A stats-based look ahead to the third race of the Sprint Cup season Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. –Below is a look at some of the top statistical performers at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada going into the KOBALT 400 on March 8. LAS VEGAS-SPECIFIC STATISTICS Greg Biffle (No. 16 Cheez-It Ford) · Two top fives, six top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 14.5 · Average Running Position of 12.3, sixth-best · Driver Rating of 97.9, fifth-best · 150 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most · 568 Green Flag Passes, eighth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 170.725 mph, fifth-fastest · 1,759 Laps in the Top 15 (65.4%), eighth-most · 281 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green), 11th-most Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet) · Three top fives, eight top 10s · Average finish of 14.7 · Average Running Position of 14.0, eighth-best · Driver Rating of 91.5, ninth-best · 108 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-most · 584 Green Flag Passes, fifth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 170.610 mph, sixth-fastest · 1,857 Laps in the Top 15 (69.0%), sixth-most · 336 Quality Passes, fifth-most Carl Edwards (No. 19 Comcast Toyota) · Two wins, five top fives, six top 10s · Average finish of 9.2 · Average Running Position of 12.0, fifth-best · Driver Rating of 97.8, sixth-best · 159 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most · 636 Green Flag Passes, second-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 170.568 mph, seventh-fastest · 1,879 Laps in the Top 15 (69.8%), fourth-most · 390 Quality Passes, second-most Jeff Gordon (No. 24 3M Chevrolet) · One win, six top fives, eight top 10s · Average finish of 15.0 · Average Running Position of 9.7, second-best · Driver Rating of 103.7, second-best · 181 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most · 548 Green Flag Passes, 11th-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 170.927 mph, third-fastest · Series-high 2,130 Laps in the Top 15 (79.2%) · 385 Quality Passes, third-most Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Jimmy John's/Budweiser Chevrolet) · Three top fives, five top 10s · Average finish of 14.7 · Average Running Position of 11.6, fourth-best · Driver Rating of 94.5, eighth-best · 89 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-most · 571 Green Flag Passes, sixth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 170.564 mph, eighth-fastest · 1,870 Laps in the Top 15 (69.5%), fifth-most · 316 Quality Passes, sixth-most Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 KOBALT Tools Chevrolet) · Four wins, five top fives, eight top 10s · Average finish of 9.2 · Series-best Average Running Position of 8.9 · Series-best Driver Rating of 113.6 · Series-high 346 Fastest Laps Run · 553 Green Flag Passes, 10th-most · Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 171.233 mph · 2,090 Laps in the Top 15 (77.7%), third-most · 365 Quality Passes, fourth-most Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Time Warner Cable Chevrolet) · Three top fives, six top 10s; three poles · Average finish of 13.5 · Average Running Position of 14.3, 11th-best · Driver Rating of 88.1, 10th-best · 94 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-most · 609 Green Flag Passes, third-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 170.170 mph, 11th-fastest · 1,735 Laps in the Top 15 (64.5%), ninth-most · 290 Quality Passes, 10th-most Matt Kenseth (No. 20 D E WALT Toyota) · Three wins, six top fives, eight top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 11.5 · Average Running Position of 14.0, 10th-best · Driver Rating of 98.1, fourth-best · 197 Fastest Laps Run, second-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 170.972 mph, second-fastest · 1,774 Laps in the Top 15 (65.9%), seventh-most · 295 Quality Passes, ninth-most Joey Logano (No. 22 Pennzoil Ford) · One top five, two top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 12.3 · Average Running Position of 13.8, seventh-best · Driver Rating of 87.5, 11th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 170.111 mph, 12th-fastest Ryan Newman (No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet) · Three top fives, seven top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 17.3 · Driver Rating of 81.9, 12th-best · 37 Fastest Laps Run, 12th-most · 1,667 Laps in the Top 15 (61.9%), 11th-most · 298 Quality Passes, seventh-most Tony Stewart (No. 14 Mobil 1/ Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet) · One win, six top fives, nine top 10s · Average finish of 14.0 · Average Running Position of 14.0, ninth-best · Driver Rating of 97.1, seventh-best · 188 Fastest Laps Run, third-most · 538 Green Flag Passes, 12th-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 170.498 mph, ninth-fastest · 1,733 Laps in the Top 15 (64.4%), 10th-most · 298 Quality