Austin Dillon and Elliott Sadler comment on a long day or racing, which saw them earn top-five finishes.
Dillon nabbed second, third-place finishes in adjacent Truck, XFINITY races Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live HAMPTON, Ga. -- Double-duty. From Joe Gibbs Racing 's Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth to Team Penske 's Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano , plenty of NASCAR's biggest names have routinely raced in multiple national series events for many of the season's weekends for years. Richard Childress Racing XFINITY Series driver Ty Dillon has gotten a taste of that each of the first two weeks of the season thus far, running all three races at Daytona -- including his first Daytona 500 start -- followed by the XFINITY / Camping World Truck Series Hisense 250 /Hyundai Construction Parts 200 double-header at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday. Dillon wasn't alone in doing so, as he was joined by Erik Jones , Daniel Suarez, John Wes Townley , Ryan Sieg and Morgan Shepherd in the 450-mile, two-race conquest. Where his feats did stand out, however, were at the front of the pack. The 23-year-old finished third in the XFINITY race -- behind race-winning Sprint Cup Series champ Kevin Harvick and Daytona 500 winner Joey Logano -- and second in the Truck Series race -- behind two-time defending series champ Matt Crafton . Not too shabby. "When you can come out of a race track like Atlanta, that's so tough to drive, with two top-three finishes in two of the top-three series, it's awesome," Dillon said following the Truck Series race. "I'm very happy with the way the day went. "It was nice running two of everything and making it to the media center twice. I thought I'd sit in Joey (Logano)'s chair this time; he's had some good luck so I'm sitting where he sat during the last (post-race press conference following the XFINITY race) … I've always dreamed of being a driver who runs multiple series in a weekend; hopefully in the Sprint Cup Series and XFINITY and Trucks." Dillon will be competing for the driver's championship in the XFINITY Series, but will have a shot at plenty of trophies and Victory Lane celebrations between his occasional Cup and Truck starts remaining this season. The most valuable thing he'll take away from these additional races, however, is the experience. Saturday's races gave him a front row seat to what that looks like. "Obviously, we were racing against a guy who just won the Daytona 500 and two guys who were just battling for the ( Sprint Cup Series) championship, so they obviously know what they're doing," Dillon said of Logano and Harvick, respectively, who have 80 combined XFINITY and Truck Series victories between them. "You see them in front of you, you get hungry. You want to get up there and battle with those guys, but hopefully down the road when I gain more experience, I'll be able to compete a little bit better in that situation, but I was proud of our run. "All in all, the circumstances, maybe a couple more restarts and we might've been able to race with them a little bit harder, but it is what it is. They're pretty dang good here. I think Harvick's won just about every time he's raced here, so I'm proud of our effort and hopefully next year we come back and we'll be able to race with them." Dillon will get another shot at doubling down this weekend in Sin City, when the RCR driver gets behind the wheel of his No. 3 Chevrolet Camaro in Saturday's Boyd Gaming 300 (4 p.m. ET, FS1) and the No. 33 Chevrolet SS in Sunday's Kobalt Tools 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX) at Las Vegas Motor Speedway . "It's a great feeling to start the season off on back-to-back third place finishes," Dillon said. "It gives us a lot of confidence and I wouldn't be surprised if we go compete for a win next week in Las Vegas." 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 full lineup of NASCAR programming for the week RELATED: See the full weekend schedule All times ET Monday, March 2 5:30 a.m., NASCAR Victory Lane (re-air), FOX Sports 1 10 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Fields of Honor QuikTrip 500 (re-air), FOX Sports 1 2 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Fields of Honor QuikTrip 500 (re-air), FOX Sports 2 5 p.m., NASCAR America Live, NBC Sports Network 6 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1 8 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub (re-air), FOX Sports 2 Tuesday, March 3 10:30 a.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Hisense 250 (re-air), FOX Sports 1 2:30 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Hisense 250 (re-air), FOX Sports 1 5:30 p.m., NASCAR America Live, NBC Sports Network 6 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1 7 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub (re-air), FOX Sports 2 Wednesday, March 4 3 a.m., NASCAR Race Hub (re-air), FOX Sports 1 4 a.