Hear from all the top finishers talking about their run in Atlanta.
Kevin Harvick fights off Kyle Busch to win the Great Clips Grit Chips 300 in Atlanta.
Four-race partnership begins this week in Las Vegas Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live Carl Edwards and Joe Gibbs Racing have added Comcast to their sponsorship lineup for the 2015 season. Comcast will serve as the primary sponsor for four races on the No. 19 Toyota Camry. The partnership begins this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Kobalt 400 (March 8, 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX) with Comcast Business as the primary paint scheme for Edwards. This marks the first major sponsorship deal i n NASCAR for the company's business services unit that provides data, Internet, TV and other communication services to businesses of all sizes. Comcast Business will also adorn the No. 19 Toyota at Bristol Motor Speedway for the Food City 500 (April 19, 1 p.m. ET, FOX). XFINITY, Comcast's residential brand for Internet, TV and other bundled communication, will have the primary paint scheme for Edwards in the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Sept. 27, 2 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network) and the Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway (Nov. 1, 1:15 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network). XFINITY also serves as the entitlement sponsor of the NASCAR XFINITY Series. "We're excited about this partnership with Comcast as they continue to grow in the sport, and I've had a great time so far working with them in preparation for Las Vegas," Edwards said in a release. "I'm excited to continue to build the relationship with them this year and hopefully we can put them into Victory Lane." In addition to Comcast, ARRIS and Stanley serve as primary sponsors this season on the No. 19 Toyota. Through two races in the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, Edwards is 14th in the point 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
Nickelodeon signs on for title sponsorship of Sprint Cup race in May Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live Nickelodeon announced Monday that it has joined forced with Kansas Speedway for a unique entitlement sponsorship for its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race May 9, now called the SpongeBob SquarePants 400. The deal with the children's TV network and the long-running animated series, which began in 1999, expands NASCAR's reach to a younger demographic. Plans are already afoot for costumed character appearances and a SpongeBob SquarePants photo station in the Kansas Speedway Fan Zone. "The SpongeBob SquarePants 400 gives Nickelodeon the opportunity to expand its relationship with NASCAR, while working with a best-in-class track to give fans a unique, engaging and high-quality race experience that the whole family can enjoy," said Pam Kaufman, Chief Marketing Officer and President of Consumer Products for Nickelodeon Group. "Nickelodeon has embarked on some great initiatives with NASCAR over the last 10 years, sponsoring and participating in marquee racing events that have resonated with motorsports fans across the country." Nickelodeon already has a tradition of partnership with NASCAR, dating back to 2004's sponsorship of the Lowe's Presents the SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in what is now known as the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch participated in SpongeBob SquarePants-themed cars, finishing third and fifth respectively behind race winner Mike Bliss. The network also brought the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Atlanta Motor Speedway last September. Conversely, NASCAR stars have taken part in plenty of Nickelodeon programming in recent years, including the Kids' Choice Awards (Danica Patrick, 2012 and 2013), Kids' Choice Sports Awards (Danica Patrick, 2014), Team Umizoomi (Jeff Gordon, 2012), Hammer Down (2014). Johnson is slated to appear in an episode of the Nick Jr. show Bubble Guppies this year. 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
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
Keep tabs on the activity at Las Vegas Motor Speedway This week brings the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the NASCAR XFINITY Series to Las Vegas Motor Speedway . The Sprint Cup Series Kobalt 400 will be held on Sunday, March 8 at 3:30 p.m. ET with coverage on FOX. The XFINITY Series Boyd Gaming 300 is on Saturday, March 7 at 4 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 Las Vegas. NASCAR.com's live Sprint Cup Series leaderboard and XFINITY 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 and 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 up to eight in-car cameras, two mosaic views, live leaderboard and interactive chat. Haven't tried RaceView yet? If you sign up, you'll get virtual videos 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