Passes, seventh-most The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2015 Top 16 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Rank Driver Races Poles Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs Average Finish Driver Rating 1 Joey Logano 6 1 0 1 2 0 12.3 87.5 2 Jimmie Johnson 13 0 4 5 8 0 9.2 113.6 3 Kevin Harvick 14 0 0 3 5 0 14.7 94.5 4 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 15 0 0 3 8 2 14.7 91.5 5 Martin Truex Jr. 9 0 0 0 2 0 16.0 81.9 6 Casey Mears 11 0 0 0 3 0 20.9 57.3 7 Kasey Kahne 11 3 0 3 6 2 13.5 88.1 8 AJ Allmendinger 5 0 0 0 0 0 26.4 60.7 9 Aric Almirola 6 0 0 0 0 3 31.3 51.2 10 Clint Bowyer 9 0 0 1 3 0 17.8 74.2 11 David Gilliland 8 0 0 0 0 1 27.0 49.5 12 Sam Hornish Jr. 3 0 0 0 0 0 28.3 62.3 13 Greg Biffle 11 1 0 2 6 1 14.5 97.9 14 Carl Edwards 10 0 2 5 6 0 9.2 97.8 15 David Ragan 8 0 0 0 1 1 26.9 52.3 16 Danica Patrick 2 0 0 0 0 0 27.0 49.3 * – Based on last 10 races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (2005 – 2014). Las Vegas Motor Speedway Data Season Race #: 3 of 36 (3-8-15) Track Size : 1.5-miles Banking/Turns 1 & 2 : 20 degrees Banking/Turns 3 & 4 : 20 degrees Banking/Frontstretch : 9 degrees Banking/Backstretch : 9 degrees Frontstretch Length : 2,275 feet Backstretch Length : 1,572 feet Race Length : 267 laps / 400.5 Kilometers Top 10 Driver Ratings at Las Vegas Jimmie Johnson ........................ 113.6 Jeff Gordon .............................. 103.7 Kyle Busch ............................... 103.4 Matt Kenseth .............................. 98.1 Greg Biffle .................................. 97.9 Carl Edwards .............................. 97.8 Tony Stewart ............................... 97.1 Kevin Harvick .............................. 94.5 Dale Earnhardt Jr. ....................... 91.5 Kasey Kahne .............................. 88.1 Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2014 races (10 total) among active drivers at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Qualifying/Race Data 2014 pole winner : Joey Logano, Ford 193.278 mph, 27.939 secs. 03-07-14 2014 race winner : Brad Keselowski, Ford 154.633 mph, (2:35:24), 03-09-14 Track qualifying record: Joey Logano, Ford 193.278 mph, 27.939 secs. 03-07-14 Track race record: Brad Keselowski, Ford 154.633 mph, (2:35:24), 03-09-14 At Las Vegas Motor Speedway: History · The construction to build the superspeedway known today as Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS) began in 1995. Speedway Motorsports Inc. acquired the property in 1998. · The first NASCAR race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was a NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race won by Ken Schrader on Nov. 2, 1996. · The first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race was held on March 1, 1998, won by Mark Martin . · In 2006, the track was reconfigured to include progressive banking. Notebook · There have been 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. · 135 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas; 100 in more than one. · Two drivers have participated in all 17 races: Jeff Burton and Jeff Gordon . · Dale Jarrett won the inaugural pole with a speed of 168.224 mph (32.773 secs.). · 11 drivers have poles at LVMS, led by Kasey Kahne with three (2004, 2007 and 2012). · Kyle Busch is the only driver to win consecutive poles at LVMS from (2008-‘09). · Youngest LVMS pole winner: Kyle Busch (3/2/2008 – 22 years, 10 months, 0 days). · Oldest LVMS pole winner: Dale Jarrett (3/4/2001 – 44 years, 3 months, 6 days). · 10 different drivers have won at LVMS, led by Jimmie Johnson (four). Three other drivers have multiple wins at Las Vegas: Matt Kenseth (three), Jeff Burton , Carl Edwards (each have two). · Roush Fenway Racing leads the series in wins at Las Vegas with seven, followed by Hendrick Motorsports with five. · Las Vegas-native Kyle Busch became the first and only driver to win from the pole, in 2009. · Only three LVMS races (17.6%) have been won from the front row: Kyle Busch, 2009 (pole); Carl Edwards, 2008 (second-place); Brad Keselowski , 2014 (second-place). · Four of the 17 races (23.5%) have been won from a top-five starting position at Las Vegas. · Eight of the 17 (47%) races have been won from a top-10 starting position at Las Vegas. · Four of the 17 races (23.5%) at Las Vegas have been won from a starting position outside the top 20. · The deepest in the field that a race winner has started was 25th, by Matt Kenseth in 2004. · Youngest LVMS winner: Kyle Busch (03/01/2009 – 23 years, 9 months, 27 days). · Oldest LVMS winner: Sterling Marlin (03/03/2002 – 44 years, 7 months, 32 days). · Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads the series in runner-up finishes at Las Vegas with three; followed by Kasey Kahne and Tony Stewart with two each. · Matt Kenseth, Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart lead the series in top-five finishes at Las Vegas with six each. · Mark Martin has 10 top-10 