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Hyundai Construction Equipment 200 (re-air), FOX Sports 1 5:30 p.m., NASCAR America Live, NBC Sports Network 6 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1 7 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub (re-air), FOX Sports 2 Thursday, March 5 5 p.m., NASCAR America Live, NBC Sports Network 6 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1 6:30 p.m., NASCAR America: Celebrate the States 3 (re-air), NBC Sports Network Friday, March 6 2 p.m., A Perfect Storm: The 1979 DAYTONA 500, FOX Sports 1 3 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, FOX Sports 1 4:30 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series practice, FOX Sports 1 5:30 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub: Weekend Edition, FOX Sports 1 6 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series final practice, FOX Sports 1 7:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FOX Sports 1 Saturday, March 7 2 a.m., NASCAR America: Celebrate the States 3 (re-air), NBC Sports Network 2:30 a.m., NASCAR America: Celebrate the States 3 (re-air), NBC Sports Network 3 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice (re-air), FOX Sports 1 4:30 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying (re-air), FOX Sports 1 10 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying (re-air), FOX Sports 1 11:30 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, FOX Sports 2 12:30 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FOX Sports 2 2 p.m., The 10: NASCAR's Greatest Races (re-air), FOX Sports 1 2:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice, FOX Sports 1 3:30 p.m., NASCAR Race Day: XFINITY Series, FOX Sports 1 4 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Boyd Gaming 300, FOX Sports 1 Sunday, March 8 3 a.m., 1979 DAYTONA 500, FOX Sports 1 3:30 a.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series: Boyd Gaming 300, FOX Sports 1 2 p.m., NASCAR Race Day, FOX Sports 1 3 p.m., NASCAR Race Day: Las Vegas, FOX 3:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt Tools 400, FOX 3:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt Tools 400, FOX Deportes 1 a.m., NASCAR Victory Lane, FOX Sports 1 MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today
Meet Chris Official NASCAR Fan Council member of the month
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.
See where your favorite driver will pit (2 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1) Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live Joey Logano won the Coors Light Pole Award for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Hisense 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway and as a result he gets his choice of pit stalls. Logano chose the pit stall closest to the pit road exit so he should have an easier time leaving pit road. That spot also means he has no one in front of him. Brian Scott (starting second) also chose a pit stall (No. 21) with empty space in front of him, while Regan Smith (starting third) chose the first pit stall closest to the pit road entrance. Watch the NASCAR XFINITY Series run the Hisense 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway at 2 p.m. ET, 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
Driver scores third straight series win at 1.54-mile track RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings HAMPTON, Ga.—If you had to pick one driver to knock Joey Logano off his pedestal at Atlanta Motor Speedway, you couldn't make a better choice than Kevin Harvick. Holding off Logano after a restart on Lap 140 of 163, Harvick won Saturday's Hisense 250 NASCAR XFINITY Series race, ending a success streak that saw Logano beat Harvick for the win in the Daytona 500 and edge Harvick for the Coors Light Pole for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 (1 p.m. ET on FOX) at AMS. The victory was Harvick's third straight at Atlanta and fourth overall. He won for the 45th time in the XFINITY Series, third most all-time. It was also the first victory for Dave Elenz as a crew chief. After Logano developed a left rear wheel vibration during the final run, Harvick pulled away and crossed the finish line 1.208 seconds ahead of Logano, who finished second at Atlanta for the second straight season. Ty Dillon came home third, followed by Chris Buescher and defending series champion Chase Elliott, who pushed Harvick ahead of Logano on the Lap 140 restart. "I knew I needed to take off," Harvick said of the final run. "I thought his car was a little bit better as we got to about lap 20 (of a fuel run). He started reeling us in from that point on. "All in all, these guys on this Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet did a great job today. Awesome