Take a virtual lap around Atlanta Motor Speedway with Kurt Busch.
Track is the latest to announce safety enhancements Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live Atlanta Motor Speedway announced Tuesday morning that it will expand its use of impact-absorbing barriers ahead of this weekend's on-track activity. The move comes three days after Kyle Busch was injured in a NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona International Speedway , his car slamming into a concrete retaining wall without the benefit of the Steel and Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER) barriers. "As promised, we expedited a review of potential safety advancements at each of our racing venues," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer. "We're pleased with the additional safety enhancements Atlanta Motor Speedway will be making leading into our events this weekend. As we've stated, NASCAR and its track partners remain steadfastly committed to safety." According to the statement, the Atlanta track -- which has hosted NASCAR's top series since its 1960 opening -- will add 130 linear feet of protective barrier for this weekend, extending coverage of the protective wall at the exit of pit road near Turn 1 and an additional tire barrier along the inside wall of Turn 4. All three NASCAR national series will be racing at the 1.54-mile Georgia track this weekend, culminating with Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX), the second race of the year for the Sprint Cup Series. Officials at the speedway said they would conduct a further review of additional SAFER barriers after Sunday's race. Hours after Busch's injury, Daytona track president Joie Chitwood III said the 2.5-mile track would take every measure to ring its facility with the SAFER technology. Atlanta's decision comes one day after similar announcements by officials at 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway and 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway to expand their coverage with protective walls. 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
Track president: 'We've got history and experience doing March races' Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live For the first time since 2004, NASCAR teams won't load up and head west for the season's second stop following the Daytona 500. Instead, Week No. 2 will find teams from all three national series -- Sprint Cup, XFINITY and Camping World Truck -- headed to Atlanta Motor Speedway . Coming on the heels of the season’s premier race has its challenges, AMS president Ed Clark told NASCAR.com, and weather is always a concern with an early March date in the area. RELATED: Atlanta plans SAFER barrier additions But, Clark said, "We've got history and experience doing March races. "The thing that's different about this one is that in the past, the Daytona 500 kicked the season off, we came home and had two to three weeks of outstanding interest in the sport. The day after the 500 was always your biggest ticket sales day of the year. "In this case, the Daytona 500 is over Sunday afternoon and we’re into Atlanta's race week right then." AMS hosted a Labor Day weekend race from 2010 through this past season. Up until 2010, it hosted two annual Sprint Cup weekends, the first typically falling in early to mid-March. From '82 through 2004, the second Sprint Cup race of the season was held at either Richmond International Raceway or North Carolina Motor Speedway (Rockingham). California's Auto Club Speedway hosted the second stop from '05 through '10 and Phoenix International Raceway had been the host since '11. "It's a plus and a minus," Clark said of being No. 2 on the schedule. "We all remember the year that Cale (Yarborough) and Bobby and Donnie (Allison) got in a fight (at Daytona in '79). The printing press couldn't have printed enough tickets for the next race. … That's a bonus when it happens. The world is watching what goes on at Daytona, there's a lot of focus on the sport. Everything is new. So it's a plus from that standpoint." Weather issues early in the year aren't uncommon for the Atlanta region, however. And the long-range forecast for this year's race weekend didn't look promising. But it has since changed (and will likely again), going from a chance of snow to a 40 percent chance of rain to a 20 percent chance of rain in the span of a week, according to www.NOAA.gov. Clark is more concerned about those things his group can control instead of those it can't. "I haven't even looked at (the weather forecast) in about a day and a half," he said. "No need to. It changes. "That's the approach we've taken all along. We know how to promote races; we've done it for years. Have your plan; work your plan. When you get to race time, you don't want to look back and say there was something you could have done that you didn't do." Part of that plan included an appearance by reigning Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick on Monday. Prior to Thursday's scheduled test session, Atlanta Motor Speedway Day will be celebrated at the state capitol. Three-time premier series champion and NASCAR Hall of Fame member Darrell Waltrip is expected to join active native Georgia drivers from all three series for a visit with the governor as well as stops as the Senate and House chambers. "The