finishes, more than any other driver. Tony Stewart leads all active drivers with nine top-10 finishes. · Carl Edwards leads the series in average finish at LVMS with a 9.200; Jimmie Johnson (9.231) is the only other active driver with an average finish in the top 10. · There has been one green-white-checkered finish at Las Vegas: 2006 (270/267). · Kyle Busch made his first start and Kasey Kahne won his first pole at Las Vegas, in the same event (2004). · Aric Almirola made his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career start at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2007. · Three drivers have won consecutive races at Las Vegas: Jeff Burton (1999, 2000); Matt Kenseth (2003, 2004) and Jimmie Johnson is the only one of the three to win three consecutive races (2005, 2006 and 2007). · Eight of the 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers who have won at Las Vegas participated in at least two or more races before visiting Victory Lane. Mark Martin (1998; inaugural event) is the only driver to win at Las Vegas in his first appearance. · Tony Stewart competed at Las Vegas Motor Speedway 13 times before winning (2012); the longest span of any the nine winners. Stewart is the only driver to have made 10 or more attempts before his first win at LVMS. · Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads the series (active drivers) with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Las Vegas without visiting Victory Lane with 15. · Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Las Vegas was the (3/12/2006) race won by Jimmie Johnson with a MOV of 0.045 second. · No driver has won the first three races of the season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The five drivers that have won the first two events of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season are: Matt Kenseth (2009), Jeff Gordon (1997), David Pearson (1976), Bob Welborn (1959) and Marvin Panch (1957). · Three reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions have gone on to win at Las Vegas the following season: Matt Kenseth (2004), Jimmie Johnson is the only one to do it multiple times (2007, 2010) and Tony Stewart (2012). · Three drivers have won at Las Vegas and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship in the same season: Jeff Gordon (2001), Matt Kenseth (2003) and Jimmie Johnson (2006, 2007 and 2010). · Danica Patrick and Shawna Robinson are the only two female drivers to compete at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Driver Starting Position Finishing Position Date Danica Patrick 22 21 3/9/2014 Danica Patrick 37 33 3/10/2013 Shawna Robinson 36 42 3/3/2002 · Only two car numbers have produced three or more Las Vegas NSCS wins: Car Number – Drivers – (Years) o No. 48 - Jimmie Johnson (2005-2007 and 2010) o No. 99 – Jeff Burton (1999, 2000) Carl Edwards (2008, 2011) MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView tod FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
NASCAR on NBC crew go in-depth on Gordon's choice to step away Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live MORE: NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France statement on Gordon " Gordon hub page RELATED: Drivers react to Gordon's announcement " Fans share favorite Gordon memories CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- 2015 marks the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at the start of a 10-year relationship between NASCAR and NBC Sports. It also marks Jeff Gordon 's final one. The NASCAR on NBC broadcasting team of Jeff Burton , Steve Letarte and Rick Allen touched on Gordon's recent announcement that this would be his last full-time Cup season on Tuesday during Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour presented by Technocom, each with their own spin on it, as a driver, crew chief and broadcaster. The trio gets into why Gordon would have made this decision to leave NASCAR at the top of his game, what he's been missing out on in his personal life and how they think he'll fare in 2015. Jeff Burton , 21-time Sprint Cup Series winner "The starting age is starting sooner. When a guy can start sooner, that means they're probably going to retire sooner. You love what you're doing, but it's a really stressful way to make a living. What I came to believe was the season was perpetual; it never stopped. Everybody looks at it where there's a 2014 and 2015 schedule -- and there are, for points -- but from a lifestyle standpoint and a commitment standpoint, it's from January to January. It doesn't stop. So when you do that for 20 years, it's hard to bring that same level of intensity that you did on year 20 as you did on year one. I think that's why you see drivers retiring. "To be quite honest, this generation of drivers has been really fortunate to be able, financially, to retire. In the sixties, that didn't happen. The fact that we're starting younger, the fact that, financially, it's better in