pit stops all day long, and we were able to make up some ground on that last pit stop (under caution on Lap 136)." Logano had to cope with the outside lane on the final restart, after Harvick chose the inside as the prerogative of the leader. "We got beat off pit road, but we had a decent restart from the outside lane—the outside is so tough—I thought if I could get door-to-door with him and get him loose underneath me, but the 9 (Elliott) was able to push him out ahead. "At that point, I was just trying to move around, different lanes, trying to find something for some speed. I was starting to catch him, and then I just had this huge vibration. At that point, I was just trying to survive and hoping the left rear didn't pass me." Logano started from the pole and dominated the race until the first round of green-flag pit stops. Bringing the No. 22 Ford to pit road as the lead on Lap 50, Logano had issues on the right front and spent a couple of extra seconds in his stall. Logano's issues played into the hands of Harvick, who had entered pit road three laps earlier running five seconds behind Logano. But Harvick's three-lap advantage on new tires, coupled with Logano's snafu on pit road, put the No. 88 Chevrolet out front when the round of pit stops cycled through. Harvick maintained the top spot, with Logano in pursuit roughly one second behind, until NASCAR called the second caution of the race, for debris in Turn 3 on Lap 86, just in time for the nine cars on the lead lap to come to pit road for four new tires and fuel. Harvick surged ahead from the top lane after the subsequently restart on Lap 91 and quickly rebuilt his one-second lead over Logano. Logano, however, soon began chipping away at Harvick's lead, first by hundredths of a second, later by tenths. On Lap 126, Logano drove high into Turn 1, gained momentum and pulled up near Harvick's bumper as the cars completed the circuit. Harvick took the high line into the first corner on Lap 127, but Logano steered to the inside and made the pass for the lead off Turn 2. But fluid on the backstretch slowed the field for the third time on lap 134, and Harvick beat Logano off pit road and retook the lead after yellow-flag stops on Lap 136. "That pit stop is what won this race," Harvick said. "Joey probably had a better car the second half of the run. It really played out for us there at the end, as we were able to have that short run and take off." 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
Austin Dillon's success continues to hold true to form
From the feathers to the wins, driver has left lasting impression Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A young Jeff Gordon preferred to let his No. 24 car do the talking for him. Consequently, he didn't have to tell his '90s crew when he was ready to take the checkered. Instead, the crew interpreted the two simple signs. First, Gordon would grow quiet on the radio, fading to eventual silence. The iconic No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet whirled around the track, providing plenty of nonverbal commentary with its vibrant, rainbow-colored exterior. And when Gordon passed by his pit box seconds later, one final action let his crew know it was winning time. “The story was, he had the feathers on his helmet, and when he would get really focused, he would lean over and you could see the feathers through the window net,” No. 5/24 Team Manager Brian Whitesell recalled. “And you knew he was getting serious. So you would always joke about ‘OK, we’re seeing the feathers, it’s about to get on now.’” Gordon’s competitive nature and intensity in the car are two of the many qualities that Whitesell and other Hendrick Motorsports shop employees will miss when Gordon retires from full-time competition in 2016. Many No. 5/24 shop employees have called the sprawling campus of Hendrick Motorsports “home” for over 20 years, spending their days laboring Gordon's race cars upon the spotless white floors of the shop. And each of these veterans can recount stories about a young Gordon from a different era of racing. “He’s changed the perception of the sport by his actions and by what he’s done,” Whitesell said while sitting in his office overlooking the No. 5/24 shop of Gordon and teammate Kasey Kahne. “I’m sure there will be stories 10 years from now on what this change manifested and what he’s able to do in his new role.” Whitesell recalls Gordon’s career with fondness and familiarity -- unsurprising, as he’s been with the No. 24 driver from the very beginning. The young engineer took a job with Hendrick Motorsports back in 1992 as the initial truck driver for the newly minted No. 24 team. Whitesell later served as Gordon’s engineer and transitory crew chief after Ray Evernham left the team midway through the 1999 Cup season. The pair won two back-to-back races in 1999 -- at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Martinsville