays to the benefit of newly formed teams, much like his own. With a ban on private testing and limited seat time thus far (just a short tire test at Charlotte in December), Edwards is almost expecting to have some bugs to work out in the early going. "It was possible that we were going to go to Daytona and not have any practice in the car. That was a little scary," he said. "But if you look at the Chase format, it allows for some growing pains. You can go 20 races and then hit your stride and still be a championship team. We feel like with this new format, there's not a lot of pressure to start. We can go out and find our way. "I believe the Chase format favors guys that have made changes. If you look across the board, people are probably more likely to make driver and crew chief changes, team changes really all that stuff with this format because really you can go 15 races or 20 races and figure things out and still be in the Chase and win the championship. That 4 team (of Harvick) proved it last year. Brand new team. They worked out all the bugs all year and they went and (won the championship)." So, given that Edwards appears to be in the prime of his career, with a crew chief in Darian Grubb that he touts as a "genius" and the stars aligning the way they did for Kenseth two years ago and Harvick last season, does this mean that Edwards will finally break through for his first title? Is he the driver to beat? "I hope so," he said. "If I take a look as objectively as I can, Darian Grubb is an amazing crew chief. He's just amazing. … I feel like I have experience and I've learned a lot and I feel like I'm in the best form I've ever been as a driver. "We should have opportunities to go and perform at a high level. I'm excited to be a part of a four-car team that is this stout. These guys are amazing." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Driver set to begin new chapter of career at Joe Gibbs Racing RELATED: Complete schedule for driver previews Team: Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Toyota Rank in final 2014 standings: 9th Wins: 2 ( Bristol Motor Speedway in March, Sonoma Raceway ) Year in photos: Recap Edwards's 2014 highlights MORE: Edwards discusses new team, Daytona with 120Sports.com Strides: Edwards placed his name among the first drivers to clinch a berth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs, winning the fourth race of the season on a rainy day -- and night -- at Bristol Motor Speedway in March. It marked his first victory in the Tennessee track's springtime race and his first on the .533-mile oval since 2008. But Edwards also filled a void on his Sprint Cup resume at Sonoma Raceway in June with his first road course win in NASCAR's premier series. The triumph came even as rumors began to circulate about his impending departure from Roush Fenway Racing , speculation that was confirmed just a month later. Even with lame-duck status at the Jack Roush-owned team, Edwards pressed on, making it to the Eliminator 8 round of the Chase before watching the team's championship hopes expire at Phoenix International Raceway in the final cut before the season finale. "The highlights of the season were definitely Bristol and Sonoma -- Sonoma, in particular," Edwards said. "It was a great win, was really proud of it, and then our performance in the Chase, I thought we did a great job there." Setbacks: Despite of the pair of wins and the solid run into the new-look Chase's latter stages, Edwards' No. 99 suffered from a lack of oomph at tracks that used to be the team's sweet spot. The team endured erratic performances at intermediate-sized tracks, and the best Edwards and Co. could muster at Michigan International Speedway -- formerly a stronghold for car owner Jack Roush -- was an uncharacteristic pair of 23rd-place efforts. Though Edwards was able to survive two eliminations by avoiding major mistakes in the postseason, he registered just one top-five finish in the Chase -- a fifth-place in the Contender Round opener at Kansas Speedway . "The last few weeks were really tough, to be honest with you," Edwards said. "They're tough for a couple of reasons, but competitively we didn't have the speed that we needed and so for us to just keep digging down and making something out of those races, that was an amazing performance. My pit crew was basically flawless, (crew chief) Jimmy Fennig made perfect calls, I felt like I did a really good job, and at the end we just weren't fast enough. We weren't fast enough at Phoenix and that's the way it goes." Quoteworthy: "I'm very excited about what's coming, but I'm very proud of what we've done. In some ways, I feel like I'm stepping off of a ledge and I don't know what's down there. We haven't done anything yet in 2015. I know