Hamlin, Jones and Said to sub for the injured Kyle Busch Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live Denny Hamlin, Erik Jones and Boris Said will sub for Kyle Busch in the No. 54 NASCAR XFINITY Series Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing announced on Monday. Busch returned to his Charlotte, North Carolina, home as he recovers from a compound fracture of the right lower leg and left mid-foot fracture, suffered in the XFINITY Series opener at Daytona International Speedway last month. There is no specific timetable for Busch to get back behind the wheel. "We hate this for Kyle obviously and I think everyone is focused on getting him back healthy," Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing said in a release provided by the team. "We can't thank Monster Energy and all of our partners enough for working with us while Kyle is recovering and certainly it is nice to have Denny and Erik ready to fill in. We're also excited that Boris will have the opportunity to drive the car for seven races in 2015." Hamlin will pilot the car this weekend at Las Vegas for the Boyd Gaming 300 (Saturday, Mar. 7, 4 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1) and in four other events. Those events are at Auto Club Speedway on March 21, Texas Motor Speedway (April 10), Bristol Motor Speedway (April 18) and Charlotte Motor Speedway (May 23). Hamlin had been previously scheduled for six NASCAR XFINITY Series events, but these additions bring that total up to 11. Hamlin currently runs full-time for JGR in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, piloting the No. 11 Toyota. Jones, who drove the No. 54 Toyota at Atlanta last weekend, will be back behind the wheel of the car at Phoenix International Raceway (March 14) and again at Richmond International Raceway (April 24). Jones finished 13th at Atlanta last weekend. The 18-year-old is running a full season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports and is also running a partial schedule for JGR in the No. 20 NASCAR XFINITY Series Toyota. Jones will now be running an estimated 19 NASCAR XFINITY Series events, according to a release provided by the team. Said will be behind the wheel for mostly the non-companion events on the NASCAR XFINITY Series schedule. His first start is set for Talladega Superspeedway on May 2. He will also run events at Iowa Speedway on May 17 and August 1, Chicagoland Speedway on June 20, Mid-Ohio Sportscar Course on August 15, Road America on August 29 and Kentucky Speedway on September 26. Said is primarily known for his road course abilities with both of his NASCAR premier series starts in 2014 coming on road courses. Last week, JGR announced that David Ragan would be subbing for Busch in the No. 18 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota for the next several weeks. 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
An inside look at where the victory vehicles go and some stories about the cars Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live RELATED: See all the cars featured HAMPTON, Ga. – Did you see the car, the Team Penske No. 22 car, the one that won last week's Daytona 500 ? It was covered in confetti and on display at Daytona International Speedway 's Daytona Experience, less than 24 hours after Joey Logano whipped it into Victory Lane after the biggest single race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Logano and crew chief Todd Gordon and team owner Roger Penske and assorted crewmen and personnel stood by the car on Monday. Photos were taken. The yellow Ford that carried Logano to his first Daytona 500 victory did not go back to the team’s headquarters in Mooresville, North Carolina. Gordon and his team can't refurbish it, shine it up and roll it back out of the hauler at Talladega, the season's second restrictor-plate race. Or take it back to Daytona in July, or Talladega in October. RELATED: Logano wins the 2015 Daytona 500 "I wanted to change out the seat insert, but they said no, because it had confetti on it. You have to leave it just as it is," Gordon said Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway , site of last weekend's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 . Since 1996, when Daytona USA officially opened, winning Daytona 500 entries have been put on display there for one year. Teams are financially compensated for the loss of use of the car. According to most crew chiefs interviewed, the cars evolve to such a degree that they have aged out by the time teams regain possession of them a year later. "I would say by that point … it's probably not going to be current to what we've got going on," Gordon said. "When we get the car back, we'll look at where we are chassis-wise. We possibly could re-use the chassis, but (not) body-wise. "I'd say that thing's going to be a museum piece (when we get it back). It did win the Daytona 