Speedway -- following Evernham's departure. “Knew he was a very special, talented driver,” Whitesell said of his first impression of Gordon. “That’s what we knew. Now where it went from there, no one knew because a lot of talented drivers come in the series and for one reason or another, they don’t make it. “The whole combination of (team owner) Mr. (Rick) Hendrick and it ended up being Ray and Jeff -- the whole thing worked very well and obviously took off.” For the shop workers, co-owner Gordon's similarities to Hendrick help make the No. 24 driver an incredible leader. “He’s like a miniature Rick,” said No. 5/24 Mechanic Darrell McDonald, who took brief break from the shop's Daytona 500 preparations to offer his commentary on Gordon. Moments later, the 24-year shop veteran found the perfect analogy: “… He brings this calm to everybody. He’s the first one to clap; he’s a good motivator. "It’s like when you have a meeting with Rick, when he’s done…man, if I was in the military, we’d be taking over countries.” So when their long-time fearless leader Gordon told his devoted army on Jan. 22 that he wouldn’t be competing full-time after 2016, it was a tough pill to swallow for the shop members. “I don’t think it’s sunk in yet,” said No. 5/24 shop foreman Steve Hlinak, who has been with the team since 1998. “When you see a 24 on the track and they don’t say Jeff Gordon, it’s going to be weird.” Gordon caught Hlinak’s eye even before he joined the Hendrick Motorsports family. He remembers watching Gordon nab his record-setting pole at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1995 in a fashion that was simply extraordinary. “That’s one of my favorite memories of Jeff in years past,” Hlinak said. “I wasn’t even working on that team and it jacked me up. When he got sideways and got the pole, it was incredible. His dominance at Indy is pretty spectacular.” Gordon’s supremacy at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is universally celebrated around the shop -- last season, the shop's non-traveling employees even participated in their own brick-kissing ceremony on the floors of the 5/24 shop following Gordon's impressive Brickyard 400 victory. Naturally, it’s also the track where Whitesell immediately pinpoints his favorite memory with the No. 24 driver. “The favorite memory was just that inaugural Brickyard,” Whitesell said, referring to Gordon’s renowned win in 1994. “It’s just hard to beat that. As we prepared for that race and did everything, it was just so special. And how well he drove that day. The determination of him doing that -- it was a huge accomplishment for him and the team.” Less than a year after that historic Brickyard 400 victory, Gordon was winning races like the shop employees had never seen before and bringing an unfamiliar feeling to the shop; a championship fever. “That was the first championship we ever had,” McDonald said, referring to Gordon’s first Cup title in 1995. “Before him and Terry (Labonte) came along, we won one race a year. “There are a lot of drivers that can win, but never win a championship. So it was great to see him put the whole year together as a driver and win the championship (in 1995). That’s basically what you’re here for.” • • • While legendary on the track, to these dedicated shop members, Gordon isn’t just a talented driver who has stacked their fingers with championship rings. He is someone they respect and care for both on and off the race track because of his character. “At a very young age, he knew he had a lot of people depending on him," McDonald explained. "This company depended on him to win. And he went out and performed. So I feel like that (first) year showed his maturity at such a young age and then (he) won a championship. “It was a tough era back then … let’s face it, you can only do so much for him as a crew chief, pit crew -- he’s got to drive that race car. Once you put them tires on there and put that thing full of fuel, it’s up to him.” But the task of hoisting the 2015 Sprint Cup trophy at the end of the year is not one that solely rests on Gordon's shoulders -- everyone in the 5/24 shop has a fire lit under their bellies and is ready for battle on the race track. “To me, it inspires us to do even better,” Hlinak said, referring to Gordon’s announcement. “A last chance to get him that championship here.” “At the end of this year, we just want to say, ‘You know what? We’ve done all we can do.” McDonald said. “…That’s all we want to do right now -- we’re not even thinking about when he’s done. We’ve got this year to race. We’re not done yet.” And after watching him race last season, they know that Gordon will do all he can to make that #DriveforFive championship dream a reality. “I think my favorite season was last year actually,” Hlinak said. “He showed his youthfulness now. We talked about showing