the sport than it's ever been. The fact that it is very intense. It's hard on your family, it is a commitment not only for the drivers that the crew chiefs and everybody involved, it's a commitment for the families, too. When you don't get to see your kid graduate, when you don't get to see your daughter leave to go to the prom and all those kinds of things start happening later in life as you have children, they start to mean more. So all of those things start to factor in. "It is a great thing when a guy like Jeff Gordon can retire when he's at the top of the game. He was a real serious contender for the championship (in 2014) and to be able to say 'Hey, this is my last year,' I think that's a great thing, it's wonderful that he can do it, but there's a lot of factors that go into that." RELATED: NBC Sports 'thrilled' to be part of NASCAR coverage Steve Letarte, 15-time Sprint Cup Series-winning crew chief "The sport is difficult. The Cup garage is one of the most competitive places I've ever seen. For a driver or crew chief, you have to bring your A-game week in and week out, 36 races over the course of the year. Jeff's point was accurate -- the season never ends. We might not race for a few weeks or a few months but there's so much work that has to be done over those few months that really you never get a chance to step away and I wouldn't give back a single year of my career as a crew chief, I loved every race, every minute of it. But just like Jeff said, I missed my little girl's first communion. "There's a lot of things you have to sacrifice and basically you have to get to a point where you look in a mirror and decide 'Am I as good as I can be? Does my team deserve better? Am I bringing all the effort I can bring?' and I felt like I did that last year but at some point, I felt like I would be the hold up to my race team. Dale Jr. was committed, the guys on the team were committed. They make the same sacrifices and if you can't bring the same intensity as you brought last year or the year before then you really have to look in the mirror and make another decision. "I mean, to be quite frank, who knew what possibilities were out there for me, but the NBC team is great and I'm glad to be on it and it really gives me an opportunity to still cover a sport that I love at what seems to be a cut back schedule compared to being a crew chief but my second family is still in the NASCAR garage and I still get to see them for a big chunk of the year." RELATED: NBC, Offerman 'park and wreck' way into NASCAR Rick Allen, NBC Sports commentator and lead race announcer "I'm actually already trying to write the script for when Jeff Gordon wins the championship at Homestead in his final race in the Sprint Cup Series. There are some incredible storylines coming into the 2015 season that we get to cover. The excitement level, I think, is growing continuously and I can't wait to be a part of that." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
NBC Sports analysts give thoughts on 2014 Chase, what we'll see in 2015 Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live " Related: Burton , Letarte explain Jeff Gordon's major decision By now, it's safe to say that last season's revamped Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and the drama surrounding its race action immediately left us speechless, but eventually kept us talking. With NBC Sports' NASCAR tenure set to resume this season after nine years away from the sport, its all-star crew of Jeff Burton , Dale Jarrett, Steve Letarte and Kyle Petty gave their thoughts last week at Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour presented by Technocom on the new format -- what they enjoyed and what we're bound to see in 2015. According to these NASCAR heavyweights, it sounds like we're going to see even more intense action than last year, as hard as that is to imagine. Jeff Burton , 21-time Sprint Cup Series winner "I've always believed that I was giving 100 percent. That no matter where I was in points, no matter what was going on, that I brought everything that I could bring. This points structure made you bring more. And it made the teams find a way to be better. And I think in our sport, that's what this is all about. It's about being better. You're good in April? Hey, that's great. But if you're not good enough in August and September, it ain't good enough. "The idea that you have to improve throughout the whole year -- that if you win a race, you're in -- but points still matter. I think all of that is really cool. I would hate it if points didn't matter. I know that everybody wanted the guy that won the most races and the right races to be the champion, but points should still matter. It's always been a big part of this sport and it still currently is today. So the fact that points matter, the fact that winning covers up all other mistakes and the fact that you have to be right at the right time; that's what a crunch moment is all about. "As a