long and short of it," Clark said, "is we've done things we typically do, no matter when the race is." In addition to normal race-weekend preparations, AMS announced Tuesday upgrades to its current SAFER barrier system will be put in place in time for this weekend's events. Camping World Truck Series teams, which haven't competed at AMS since 2012, will share top billing on Saturday with the XFINITY Series in a double-header race day that features the Hisense 250 XFINITY Series race (2 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1) and the Hyundai Construction Equipment 200 Truck Series event (5:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1). The Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Sprint Cup Series event is scheduled for Sunday, March 1 with TV coverage on FOX. "We know we'll have a good race; we always have a good race at Atlanta ," Clark said. "If we can get that first one done and all be positive, we have a whole year to work on ('16). I think that's when we will find out what the potential is for the future." 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
Get caught up before Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX) Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live What: 56th annual Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 . Where : Atlanta Motor Speedway , 1.54-mile oval in Hampton, Georgia. When: Sunday, March 1 p.m. ET. TV/Radio: FOX, PRN. Distance: 325 laps; 500.5 miles . Pit road speed: 45 mph . Caution car speed: 55 mph. Fuel window: 50-55 laps. On the front row " Starting lineup 1. Joey Logano, Team Penske No. 22 Ford. 2. Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Chevrolet. Fastest in practice First practice: Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet (192.989 mph). " Full results Final practice: Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Chevrolet (191.054 mph). " Full results To the rear: Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Chevrolet (engine change); Michael Annett, Circle Sport Racing No. 33 Chevrolet (driver change) Driver rating (Best driver rating average at Atlanta based on the past nine years, minimum 5 starts): Jeff Gordon, 106.0 Jimmie Johnson, 104.9 Last year's winner: Kasey Kahne, Hendrick Motorsports No. 5 Chevrolet. Strange things: Between Travis Kvapil's stolen -- and then found -- No. 44 Sprint Cup Series ride, Denny Hamlin's motorcoach backed into by a runaway llama SUV, Rodney Childers' tow vehicle being the victim of a hit-and-run and who knows what else, Atlanta has gotten off to a strange start. Considering this is the race that saw a cat and/or squirrel run in front of Kevin Harvick on the track, there's no telling what could happen in Sunday's event. On a roll to the pole: Joey Logano, your Daytona 500 winner, backed up his first victory in the Great American Race by coming out strong in qualifying at Atlanta Motor Speedway . The Team Penske driver earned the Coors Light Pole Award for both the Sprint Cup Series and XFINITY Series races. AMS has given Logano headaches in the past, but it appears he finally has a handle on the 1.54-mile speedway . Qualifying … or not: Plenty of big name drivers will be working their way up through the field after they failed to make it through technical inspection ahead of Coors Light Pole Award qualifying. With Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart -- not to mention Kevin Harvick, who will start from the rear for an engine change -- we'll see some fast, intense racing from the get-go as drivers fight their way through the field. They said it I: "This is a very rare occasion. This is the first one I have ever had. The engine shop does a great job. I am just glad that it happened today. Our Jimmy John's/Budweiser team is doing a great job and the car is handling good. If we were going to have something happen, this is a good place to have it happen because you can pass. … It will just make for a better show." -- Kevin Harvick on his blown engine They said it II: "Hopefully, we'll finish where we start. It's been an amazing few weeks if you think about the Daytona 500 and everything that comes along with that, and then coming down here to Atlanta and starting first is special, especially for me here at this race track. I remember sitting in the corner and watching drivers up here talking about their qualifying run and racing Legends cars out front here for years, so there are a lot of memories here. You guys see the picture over there (in the Media Center) when you walk in with David (Ragan) and Reed (Sorenson) when we were young and racing here. Obviously, anything to be in Victory Lane here; it's a very special place for me. I don't know what's going on lately. Everything is going well and we're just trying to keep the old train rolling here. It's going great and we'll see what happens on Sunday." -- Joey Logano They said it III: "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." -- Jeff Gordon on daughter Ella Sofia, who received a Bandolero car from AMS to share with her brother Leo Former Atlanta winners in the field: Jeff Gordon (5); Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart (3); Dale Earnhardt Jr., Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick (1). 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