his maturity back then, but now he’s showing his personality and his feelings. He’s still scrappy and youthful. He can get it done.” “Little of a redneck side last year,” McDonald added. “Yeah…” Hlinak said with a slight smile and a wink. “Everyone in this building has got his back.” But after the 2015 season is in the books, don’t use the r-word in regards to Gordon around these veteran shop members. Because to them, he’ll still be just as big a part of the Hendrick Motorsports team. “He’s not going to live in a some trailer park, living in a retirement home down in Florida,” McDonald said. “He’s not retiring, he’s just changing obligations.” "Changing obligations" will put Gordon in a managerial role of Hendrick Motorsports. In this facet, he'll still be heavily involved with the organization, closely supervising his replacement in the No. 24 car: Chase Elliott. "I see a lot of Jeff (in Elliott), I really do," McDonald said. "But I think Jeff’s going to be good for him because he’s going to let him know that he’s got to be Chase. He can’t be Jeff Gordon. He may be better than Jeff. He may win a lot of races, may win a lot of championships, we still don’t know yet. But Jeff will tell him to be him -- ‘Don’t worry about my stuff, you just go out there and do what you’re supposed to do.’" • • • After a few more minutes of conversation, these shop employees are back to work on the floor, immediately busying themselves with Daytona 500 preparations. With a championship to win and a new driver sitting in the wings, breaks are few and far between around here. But it's that devoted mindset that has made them so successful in the past and will keep them whistling and working inside the gray and white walls of the championship-winning shop for years and years to come. “I’m looking for my second (Rolex) watch,” said McDonald with a grin, referring to the gift Hendrick gives to employees on their 20-year anniversaries. “I’m hoping it’s the gold.” FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Huge wreck comes near midpoint of NextEra Energy Resources 250 Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The bad luck associated with Friday the 13th had a one-week hangover in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series as a massive 12-truck stack-up thinned the 32-truck field in Friday night's season opener at Daytona International Speedway. Starting off the year on an up note wasn't in the cards for the unfortunate dozen, all of whom had their high hopes derailed near the halfway point of the NextEra Energy Resources 250 . It was the biggest melee in the 100-lap, 250 -mile opener, continuing the trend of especially tense, close quarters racing across all three NASCAR national series at Daytona's Speedweeks. "It's just a product of the racing," said Timothy Peters, fifth in last year's final truck standings but crashed out in 24th place in the 2015 opener. "It's great racing. Just hope there'll be enough trucks on the race track to finish." The truck-swallowing conflagration began shortly after Ben Kennedy's No. 11 truck slowed with damage near the top lane at the end of the backstretch. When the pack stormed past on Lap 49, congestion and a hair-trigger reaction bottled up the single-file scrap among Austin Theriault, Scott Lagasse Jr. and James Buescher, snaring bystanders behind them. A blown tire on Kennedy's truck, battered from an earlier altercation, forced the second-year driver to limp his Red Horse Racing around the 2.5-mile track. With the pack bearing down on him, he was unable to steer to safety on the apron. "It was either wreck it into the pack or wreck it into the wall, and we had pretty much wreck it into the wall at that point," Kennedy said. "Stinks for these guys, it stinks for (sponsor) Local Motors and that's not the best way to start the season, but we'll get them from here." By the time the sparks and smoke died down in Turn 3, Buescher, Peters, Kennedy, John Wes Townley, Ryan Ellis, Spencer Gallagher, Chris Fontaine, Cameron Hayley, Daniel Hemric and Todd Peck had piled in. Theriault and Johnny Sauter also were involved but to a lesser degree. Though several drivers involved made the mandatory trip to the infield care center, all emerged unhurt but with stories of scary views to share. "It was funny. I saw kind of the obvious -- cars starting to collide -- and then I saw my hood all over my windshield for the rest of it," said Gallagher, who started 10th. "Sadly, there wasn't much to be done. … This is but a setback. We know what we are and what we've got for this year." Said Hayley, a product of the NASCAR Next program: "I was following the 05 of John Wes Townley and all I saw was smoke. Just white smoke and I tried to go to the outside and just couldn't get there and next thing you know my hood is crunched and I was sideways." 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