fan of all kinds of sports, the reason I like the Super Bowl is because if you don’t win, you lose. You go home. … And that's the mentality that has been brought to in racing today. You have to win. Or you have to compete at an exceptionally high level or you're not going to win a championship; you're not going to get done what you need to get done. I like the fact that it's made it harder for the teams, it's made it more intense for the teams. The more intense and the more stressful it is for the competitors, the more fun it is to watch. And this points structure has been without a doubt all those things." Dale Jarrett, NASCAR Hall of Famer " Jeff put it better than I think I've ever heard it put it before. Everything that he's saying there, he was spot-on with that. I think if you look back over the years, no matter how long we've been around this, whenever you have made things more difficult for the drivers, it's more entertaining for the fans and I think that's exactly what this did. "Last year at (Media Tour), we heard a lot of drivers … say 'Look, I race as hard as I can every week, I can't do anymore to try to win than what I do.' I understand that. I know the mentality. We've been there. We've done that. But, I think it proved out that if there is something different, just as Jeff was pointing out, you have to dig down and find another way to make yourself a part of that. "Kyle Busch said something (last week) about his issue at Talladega and what happened to him. That was very unfortunate, because he had done everything right to get himself moved on. He said, 'You know, if I'd got the job done a week before, and won that race, Talladega wouldn't have mattered.' So they've got a different mentality. "There's no perfect system out there, because everybody is not going to agree with it, but my gosh, we came pretty close. That was as exciting a 10-race schedule as I've ever seen in this sport." Steve Letarte, 15-time Sprint Cup Series-winning crew chief "I think that's going to be one of the biggest stories, is how are teams going to adapt? I was only able to take part in one (season) of this new Chase format and I know we learned a lot. It was a great season with a little bit of a letdown in the second round, but there were a lot of teams that have that same feeling. It's going to be an interesting take on 'How can I approach these 10 races differently? Is there a different way that maybe my team should've moved through? What crew chiefs are going to have a different approach? What drivers are going to put different weights on different race tracks?' "You have to be at Homestead. I think that's what's unique about this playoff style. No matter how good of a year you've had, if you slip up, you can overcome with a win, but that's the only way you're going to overcome. And these short, three-race segments you really have to win or have a great three races to move forward. I think we saw some big hitters, some championship favorites last year get knocked out as the playoffs went on and I think that's a big difference from in the years past where you maybe always had a chance. This year, your chances, your book can be closed. Your year can be over. And then we go to Homestead and I don't think we could've asked for a better race at Homestead last year. I don't think that's going to be a rarity. "I think when it's all on the line, the four teams that have a chance are probably always going to find that next level to step up and put on a great race." Kyle Petty, eight-time Sprint Cup Series winner "Being at the race track and being down there with it. … Dale's been in a championship chase, I was with my father (Richard Petty) in the late 70s and you get down and it's two guys working for a championship and the intensity in those two teams was always overwhelming. When The King and Darrell (Waltrip) went at it, man, it was crazy that year. I didn't know what was going to happen that year and I was just a kid. But the intensity went to a different place and Darrell and The King went to a different place, as far as what they did on the race track and how they performed on the race track. Great drivers and great teams always find a way to step up. "What we saw in the Chase was a lot of teams find that ability to step up. Step up in that first round; step up in that second round. The intensity just got greater and greater and greater. To be a part of that and to be able to try to convey to the race fans at home exactly what Dale Jr. was feeling or Steve Letarte felt sitting on that pit box last year or what Dale Jarrett felt in the car when he was racing for the championship going into that last race and the butterflies and how he felt. I think that's what this Chase brings and that's what we can bring." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
NBC Sports on-air analysts Jeff Burton and Steve Letarte weigh in on Jeff Gordon's announcement that 2015 will be his last full-time season in the Sprint Cup Series.