Michael Waltrip Racing turns to 22-year-old in relief role CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Brett Moffitt , who made his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut in 2014, will drive the No. 55 Aaron's Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 1 as Brian Vickers recuperates from offseason heart surgery. Owner Michael Waltrip made the announcement Tuesday during his team's stop on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour. "He was the driver that everybody at Michael Waltrip Racing wanted to be in that car at Atlanta ," Waltrip said. "They believe in him." Moffitt said he learned of his appointment to the No. 55 Toyota two weeks ago, making it exceedingly difficult to keep his fill-in role a secret. "It was a stressful wait to find out that I was going to be in the car, that's for sure," Moffitt said. "I obviously wanted this opportunity really bad and I'm thankful for it." In seven Sprint Cup starts last season, the best start and finish for the 22-year-old native of Grimes, Iowa and former NASCAR Next driver and K&N Pro Series East race winner came in his debut on June 1 at Dover International Speedway when he began the race in 18th and finished 22nd. Though he said he has been enjoying his time as a developmental driver in the MWR system, Moffitt said he was continuing to explore options -- in any of NASCAR's three national series -- that would allow him to race on a more consistent basis. "I'm very happy with MWR. They're very supportive of me -- have been since 2011," Moffitt said. "They gave me the first opportunity to test a Cup car, they gave me the first opportunity to race one, so they've been huge supporters of my career and I wouldn't be where I am without them, that's for sure. But at the same time, I need to be in a race car more often and they've been willing to work with me on that, and they said hey, if you find an opportunity, we're not going to hold you back from it." Waltrip agreed: "We'll let Brett do anything he wants to do in order to get laps so that he can continue to mature as a race car driver. We believe in Brett, he's our guy, but if we can loan him out and he can race somewhere else that would make me happy." Waltrip will drive the No. 55 Toyota in the Daytona 500 on Feb. 22 (1 p.m. ET, FOX) as he attempts to win his third Great American Race. Despite missing the first two races of the season, Vickers received NASCAR's blessing to run for the Sprint Cup Series championship provided he meets all other requirements for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs. He will return to his ride at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the third race of the year on March 8. Last month, doctors discovered Vickers' body rejected a patch that was placed over a hole in his heart. They alleviated the problem and gave him clearance to race just three months after the corrective heart surgery. "They took my heart out and replaced it with a lion heart," Vickers joked on Tuesday. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Hisense 250 will run on Feb. 28, 2015 MORE: Complete schedule " Buy tickets for Atlanta The XFINITY Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway will be sponsored by Hisense and the event will be named the Hisense 250. The race is set to be run on Saturday, February 28 with television coverage on FOX Sports 1. The race will be the second XFINITY Series race of the 2015 season and the first part of a rare XFINITY Series- Camping World Truck Series doubleheader. Hisense is a multinational electronics manufacturer based in Qingdao, China. Hisense USA operates a Georgia-based R&D center in Georgia. "We are beyond delighted to welcome Hisense as the title sponsor for the XFINITY Series race in Atlanta on Feb. 28, as it continues its global development in the U.S.," said Ed Clark, Atlanta Motor Speedway president and GM. "Hisense provides a full range of quality electronic products to a worldwide market, and we look forward to a partnership that will continue to fuel its expanding reach across the U.S. and provide a quality event for fans attending the Hisense 250." Atlanta is hosting a Truck Series event for the first time since 2012 and the race weekend was moved up to follow the Daytona opening weekend as part of several changes to the schedule. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Brian Scott lines up second to Team Penske driver RELATED: Full lineup for the Hisense 250 Joey Logano won the Coors Light Pole Award on Saturday for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Hisense 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway (2 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1). This is the Team Penske driver's first pole award at Atlanta and the 27th of his XFINITY Series career. Along with winning the Daytona 500 last week, Logano also grabbed the Coors Light Pole Award for Sunday's Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX). Lining up next to Logano on the front row will be Richard Childress Racing driver Brian Scott. Regan Smith, Kyle Larson and Matt Kenseth round out the top-five starters. Chase Elliott, reigning XFINITY Series champion, will line up ninth at his home track. The XFINITY Series will return to the track at 2 p.m. ET for the Hisense 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway with TV coverage on FOX Sports 1.