we have a lot of expectations and a lot of hopes, and now we've just got to do it." What's next: The biggest bombshell in the "silly season" of driver shifts came in August with Edwards' introduction as a Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota driver for the 2015 season, changing gears after a 12-year association with Roush and Ford. When asked whether Gibbs' expansion with a start-from-scratch fourth team might dilute his performance, Edwards was quick to point out that the start-up nature of Stewart-Haas Racing 's No. 4 team didn't seem to hamper Kevin Harvick 's march to his first Sprint Cup championship. Edwards learned in December that he'll work with veteran crew chief Darian Grubb next year as part of a sweeping overhaul of JGR's competition personnel. He'll also have new teammates in Kyle Busch , Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth , the latter of which was a former stablemate of his with Roush Fenway. Shortly after NASCAR Champion's Week in Las Vegas, Edwards took the opportunity to participate in a Goodyear tire test at Charlotte Motor Speedway in an effort to become more familiar with his new team and manufacturer in light of NASCAR's ban on testing in 2015. Though he's short on experience with the Gibbs operation, Edwards said the alignment of new factors in the offseason has him setting lofty aspirations -- a Sprint Cup championship or else. "There is no other goal," Edwards said. "I know that personally, I've never been a better driver, I feel like the people I have around me couldn't be better, and I feel like we should go win the championship. That's our goal. That's what we plan on doing." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
A stats-based look ahead to the second race of the Sprint Cup season Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live RELATED: Chase Grid standings after Daytona 500 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. –Below is a look at some of the top statistical performers at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia going into the Folds Of Honor QuikTrip 500 on March ATLANTA-SPECIFIC STATISTICS Greg Biffle (No. 16 Ortho Ford) · Three top fives, 10 top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 15.7 · Average Running Position of 13.9, 12th-best · Driver Rating of 90.8, 11th-best · 237 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-most · 1,031 Green Flag Passes, seventh-most · 3,466 Laps in the Top 15 (66.2%), sixth-most · 539 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green), seventh-most Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 Kelly Blue Book Chevrolet) · One win, eight top fives, 12 top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 12.3 · Average Running Position of 13.0, 10th-best · Driver Rating of 92.7, ninth-best · 227 Fastest Laps Run, 11th-most · 1,119 Green Flag Passes, third-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 171.203 mph, eighth-fastest · 3,382 Laps in the Top 15 (64.6%), seventh-most · 535 Quality Passes, eighth-most Carl Edwards (No. 19 ARRIS Toyota) · Three wins, nine top fives, 11 top 10s · Average finish of 14.6 · Average Running Position of 12.4, eighth-best · Driver Rating of 100.1, third-best · Series-high 371 Fastest Laps Run · Average Green Flag Speed of 171.499 mph, second-fastest · 4,038 Laps in the Top 15 (77.1%), third-most · 552 Quality Passes, fifth-most Jeff Gordon (No. 24 3M Chevrolet) · Five wins, 16 top fives, 26 top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 11.9 · Average Running Position of 10.2, second-best · Series-best Driver Rating of 106.0 · 296 Fastest Laps Run, second-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 171.453 mph, fourth-fastest · 4,161 Laps in the Top 15 (79.5%), second-most · Series-high 612 Quality Passes Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota) · One win, three top fives, six top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 16.8 · Average Running Position of 12.1, fifth-best · Driver Rating of 97.4, sixth-best · 263 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 171.463 mph, third-fastest · 3,312 Laps in the Top 15 (67.4%), ninth-most Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Jimmy John's/ Budweiser Chevrolet) · One win, five top fives, nine top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 18.8 · Driver Rating of 90.4, 12th-best · 280 Fastest Laps Run, third-most · 949 Green Flag Passes, ninth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 171.232 mph, seventh-fastest · 3,045 Laps in the Top 15 (58.1%), 12th-most · 470 Quality Passes, 11th-most Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet) · Three wins, 12 top fives, 14 top 10s · Average finish of 11.5 · Series-best Average Running Position