Bowyer's wife, Lorra, expecting couple's first child Clint Bowyer's "baby watch" continues. As a result of that, his team has made appropriate accommodations for this week's AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway (Sept. 28, 2 p.m. ET, ESPN). Jeff Burton will be on standby for the No. 15 Michael Waltrip Racing team. Burton has 40 career starts at Dover, 15 of which ended with top-10s. He also won once at the 1-mile concrete oval, in 2006. If called upon, it would be the third time since August Burton has served as a fill-in. He made two starts for Tony Stewart , in consecutive weeks at Michigan and Bristol, before Stewart returned to his seat in Atlanta. Burton has also made two starts in the No. 66 Toyota this year, at Las Vegas and New Hampshire. Bowyer is 19th in the standings after not qualifying for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. His wife Lorra is due to deliver their first child, a boy -- which Bowyer had previously announced in a very Bowyer-esque manner. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
Get a breakdown of how the full 43-car field fared in the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live 1. Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. Finding his way to clear air on the race's final restart, Johnson got all the encouragement he needed over the team's in-car radio: "Leg it, baby. Leg it." The six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion did, pulling away to his fourth victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway and the 71st of his career in NASCAR's top series. Sign up for Scanner today to hear in-car audio. " Sign up for Scanner today to hear in-car audio 2. Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. The defending Sprint Cup champion had to carve his way from the back of the field after suffering engine failure during Saturday practice, but was perched atop the leaderboard by the 87th lap in the 325-lap distance. Harvick wound up leading a race-high 116 laps in recording his second runner-up finish in two races thus far in 2015. " WATCH: Johnson holds off Harvick for the win 3. Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. Junior has opened the season by going 2-for-2 in posting third-place finishes despite sustaining front-end damage Sunday when he ran into a piece of debris in the late going. Though he consistently was near the front of the pack, Earnhardt led just one lap all afternoon. " WATCH: Dale Jr.: Crew chief Ives is 'a pretty good cheerleader' 4. Joey Logano, No. 22 Ford, Team Penske. The Daytona 500 champ continued his hot streak by winning the Coors Light Pole Award on Friday. Though he lacked the power to mount a challenge over the final green-flag run, Logano will enter next Sunday's Kobalt 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX) at Las Vegas Motor Speedway as the Sprint Cup points leader. " WATCH: Out Front with Miss Coors Light 5. Matt Kenseth, No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. The JGR driver -- who led 10 laps Sunday and lined up second for the final restart -- watched his losing skid stretch to 46 races (dating back to 2013) after a slight fade just before the checkered flag. 6. Martin Truex Jr., No. 78 Chevrolet, Furniture Row Racing. The modest rejuvenation continues for Truex and the Colorado-based team owned by Barney Visser. The Furniture Row bunch registered just five top-10 finishes in all 36 races last year; two races into 2015, Truex and Co. already have a pair of single-digit results. " MORE: Truex looks to put 2014 woes behind him 7. AJ Allmendinger, No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG-Daugherty Racing. A strong finish on an intermediate track helped lift the spirits of the single-car organization, which qualified for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs for the first time last year. After just two races, Allmendinger is slotted in a tie for eighth in the series standings. " MORE: Chase Grid after two races 8. Brett Moffitt, No. 55 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing. The former NASCAR Next driver needed to receive the free pass two times to do it, but Moffitt closed the deal on the lead lap on a day of firsts for his career-best finish in just his eighth Sprint Cup start. Brian Vickers is scheduled to return to MWR's No. 55 ride next weekend at Las Vegas. 9. Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Ford, Team Penske. The 2012 champion had hopes for a top-five finish, but his aspirations were also tempered with temporary resignation over what he thought could have been a subpar 15th-place result. "We were just kind of up and down and floating all day long," Keselowski said after settling for somewhere in the middle of his expectations in ninth place. 10. Ryan Newman, No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing. Newman appeared sunk after absorbing significant damage in a four-car crash on Lap 257, but hard work from his RCR crew in making repairs buoyed Newman to a surprising top-10. 11. Aric Almirola, No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports. After opening up 2014 with patchwork finishes of 39th, 15th, 25th, third and 43rd, Almirola has some consistency to crow about this season. "That's a big head start from last year!" Almirola tweeted after his second straight top-15 finish pushed him into a tie for eighth in Sprint Cup points. " MORE: Follow drivers on Social Drive 12. Carl Edwards, No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. Edwards was the beneficiary of the race's next-to-last yellow flag, helping him recover from a seemingly disastrous flat tire in the 274th lap for a lead-lap finish. 