Keep tabs on the activity at Atlanta Motor Speedway This week brings the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series , the NASCAR XFINITY Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series to Atlanta Motor Speedway . The Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 will be held on Sunday, March 1 at 1 p.m. ET with coverage on FOX. The XFINITY Series Hisense 250 is on Saturday, Feb. 28 at 2 p.m. ET with coverage on FOX Sports 1. The Camping World Truck Series Hyundai Construction Equipment 200 is on Saturday, Feb. 28 at 5:30 p.m. ET with coverage on FOX Sports 1. For more information on track times, press conferences and GarageCam, you can check out the full weekend schedule . We know you may not have the time to watch the race action without any interruptions, so if you're on the go, here's how to keep up at Atlanta . NASCAR.com's live Sprint Cup Series leaderboard , XFINITY Series leaderboard and Camping World Truck Series leaderboard update in real-time and offer constant text updates of lead changes, cautions, strategies, strong runs and everything in between. From the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series leaderboard, fans can also access live standings . On the go? Download the NASCAR Mobile app to follow the leaderboards live from your device. Lap-by-Lap will keep you caught up even if you can only take a peek here or there. Check in to read back through all the laps you've missed, or keep an eye on the feed for real-time race updates. We'll also send race updates via Twitter through the official @NASCAR and @NASCARStats handles. RaceBuddy will have enhanced views and coverage for the Sprint Cup Series and for most XFINITY Series races with 10 HD live race views, including six in-car cameras as well as a backstretch camera, pit road camera and more. Haven't tried RaceView yet? If you sign up, you'll get virtual video of cars on the track from various angles and hear what your favorite team is saying over the radio in both the Sprint Cup and select XFINITY Series races. Use it as a second screen or as your only screen. Just want to scan the radios? You can have that too with Scanner (formerly RaceView Audio). On a mobile device? Get RaceView Mobile here . If you want to be more involved in the on-track action, you can manage your fantasy team on NASCAR.com and follow your team's performance in NASCAR Fantasy Live . Mobile users can also download NASCAR Connect , a game from OneUp Sports that allows users to play other fans with race predictions for some off-track competition while drivers battle it out on the track. Live Press Pass video streams will keep the NASCAR action rolling even after the winner goes in and out of Victory Lane. Catch interviews with the top finishers and series champions immediately following the checkered flag for all three national series events, and stay tuned to NASCAR.com throughout the week for the latest news. FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
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
XFINITY Series regular tapped to run in Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live Stewart-Haas Racing will run the No. 41 Chevrolet at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend with Regan Smith behind the wheel for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500, the organization announced Monday. Smith will begin driving the No. 41 car during an open test session at Atlanta on Thursday, according to a team release. An interim driver for the Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 8, and races beyond that, has not been determined, according to the team. Kurt Busch, the full-time driver entering the season, was suspended by NASCAR for an indefinite amount of time on Friday after the conclusions reached by Kent County (Delaware) Commissioner David Jones stated that a "preponderance of the evidence" indicated that Busch "committed an act of domestic violence" against former girlfriend Patricia Driscoll last September at Dover International Speedway . The findings were released four days after a Delaware family court granted Driscoll's request for an Order of Protection from Abuse, stemming from their alleged altercation in Busch's motorcoach. Both of Busch's appeals were denied on Saturday. Busch's punishment fell under two headings in NASCAR's rule book: Section 12.1.a: Actions detrimental to stock car racing; and 12.8: Behavioral penalty. Smith, last year's NASCAR XFINITY Series runner-up, subbed for Busch in the Daytona 500 and finished 16th, which was the second-highest result for the four SHR cars in the field. Smith has made six career starts at Atlanta in the Sprint Cup Series and has a pair of 14th-place finishes. His average finish is 24.3 at the 1.54-mile track. The Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 is set for Sunday, March 1, at 1 p.m. ET with TV coverage on FOX. 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