500 ." While evolutionary changes often lessen the likelihood that a winning Daytona 500 entry could see more on-track action, opportunities have also been impacted by changes in body styles, the arrival of the Car of Tomorrow – which made it's Daytona debut in 2008 – and the 2013 arrival of the Generation-6 Sprint Cup Series car. A few of the stories behind Daytona 500 race-winning cars: • 1996/2000 – Dale Jarrett, Robert Yates Racing Jarrett, inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2014, won his first of three Daytona 500 titles in 1993 while driving for Joe Gibbs Racing . But Daytona officials didn't begin the process of displaying race-winning entries until three years later. By then, Jarrett was back in Victory Lane, this time with the No. 88 Ford Thunderbird fielded by Robert Yates Racing. Today, Todd Parrott is competition director for Richard Childress Racing ’s XFINITY Series program. He was Jarrett's crew chief for both of his Daytona 500 victories at RYR. "That was the car that was in the NASCAR Hall of Fame when DJ was inducted," Parrott told NASCAR.com at AMS this past weekend. "It had gone to Talladega (where it was on display in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame) and then it was brought up for his induction." "I just remember it was very special for the car to be put in Daytona USA in '96." According to NASCAR Hall of Fame officials, the car remains at the Hall and is expected to be returned to its owners soon. Parrott said the team "talked about" refurbishing the car once they got it back and considered running it the following season at Talladega. "But I don't believe we did; I believe that was the only time we ran that car." Jarrett said he took photos of the car after a going-away dinner for driver Marcos Ambrose at the Hall. "I went up there and visited the car," he said, "talked to it. We had a moment of silence. It was cool." Four years later, the Jarrett/Parrott/Yates group was winning the Daytona 500 again. And that 2000 car, Parrott said, was "extraordinarily special." "A lot of time was spent on it," he said. "It sat on the pole for the 500; I think we finished second in the (qualifying) race, and then won the 500 with it. "And that was after we had an accident on Saturday afternoon in Happy Hour; we went back and worked on it. To see it win there was extra special, knowing all the work that went into it prior to that." The most notable difference between Jarrett's '96 and '00 entries – the '96 was a Thunderbird; his '00 win came in a Taurus. • 1998 – Dale Earnhardt, Richard Childress Racing The penny is still there, team owner Richard Childress said. In 1998, seven-time NASCAR premier series champion Dale Earnhardt ended 19 years of frustration by finally winning the one major race that had managed to avoid his grasp, winning the Daytona 500 in his 20th attempt. Taped to the dash of his Chevrolet Monte Carlo was a penny given to Earnhardt by Wessa Miller, a young girl suffering from spina bifida. Miller had met Earnhardt during Speedweeks thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. "It's in my museum right now, and still has the original penny on the dash," Childress said of the car. " Kevin Harvick 's 2007 Daytona 500 winning car is in the museum as well. "I think I left (Kevin's car) scratched and beat up just like it came out … from when he got in the wall on the backstretch." • 2009 – Matt Kenseth , Roush Fenway Racing Kenseth has a pair of Daytona 500 titles, the first in '09 with crew chief Drew Blickensderfer and the second in '12 with Jimmy Fennig. PHOTOS: Drivers with multiple wins in the Great American Race "The car is usable again," Blickensderfer, now crew chief for Richard Petty Motorsports driver Sam Hornish Jr ., said. "But obviously most of the time … someone wants that car for a museum so you usually lose that car for that. "The things that you lose, which is pretty costly, are the components on the car. At the time when we won (the 500), the bump stops, the shocks the springs, brake calipers, things like that, basically all of that evolves enough to where you’re not using that stuff for the next Daytona 500 . But you lost that whole year’s worth of run on brake parts and steering pumps and things you could have used throughout a year. That part is pretty costly. "Body and chassis – anytime I've ever been involved in a big race win, somebody wants that car enough that you're not going to get to use it anyway." Kenseth's '09 winning entry did go on display inside the Roush Fenway Racing complex, as did the winning entry from '12. "Yeah, you could (re-use) the car once you got it back," Fennig, now research and development coordinator for RFR, said. "Provided they didn't change the rules over the year." But, he said, "You should be able to build a better car (by then)." • 2011 – Trevor Bayne , Wood Brothers Racing There’s still a Dasani water bottle under the seat of the No. 21 Ford