13. Paul Menard, No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing. The Wisconsin native couldn't shake the unluckiest of numbers, starting and finishing 13th as the final driver on the lead lap. 14. Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. The track that produced Kahne's last-ditch clincher into the Chase field last September wasn't so kind this time around. A pit-road penalty for a rolling-tire infraction in the 293rd lap forced the Hendrick Motorsports driver to make a pass-through on pit lane during green-flag conditions. 15. Casey Mears, No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing. Sunday's top-15 finish wasn't quite the windfall the Germain team received from Mears' sixth-place run in the Daytona 500, but the solid day kept its driver in the same position in Sprint Cup points -- sixth. 16. Danica Patrick, No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. Atlanta provided the backdrop for Patrick's career-best Sprint Cup finish of sixth place last season. While 16th place marked a slip in performance, the effort -- coupled with 21st place the previous week at Daytona -- launched Patrick into the final spot on the provisional Chase grid. 17. Regan Smith, No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. Smith's second start as a substitute for suspended Kurt Busch had nearly the same result as the first, just one spot lower than his 16th place in the Daytona 500. The degree of difficulty may have been greater at Atlanta, though, after Smith's No. 41 was crumpled in a multicar fracas 20 laps from the end. " WATCH: Big wreck brings out the red flag 18. David Ragan, No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. Ragan pushed the No. 18 car up into the top five in the early stages of his first start as a fill-in for injured Kyle Busch, but said he was "a little timid" in making needed adjustments as the 500-miler went on. "I felt like we had a good, solid top-10 car and things just didn't shake out," Ragan said. 19. Trevor Bayne, No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing. Bayne was at the head of the Roush Fenway class at Atlanta, but frustrated in finishing two laps down. The midpack result left him hoping to see the team's determination rewarded soon. "I see a lot of people trying to work together and that's where it starts," Bayne said. "We obviously haven't seen any results as far as speed is concerned." 20. Justin Allgaier, No. 51 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports. Allgaier made the most of his survival instinct after two instances of evasive action in the race's late stages. The second-year driver brushed the wall avoiding the Lap 257 pile-up that snared four cars, then dipped to the apron to dodge the Lap 305 snarl that grabbed seven more competitors. 21. Sam Hornish Jr., No. 9 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports. Inopportune timing put Hornish in the path of debris from Austin Dillon's blown tire in the 60th lap. Damage to the front end jolted the grille and left the RPM No. 9 crew fighting an uphill battle for most of the race; his own flat tire and a later brush with the wall only compounded the trouble. 22. David Gilliland, No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports. Gilliland pressed on after a bump from behind in the four-car crash on the 257th lap. He also stayed on the track during the race's fourth yellow flag to lead a lap for the first time at Atlanta since March 2010. 23. Alex Bowman, No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing. After failing to qualify for the season-opening Daytona 500, Bowman opened his season at Atlanta as one of the biggest movers in a race filled with them. The second-year Sprint Cup driver gained 19 spots from his starting position. 24. Clint Bowyer, No. 15 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing. Bowyer gained track position by staying on the track late in the race, but his day went from sour to downright acidic in a hurry. An engine issue developed with around 35 laps left, just before the race's final crash engulfed him with 20 to go. 25. Greg Biffle, No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing. The Biff fought an ill-handling car most of the day, but lost the most ground when he overcooked his entry into Turn 3 on the race's next-to-last restart, igniting the race's biggest crash. 26. Kyle Larson, No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing. The site of an eighth-place finish last season held much higher promise for 2014's Sunoco Rookie of the Year, but sustaining plenty of contact in the race's biggest crash near the finish prompted Larson to tweet afterward: "Such a frustrating race. Top 5 car but had no luck." " MORE: Follow drivers on Social Drive 27. Michael McDowell, No. 95 Ford, Leavine Family Racing. The small, family-owned team found some solace in McDowell's best result in five career starts at Atlanta, marking the first time he was running at the finish at the 1.54-mile venue. 