of 9.1 · Driver Rating of 104.9, second-best · 280 Fastest Laps Run, third-most · Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 171.523 mph · Series-high 4,381 Laps in the Top 15 (83.7%) · 582 Quality Passes, third-most Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Dollar General Toyota) · Nine top fives, 15 top 10s · Average finish of 12.3 · Average Running Position of 12.2, sixth-best · Driver Rating of 97.9, fifth-best · 201 Fastest Laps Run, 12th-most · 1,034 Green Flag Passes, sixth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 171.339 mph, fifth-fastest · 3,749 Laps in the Top 15 (71.6%), fourth-most · 544 Quality Passes, sixth-most Kyle Larson (No. 42 ENERGIZER Chevrolet) · One top 10 · Average finish of 8.0 · Average Running Position of 11.3, third-best · Driver Rating of 91.1, 10th-best Tony Stewart (No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet) · Three wins, 10 top fives, 15 top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 12.7 · Average Running Position of 12.3, seventh-best · Driver Rating of 98.1, fourth-best · 233 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 171.191 mph, ninth-fastest · 3,353 Laps in the Top 15 (68.3%), eighth-most · 509 Quality Passes, 10th-most The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2015 Top 16 at Atlanta Motor Speedway Rank Driver Races Poles Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs Average Finish Driver Rating 1 Joey Logano 8 0 0 1 1 0 21.5 71.9 2 Kevin Harvick 24 1 1 5 9 4 18.8 90.4 3 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 27 2 1 8 12 2 12.3 92.7 4 Denny Hamlin 15 1 1 3 6 2 16.8 97.4 5 Jimmie Johnson 23 0 3 12 14 2 11.5 104.9 6 Casey Mears 19 0 0 0 0 2 22.5 59.1 7 Clint Bowyer 14 0 0 0 5 2 21.1 83 8 Martin Truex Jr. 16 1 0 2 4 4 20.4 90.1 9 Kasey Kahne 18 2 3 7 9 3 18.6 87.2 10 Greg Biffle 20 1 0 3 10 2 15.7 90.8 11 David Gilliland 13 0 0 0 0 2 26.8 56.6 12 Sam Hornish Jr. 7 0 0 0 0 1 27.1 57.9 13 Michael Annett 1 0 0 0 0 0 21 59.2 14 Austin Dillon 2 0 0 0 0 0 21.5 65.1 15 Aric Almirola 4 0 0 0 1 0 20.5 65.8 16 David Ragan 12 0 0 0 1 1 26.5 57.3 * – Based on last 16 races at Atlanta Motor Speedway (2005 – 2014). Atlanta Motor Speedway Data Season Race #: 2 of 36 (03-01-14) Track Size : 1.54-miles Banking/Turn 1 & 2 : 24 degrees Banking/Turn 3 & 4 : 24 degrees Banking/Frontstretch : 5 degrees Banking/Backstretch : 5 degrees Frontstretch Length : 2,332 feet Backstretch Length : 1,800 feet Race Length : 325 laps / 500.5 miles Top Driver Ratings at Atlanta Jeff Gordon .............................. 106.0 Jimmie Johnson ........................ 104.9 Carl Edwards ............................ 100.1 Tony Stewart ............................... 98.1 Matt Kenseth .............................. 97.9 Denny Hamlin ............................. 97.4 Dale Earnhardt Jr. ....................... 92.7 Kyle Larson. ............................... 91.1 Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2014 races (16 total) among active drivers at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Qualifying/Race Data 2014 pole winner : Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet 190.398 mph, 29.118 secs. 08-29-14 2014 race winner : Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet 131.514 mph, (03:55:22), 08-31-14 Track qualifying record: Geoffrey Bodine, Ford 197.478 mph, 28.074 secs. 11-15-97 Track race record: Bobby Labonte, Pontiac 159.904 mph, (03:07:48), 11-16-97 Statistical Advance Atlanta Motor Speedway: History · Originally called Atlanta International Raceway, the track was then a 1.5-mile paved speedway. · The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta was on July 31, 1960, won by Fireball Roberts from the pole. · The track was re-measured to 1.522 miles in the spring of 1970. · It was renamed Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1990. · The track layout was reversed and the track was re-configured to 1.54 miles between the two races in 1997. Notebook · There have been 107 NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Atlanta Motor Speedway since the first race there in 1960. Until 2010 there have been two races per year except 1961, which had three. This year marks the fourth season with only one event. · 552 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway; 367 in more than one. · Richard Petty leads the series in starts at Atlanta with 65. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 41 starts, followed by Joe Nemechek with 38. · Fireball Roberts won the inaugural Coors Light pole at Atlanta in 1960 with a speed of 133.870 mph. · 48 drivers have Coors Light poles at Atlanta, led by Buddy Baker and Ryan Newman with seven each. · Winning consecutive Coors Light poles has happened eight times at Atlanta, among six drivers. · Ryan Newman holds the record for most consecutive poles at Atlanta with six; spring of 2003 through 2005. · Youngest Atlanta pole winner: Terry Labonte (03/15/1981 – 24 years, 3 months, 27 days). · Oldest Atlanta pole winner: Harry Gant (11/14/1993 – 53 years, 10 months, 4 days). · 43 different NSCS drivers have won at Atlanta Motor Speedway, led by NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt with nine wins. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with five. · 11 drivers have posted consecutive wins at Atlanta Motor Speedway: Marvin Panch (1965 sweep), Bobby Allison (1972 sweep), David Pearson (1973 sweep), Richard Petty (1974 fall, 1975 spring), Cale Yarborough (1980 fall, 1981 spring), Bill Elliott (1985 sweep; 1992 sweep), Dale Earnhardt (1989 fall, 1990 spring; 1995 fall, 1996 spring), Bobby Labonte (1997 fall, 1998 spring), Jeff Gordon (1998 fall, 1999 spring), Carl Edwards (2005 sweep), Jimmie Johnson (2007 sweep) · Youngest Atlanta winner: Kyle Busch (03/09/2008 – 22 years, 10 months, 7 days). · Oldest Atlanta winner: Morgan Shepherd (03/20/1993 – 51 years, 5 months, 8 days). · The Wood Brothers and Hendrick Motorsports have the most wins at Atlanta in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with 12 each: o Wood Brothers: Cale Yarborough (three), David Pearson (three), Marvin Panch (two), Neil Bonnett (two) A.J. Foyt (one) and Morgan Shepherd (one). o Hendrick Motorsports: Jeff Gordon (five), Jimmie Johnson (three), Darrell Waltrip (one), Jerry Nadeau (one), Kasey Kahne (one) and Ken Schrader (one). o Joe Gibbs Racing has the third most wins at Atlanta with 11. · Nine different manufacturers have won in the NSCS at Atlanta; led by Chevrolet with 38 victories; followed by Ford (29), Pontiac (11), Dodge (nine), Mercury (eight), Buick (four), Plymouth (four), Toyota (three) and Oldsmobile (one). · 14 of the 107 (13.1%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Atlanta have been won from the Coors Light pole; the most recent was Kasey Kahne in 2006. · The fifth starting position is the most proficient starting position in the field, producing more winners (15) than any other starting position at Atlanta Motor Speedway; the most recent was Jeff Gordon in 2011. · 26 of the 107 (24.2%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Atlanta have been won from the front row: 14 from the pole and 12 from second-place. · 60 of the 107 (56.1%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Atlanta have been won from a top-five starting position. · 85 of the 107 (79.4%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Atlanta have been won from a top-10 starting position. · Seven of the 107 (6.5%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Atlanta have been won from a starting position outside the top 20. · The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Atlanta is 39th, by Bobby Labonte in the fall of 2001. · No driver has swept the weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway across all three NASCAR national series. Two drivers have won in multiple NASCAR national series in the same weekend at Atlanta: Carl Edwards (2005, NSCS/NNS); (fall 2008, NSCS/NNS) and Kyle Busch (spring 2008, NSCS/NCWTS) · Dale Earnhardt and David Pearson lead the series in runner-up finishes at Atlanta with seven each; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with five. · Dale Earnhardt leads the series in top-five finishes at Atlanta with 26; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 16. · Richard Petty leads the series in top-10 finishes at Atlanta with 33; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 26. · Ryan Newman leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average starting position at Atlanta with a 7.409. · Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average finishing position at 11.522. · Nine of the 10 active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winners at Atlanta Motor Speedway participated in at least one or more races before visiting Victory Lane. Kevin Harvick won at Atlanta in his first appearance (2001). Carl Edwards won in his second appearance (2005). · Denny Hamlin competed at Atlanta Motor Speedway 12 times before winning in the spring of 2012; the longest span of any the 10 active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winners. · Among the 10 active NSCS Atlanta winners Denny Hamlin (12) is the only driver to have made 10 or more attempts before his first win. · Joe Nemechek leads the series among active drivers with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Atlanta without visiting Victory Lane at 38; followed by Matt Kenseth with 26. · Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory (MOV) in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Atlanta