Fusion, and there are signatures across the back of the car. The water bottle was left behind at some point during the race, or perhaps in the wild celebration afterward. The signatures came later – a year later in fact. When Bayne captured the '11 Daytona 500 , he became the youngest winner ever of the series' biggest race. It came in only his second start in the Sprint Cup Series. And it came with Wood Brothers Racing , one of the legendary NASCAR teams still competing. "When we got it back the next year – that Sunday … we had 20 or more people sign it that night at the Daytona Experience (formerly Daytona USA), basically the back end of the car," Len Wood, co-owner of the team, said. The car was returned to the team’s headquarters long enough for employees in the shop that had worked on the car to place their signatures on the piece as well. It then went to the team's museum in Stuart, Virginia, where members of the Wood family autographed the car during a brief, two-day stay. By week's end, it had been delivered to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, where it remains today. "That car was No. 600 in terms of Ford wins," Wood said, "plus the significance of everything else." Could it have been used the following season after it was returned to the team from Daytona? "It was a COT car, so it could have been used," said Wood. "We got it back in February of '12, the Gen-6 car didn't come around until '13 … so it could have been used at Talladega (in the spring) or in the Fourth of July (Daytona) race or Talladega in the fall. But we didn't." The car hasn't been touched, although Bayne has been back behind the wheel for photos, just so the team can correctly state that the Daytona 500 winner was the last to sit behind its wheel. Unlike most Daytona 500 winning cars, the No. 21 was covered in a combination of confetti and Coca-Cola. "They didn't break open the champagne," Wood said, "because (Trevor) was only 20. So everything stuck to it." • 2004/2014 – Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Dale Earnhardt, Inc./ Hendrick Motorsports Team owner Rick Hendrick has eight victories in the Daytona 500 , six of which came after ’96. Geoffrey Bodine ('86) and Darrell Waltrip ('89) won before the speedway began putting the cars on display. Jeff Gordon (’97, ’99, ’05), Jimmie Johnson (’06, ’13) and Earnhardt Jr. ('14) lost the use of their winning cars for a year. PHOTOS: Relive Dale Jr.'s 2014 victory at Daytona HMS just took possession of Earnhardt Jr.'s winning entry from last year and fans can now see the car in the Hendrick Motorsports museum. According to Hendrick officials, all Daytona 500 winning cars are put on display in the museum, a decision made by the team owner. Earnhardt Jr.'s '04 winning entry, however, came when the series' most popular driver was competing for Dale Earnhardt Inc., the team founded by his father. "I reckon it's over at DEI in the showroom, but I haven't been to DEI in six to a dozen years," Earnhardt Jr. said. "I can't even remember the last time I was in there. There's a lot of stuff over there I wouldn't mind getting my hands on." Earnhardt Jr. said his "old Late Model car" is still there, and said it's likely the Street Stock car that was raced by all three Earnhardt siblings – Dale, Kerry and sister Kelley – is as well. "Just a lot of stuff sitting over there that I'm sure is being well taken care of," he said. "I imagine the Daytona 500 car is in a warehouse somewhere. Certainly we still have the title to it." 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Furniture Row Racing driver looks to have put 2014 woes behind him Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live HAMPTON, Ga. -- Last season was the worst of Martin Truex Jr.'s career. Go ahead and ask him; he'll own it. 2015 is shaping up to be his best. After showing speed in his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet throughout Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway (second in the Sprint Unlimited, fifth in his Budweiser Duel, eighth in the Daytona 500), Truex Jr. backed up his hot start by finishing sixth in Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. When did his second top-10 finish of the season come last year? At Dover, in June. He only managed three more on top of that the rest of the season. Now he's got two in two races. "Yeah it was good, another good weekend. That is two-for-two on good weekends," Truex Jr. said on pit road following the race. "I just really wanted a top-five there. I just wasn't really quite as good as those guys on the short run. And in dirty air I needed a little bit longer runs and to be able to kind of pick and choose my lanes where I needed to be. "All in all, what can I say? All the guys at Furniture Row are doing a great job. This beats where we were last year by about 35 spots at this time of the year. Excited about what everybody is doing and really pumped up to get