28. Brendan Gaughan, No. 62 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. The Jay Robinson-owned start-up team recovered after failing to qualify for the Daytona 500 with Brian Scott. It marked the occasion of Gaughan's first Sprint Cup start since August 2013. 29. Michael Annett, No. 33 Chevrolet, Circle Sport Racing. Annett and Co. struck an 11th-hour deal to jump in the Joe Falk-owned ride after his regular HScott Motorsports No. 46 ride missed out on Coors Light Pole Qualifying. The last-minute move kept his goal of a complete Sprint Cup season alive. 30. Tony Stewart, No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. Stewart was one of several drivers who started near the back of the pack after issues clearing Friday's pre-qualifying inspection. Smoke grappled with handling woes for much of the race, but matters got worse with involvement in the event's final multicar crash. 31. Mike Bliss, No. 32 Ford, GoFAS Racing. The 49-year-old veteran stayed on the track during a pair of early caution periods to pace two laps, marking his first lap led in the Sprint Cup Series since March 4, 2012 (Phoenix). It also was the first time since August 27, 2005 (Bristol) that Bliss has led multiple laps in a Sprint Cup race. 32. Josh Wise, No. 98 Ford, Phil Parsons Racing. Wise was among the first bitten by the new pit road officiating system, incurring a Lap 28 penalty for crew members coming over the wall too soon. Though seven laps down, Wise managed his best finish in three career starts at Atlanta. 33. Joe Nemechek, No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports. The man with the Front Row nickname made his first appearance in Front Row Motorsports equipment, but contact from Greg Biffle's spin left his car and hopes dented for his first Sprint Cup event of the year. 34. JJ Yeley, No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing. Slight damage from debris early in the race slowed Yeley, who managed to improve upon the 40th-place result from the season-opening Daytona 500. 35. Jeb Burton , No. 26 Toyota, BK Racing. As the only rookie in the 43-car field, Burton made his Sprint Cup debut, forging on after a mid-race scrape with the wall. 36. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing. Stenhouse played the role of pinball in the race's biggest crash; though several cars were involved, the No. 17 was the only one unable to continue. 37. Cole Whitt, No. 35 Ford, Front Row Motorsports. An engine that would've made a 400-mile distance couldn't quite withstand the full 500, first dropping a cylinder before expiring altogether, dumping fluid on the track and causing the race's next-to-last caution period. 38. Denny Hamlin, No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. Hamlin led twice for 14 laps, but found himself sideways in the middle of the track when he lost control on a late-race restart. Three more cars piled in, prompting Hamlin to offer sympathies: "I apologize to all those cars involved, but it's tough." " WATCH: Hamlin spins and collects several drivers 39. Austin Dillon, No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing. A pair of rear tire troubles in rapid succession, both of which sprayed debris on the 1.54-mile track, derailed Dillon's day. The second instance, with the car already laboring from earlier damage, sent the RCR No. 3 off into the muddy infield and later behind the wall for extensive repairs. " WATCH: Dillon spins after cutting a tire 40. Jamie McMurray, No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing. After starting third, Jamie Mac didn't have visions of finishing in the bottom five Sunday at Atlanta. The tangle that also thwarted three others when Denny Hamlin lost control took him by surprise: "I didn't see any of that coming," McMurray said. "That was kind of out of the blue." 41. Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. The four-time champion drew a Lap 24 tribute from the track with his car number blanketing the main scoring pylon early on, but enduring a crash for the second straight week has his final full Sprint Cup season off to a ragged start. Finishes of 33rd at Daytona and 41st at Atlanta have relegated Gordon to a tie for 35th place in the points standings. " WATCH: Big wreck brings out red flag 42. Ron Hornaday Jr., No. 30 Chevrolet, The Motorsports Group. After failing to qualify for the Daytona 500, the four-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion made his first Sprint Cup start since 2003 on Sunday. The Curtis Key-owned start-up team parked just past the halfway point at Atlanta with a rear gearing malfunction. 43. Landon Cassill, No. 40 Chevrolet, Hillman Smith Motorsports. Starting last, Cassill seemingly had nowhere to go but up at Atlanta. Instead, the 25-year-old driver stayed level as the race's first retiree for the second straight week, posting consecutive 43rd-place finishes after two engine failures to start the season. 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
Jamie McMurray describes his plan for the ice-bucket challenge, and Jeff Burton fills in for the Cup race in Michigan. All that, and more, on this episode of GarageCam.
Brett Moffitt to drive No. 66 car at Michigan; Burton will run at New Hampshire in July
Jeff Burton looks back on his NASCAR career and talks about his decision to retire from racing.
Johnny Sauter spins after making contact with contact with teammate Jeb Burton late in the race setting up a green-white-checkered finish at Texas Motor Speedway.