Motor Speedway was the March 11, 2001 race won by Kevin Harvick over Jeff Gordon with a MOV of 0.006 second. · There have been four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races resulting with a green-white-checkered finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway (Scheduled No. of Laps/Actual No. of Laps): fall of 2007 (325/329); spring of 2010 (325/341), fall of 2012 (325/327) and 2014 (325/335). · Qualifying has been cancelled due to weather conditions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Atlanta Motor Speedway five times; most recently the fall of 2010. · One active driver has posted his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light pole at Atlanta Motor Speedway: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (9/01/2013). · Two active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers have posted their first career start at Atlanta Motor Speedway: Jeff Gordon (11/15/1992) and Martin Truex Jr. (10/31/2004). · Two active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers have posted their first career win at Atlanta Motor Speedway: Kevin Harvick (3/11/2001) and Carl Edwards (3/20/2005). · Cale Yarborough leads all drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in laps led at Atlanta with 3,283 laps led in 47 starts. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers in laps led at Atlanta with 1,297. · Three female drivers have competed at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Janet Guthrie, Shawna Robinson and Danica Patrick. Driver Starting Position Finishing Position Date Janet Guthrie 34 30 3/20/1977 Janet Guthrie 19 16 11/6/1977 Janet Guthrie 23 10 3/19/1978 Shawna Robinson 31 34 3/10/2002 Danica Patrick 23 29 9/2/2012 Danica Patrick 21 21 9/1/2013 Danica Patrick 27 6 8/31/2014 NASCAR in Georgia · There have been 166 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races among 12 different tracks in Georgia. Track Name City NSCS Atlanta Motor Speedway Hampton 107 Augusta International Speedway Augusta 12 Lakewood Speedway Atlanta 11 Savannah Speedway Savannah 10 Middle Georgia Raceway Macon 9 Central City Speedway Macon 7 Valdosta 75 Speedway Valdosta 3 Jeffco Speedway Jefferson 2 Oglethorpe Speedway Savannah 2 Augusta International Raceway Augusta 1 Columbus Speedway Columbus 1 Hayloft Speedway Augusta 1 · 180 drivers in NASCAR national series history have their home state recorded as Georgia; 15 have won at least once in one of NASCAR’s national series. · 11 of the 178 have posted at least one victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. · Bill Elliott (five wins) is the only Georgia native to have won at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. MORE: Driver NSCS NXS NCWTS Bill Elliott 44 1 0 Tim Flock 39 0 0 Jack Smith 21 0 0 Fonty Flock 19 0 0 Bob Flock 4 0 0 Frank Mundy 3 0 0 David Ragan 2 2 0 Gober Sosebee 2 0 0 Harold Kite 1
Get a breakdown of how the full 43-car field fared in the Great American Race Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live 1. Joey Logano, No. 22 Ford, Team Penske. "Sliced Bread" was a bit worried after Ryan Blaney and Brad Keselowski had car trouble, but it was all for nothing. Logano led 31 laps and didn't give up the lead from Lap 191 on as he carried all of the momentum from a breakout 2014 season into 2015. " WATCH: How Logano won the Daytona 500 2. Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. The 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion had the fastest car during green-flag runs with an average speed of 198.102 mph, but didn't lead a lap. Harvick was right there at the end and would have given Logano all he could handle if the caution hadn't come out on the final lap. 3. Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. Dale Jr. made a strong bid to repeat as the Daytona 500 champion, leading 32 laps, and made a nice recovery after making a move with 19 laps remaining that left him stuck in the middle, a move Junior took responsibility for over the radio at the end of the race. "I made a poor move on that restart with 19 to go. Should not have done that." " WATCH: Junior weighs in on costly decision 4. Denny Hamlin, No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. Hamlin carried the flag for a JGR stable that showed lots of speed all week. Hamlin topped final practice and it carried over into the race as he spent all but five of 203 laps in the top 15 and had the most quality passes (396) in the race. 5. Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. A pit-road penalty seemed to leave the 48 team miffed, but the six-time series champion rebounded from it en route to leading 39 laps and being there late to challenge for the victory. 