the rest of the year going." To say that Truex needed to come out in 2015 and get off to a hot start is an understatement. But it wasn't close to being something to count on. In his first year with the organization in 2014 after his departure from Michael Waltrip Racing, the team never quite put things together and the New Jersey-native finished a career-worst 24th in the final standings. A crew chief change from Todd Berrier to Cole Pearn is certainly a piece of how Truex has come out strong, but it also may have something to do with the new technical package NASCAR rolled out for the 2015 season. "We ran it once last year at California, testing, and I just like the feel of it a lot better," Truex said of the package, which lowered the rear spoiler two inches. "In the past, I've always had my most success with the least amount of downforce we've ever had, so it kind of plays into my hands a little and I think the feel of the car a lot better." It's clearly working, as Truex sits in fifth place after the season's first two races, the highest the one-car Colorado-based Furniture Row has ever been in the Sprint Cup Series standings in its 10-year history. The series now heads to another 1.5-mile track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where we'll get to see if Truex and the 78 team are able to continue the fast speeds they've been showing. With another five points-paying races at intermediate tracks left before the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup cutoff, strength at the 1.5-milers could pay dividends for Truex to make his return to the sport's playoffs for the first time since 2012. Atlanta was a good start. "We had a good plan going into the offseason of knowing what we had to do to turn the program around," said Truex. "Hats off to Cole Pearn and (owner) Joe Garone and everybody that has been pushing all the buttons and making the right decision over the winter. "It is fun to drive race cars that are fast and to be running good again." 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
Hendrick Motorsports driver won at Atlanta in '14 to lock up Chase spot Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live HAMPTON, Ga. – Last year, Kasey Kahne used a win at Atlanta Motor Speedway to secure one of the 16 available positions in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Six months later, the Hendrick Motorsports driver is hoping for similar results. A win in Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 (FOX, 1 p.m. ET) brings with it no guarantees, but it certainly would put the 34-year-old in a much less stressful situation. Kahne was the final driver to secure a Chase spot by virtue of a victory here last August, however a schedule change now finds the 1.54-mile track hosting the season's second stop. A win would go a long way toward easing his team’s concerns as the 2015 Sprint Cup Series season begins to pick up steam. "It would be a lot better and a lot less stress, but it is what it is," Kahne said Friday as teams began preparations for Sunday's race. "We'll take it any way we can." There are goals this year that the '14 effort failed to accomplish, he said. Winning and running up front more often for starters. Better results in practice and better qualifying results as well. "It all starts this weekend," Kahne said. "It would be great to come off with a win right away … and then just go from there. The end of the '14 season also signaled the end of the Kahne/Kenny Francis driver/crew chief pairing. The two had worked together, with two brief exceptions in '07 (due to Francis' suspension) and '10, for a stretch of more than 300 races from the 2005 season finale at Homestead through '14. They have 17 wins in their respective positions, with 16 coming while working together. Francis earned his first win as crew chief with former driver Jeremy Mayfield; Kahne went to the winner's circle for the first time with Tommy Baldwin Jr. calling the shots. Today, Francis oversees car design and development as the vehicle technical director for Hendrick Motorsports. Keith Rodden, crew chief for Jamie McMurray last season at Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, returned to the HMS fold to replace Francis on the No. 5 team. He and Kahne have a history. "I think the first time he was my engineer was 2004 in the XFINITY Series," Kahne said of Rodden, "and we have kind of been on and off together ever since. "There is a lot more to it than just the communication side. It's kind of the preparation at the shop throughout the winter, how the guys look at things and how our cars are built. He's done a really good job with all that stuff." Kahne, who agreed to a three-year contract extension last November, joined HMS in April of 2010 but didn't officially make the move until 2012. Five wins have come since the move and he is a three-time winner at Atlanta. 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