6. Casey Mears, No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing. After nearly not making the Daytona 500 with an engine failure in the first Daytona Duel, Mears took full advantage of his new life with his fourth straight top-10 at Daytona. 7. Clint Bowyer, No. 15 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing. A wreck in group qualifying didn't start the week off right, but the veteran driver had plenty of speed Sunday (198.020 mph, seventh-fastest during green flag runs) and nearly made a run all the way to the front. Bowyer had a fan in eventual race winner Logano, who said on Lap 179, "Tell Bowyer he's doing great." " Sign up for Scanner today to hear in-car audio 8. Martin Truex Jr., No. 78 Chevrolet, Furniture Row Racing. Truex was one of the surprises of Speedweeks with a great run in the Sprint Unlimited. He overcame a pit road penalty and also led a lap to match his total for 2014 as the No. 78 team sent notice that the new season will bring new results. 9. Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. In his first race with new crew chief Keith Rodden atop the pit box, Kahne had his best Daytona 500 finish since 2008 thanks to the second-most green flag passes for the day (479). 10. Greg Biffle, No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing. For the fourth straight time and fifth time in the last six Daytona 500s, Biffle scored a top-10 finish; he also recorded the third-most green flag passes with 459. 11.David Gilliland, No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports. After not recording a top-20 finish until the 21st race of the season last year, Gilliland wasted no time in doing that this year and nearly brought home a top-10. 12. Sam Hornish Jr., No. 9 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports. In his first start for RPM, Hornish started in the back of the field but came on strong late as the second-best closer of the race, gaining 14 spots in the final 20 laps. 13. Michael Annett, No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports. Making his first start for the expanded two-car HScott team, Annett had the best finish of his 37 career Sprint Cup starts, and he did so by making up 14 spots in the final 20 laps. 14. Austin Dillon, No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing. Dillon has run some of his best Cup races at Daytona, and while he didn't score a top-10 finish, he spent plenty of time in the front of pack. The handling of his car late in the race had the young driver a bit miffed, as he told his team, "You've never seen (expletive) like this before. We're sideways every lap." " Sign up for Scanner today, to hear in-car audio 15. Aric Almirola, No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports. Back at Daytona to run his first points-paying race since his Coke Zero 400 win last July, the Florida native was the best closer, gaining 18 spots in final 20 laps. 16. Regan Smith, No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. Named as a sub for the suspended Kurt Busch, the NASCAR XFINITY Series runner-up in 2014 ran a solid race for SHR; one that could merit him more consideration for additional seat time in the No. 41 car. 17. David Ragan, No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports. Ragan's strength is restrictor-plate racing with both of his Sprint Cup wins coming at such venues. This result is a welcome one for a driver that struggled to a 32nd-place finish in the final standings in 2014. 18. Matt Crafton, No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. A late sub for the injured Kyle Busch, the two-time defending NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion seemed to get more comfortable as the race went on and did an admirable job in less-than-ideal circumstances. " MORE: Gibbs gives update on Kyle Busch 19. Johnny Sauter, No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing. Sauter, a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series veteran, carried the flag for BK Racing, notching his best Sprint Cup result since a 15th-place finish at Phoenix in November of 2007. 20. AJ Allmendinger, No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing. The 'Dinger had his share of issues early in the race and was running in the back thanks to a starting position of 40th, but he came on strong late, gaining 12 spots in the final 20 laps of the race. 21. Danica Patrick, No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. It was an interesting Speedweeks for Danica, from going through several cars to a run-in with Denny Hamlin, but the third-year Sprint Cup driver toughed it out in the end. 22. Cole Whitt, No. 35 Ford, Front Row Motorsports. In his first start with the expanded Front Row organization, Whitt had his best-career finish at Daytona. 23. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. In his first points race for JGR, Edwards spent plenty of time at the front with 160 laps in the top 15 and led three laps. A speeding penalty on pit road on Lap 89 led Edwards to tell his team over the radio, "Completely my fault, guys. I'm sorry. I'll make it up to you." " Sign up for Scanner today, to hear in-car audio 24. Bobby Labonte, No. 32 Ford, GO FAS Racing. This finish was the 2000 premier series champion's worst in the Daytona 500 since 2006, but he did gain 19 spots from his starting position. 25. Paul Menard, No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing. After stringing together back-to-back top-10s in the 2011 and 2012 Daytona 500, Menard's past two Daytona 500s have resulted in a 21st-place finish and a 32nd-place finish, so this finish roughly splits that distance. 26. Michael Waltrip, No. 55 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing. Filling in for the sidelined Brian Vickers, the two-time Daytona 500 winner gained nine spots in the final 20 laps. 27. Jamie McMurray, No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. The CGR driver couldn't replicate his Rolex 24 success from last month, but the "Big-game hunter" spent 134 laps in the top 15. 28. Ty Dillon, No. 33 Chevrolet, Circle Sport Racing. Making just his third career Sprint Cup start, the younger Dillon turned some heads with the eighth-fastest car in green flag conditions, but his promising run trailed off in the latter half of the race after taking on damage in a late wreck. 29. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing. The third-year Cup driver had his worst Daytona 500 finish in 2015 after a career-best seventh-place result in 2014, but he did have the most green flag passes (484) in the race. 30. Trevor Bayne, No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing. Since his surprising win in his first Daytona 500 in 2011, Bayne has averaged a finish of 31.3. On the positive side, Bayne was the fourth-fastest car on restarts. 31. Michael McDowell, No. 95 Ford, Leavine Family Racing. For the third time in his four career Daytona 500 starts, McDowell finished 30th or worse; the exception was a ninth-place finish in the 2013 Daytona 500. 32. Reed Sorenson, No. 44 Chevrolet, Team Xtreme Racing. Sorenson, who wasn't sure he was going to have a backup car for the Daytona 500, raced his way into the field but had his worst finish in the Great American Race in six starts. 33. Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. The Coors Light Pole Award winner led a race-high 87 laps and looked like one of the cars to beat. His finishing position is not indicative of his day as he was involved in a wreck on the final lap. " PHOTOS: Gordon through the years at Daytona 34. Kyle Larson, No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Larson's sophomore campaign got off to a slow start after a day marred by pit road troubles that seemed to derailed the 2014 Sunoco Rookie of the Year at inopportune times. 35. Matt Kenseth, No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. The Sprint Unlimited winner had plenty of speed during Speedweeks but couldn't recover from damage suffered due to contact from Tony Stewart on Lap 41, and he finished a lap down. 36. Mike Wallace, No. 66 Toyota, Premium Motorsports. Running his first Daytona 500 since 2007, the 54-year-old couldn't match his 2007 run when he finished fourth. 37. Justin Allgaier, No. 51 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports. The second-year Sprint Cup competitor was in a wreck that triggered the green-white-checkered finish on Lap 199. " WATCH: Allgaier brings out caution 38. Ryan Newman, No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing. Last year's runner-up in the final standings suffered damage from a chain reaction after Brad Keselowski's car blew up; Newman would finish 19 laps back. 39. Ryan Blaney, No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing. In his maiden start for Wood Brothers Racing, Blaney was enjoying a nice run until his car blew up in similar fashion to Brad Keselowski's on Lap 176. 40. J.J. Yeley, No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing. Yeley had trouble shifting into gear late in the race, which took him off the track and resulted in his third finish of 40th-or-worse in six Daytona 500 starts. 41. Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Ford, Team Penske. The 2012 Sprint Cup champion had been steadily making his way up through the field before car trouble on Lap 161 caused his worst career finish in the Daytona 500. " MORE: Blown engine cuts Keselowski's day short 42. Tony Stewart, No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. The elusive Daytona 500 victory will remain the trophy "Smoke" can't rein in as a steering issue following a Lap 41 accident derailed his day. " MORE: Daytona 500 drought continues for Stewart 43. Landon Cassill, No. 40 Chevrolet, Hillman Smith Racing. Cassill's engine expired on Lap 19, bringing the day to an early end for a driver who has had some recent success at restrictor-plate tracks. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Veteran to drive for JGR starting with Atlanta Sprint Cup race Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live Joe Gibbs Racing announced Tuesday that David Ragan will serve as interim driver in place of injured Kyle Busch for the next several weeks beginning this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The team said in a statement that Ragan, a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series veteran, will run JGR's No. 18 Toyota as Busch recovers from multiple lower-leg injuries suffered in a crash Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. Matt Crafton, champion in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series the last two seasons, finished 18th as a last-minute fill-in for the season-opening Daytona 500. Front Row Motorsports and sponsor CSX accommodated Ragan's move, according to JGR. Ragan is expected to return to the team later this season. A spokesperson for Front Row Motorsports said there was "no announcement yet" regarding their plans for the No. 34 Ford at Atlanta. Erik Jones will pilot the No. 54 Toyota at Atlanta in the NASCAR XFINITY Series for JGR. Busch was expected to compete in the XFINITY Series' Hisense 250 (Saturday, 2 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1) at Atlanta in JGR's No. 54 Toyota. An announcement on who will drive the No. 54 following the Atlanta race will be made at a later date, according to the team. "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." Kyle Busch's wife, Samantha, wished David Ragan luck on Twitter after the news was announced. Thx to David 4 filling in for Kyle. @JacquelynRagan is 1 of my best friends n they r the nicest ppl in the world,wishing them much success! — Samantha Busch (@SamanthaBusch) February 24, 2015 Ragan, 29, drove the Front Row Motorsports' No. 34 Ford in Sunday's Daytona 500 and has competed in the last three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series seasons, bringing the Statesville, North Carolina-based team its only premier series victory in May 2013 at Talladega Superspeedway. Before his tenure at Front Row, Ragan raced for Roush Fenway Racing from 2007-2011. Interesting enough, Ragan was teammates with current JGR drivers Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards as recently as the 2011 Sprint Cup Series season, while all three were at Roush Fenway. Jones, a three-time winner in Truck Series competition last year and a four-time winner in his career, was in consideration for the ride in Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX), which would have made him the first active NASCAR Next driver to make a Sprint Cup start. Ultimately, JGR went with Ragan, a driver with eight full seasons of top-division experience and home-state ties, having grown up in Unadilla, Georgia, roughly 100 miles south of the Atlanta track. Busch, also 29, was released from a Florida hospital Tuesday for further treatment at a facility near his North Carolina home. The move came three days after the NASCAR XFINITY Series opener at Daytona, where Busch suffered a compound fracture of his lower right leg and a broken left foot, indefinitely placing him on the sidelines. Ragan's transition to the Gibbs team marks an abrupt shift in manufacturers, as his 291 career starts in the Sprint Cup Series have all come in Fords. It also creates a domino-effect vacancy at the Bob Jenkins-owned Front Row organization, which expanded to three full-time teams in the offseason with David Gilliland and Cole Whitt filling the other two seats. Ragan finished 17th in Sunday's Daytona 500, placing him 16th and in the final spot in the provisional Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup postseason grid after the season's first race. Per NASCAR rules, if one driver switches teams during the 26-race regular season, the driver remains eligible for Chase consideration as long as he remains in the top 30 in points. Jones ranks second in the Camping World Truck Series points after his runner-up finish in the Daytona opener. He's scheduled to compete in the full truck season for Kyle Busch Motorsports, and was expected to race in 10 XFINITY events for Joe Gibbs Racing. NASCAR.com's Zack Albert contributed to this report MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup ninth-place finisher, Carl Edwards , gives a speech at the Sprint Cup Series Awards.